Rahul Khanna, Monica Dogra, Arjun Mathur, Shivani Ghai and Aadya Bedi
Sabal Singh Shekhawat
A free-spirited girl gets talking to a bartender, and later finds herself in trouble with some goons. The bartender saves her, the two walk along deserted streets, kiss in the rain and end up sleeping together. There is another guy: He is a regular at the girl's house but leaves around midnight, after he's had sex, to go back to his wife. Can there be any more cliched plot? Try hard and we bet you still won't find any.Rahul Khanna returns to Bollywood with a full-fledged role in Fireflies, the directorial debut venture of Sabal Singh Shekhawat. An Indie film on two estranged brothers, the film's promos promised a philosophical treat. Does Shekhawat live upto the expectation?
Shiv (Rahul) and Rana (Arjun) are two estranged brothers: While Shiv is a married, successful banker, Rana is trying to make his ends meet working as a bartender even as he plans to take up a course for diving instructor. Their love lives, however, are similar. Rana meets a free-spirited woman Michelle (Monica) at his bar who lights up his life, only to leave him soon to go back to her husband and daughter. Shiv, on the other hand, does not have much of a relation with his wife Maya (Aadya) and seeks solace in his college girlfriend Sharmila (Shivani) who tragically dies after an encounter with his wife.
These incidents do not form the main story of the film. They build up the premise for the estranged brothers to fight through these worldly illusions briefly before they can reunite and illuminate each other's journeys, forgiving and moving ahead of a tragedy that befell them 15 years ago.
The premise of broken relationships, life's struggles, tragedies, forgiveness etc could have made for awesome inspirations for an Indie film, which is not bogged down by big-ticket stars essaying those roles. Shekhawat, who has also written Fireflies, could have experimented much more when expressing human follies, emotions and philosophies. And then he didn't have any big production house breathing down his neck to cater to the stars' fans expectations. Also, this being his first film, he didn't have to carry the baggage of expectations from the kind of cinema he made earlier. The director-writer, sadly, chooses the easiest way.
At best, Fireflies is predictable to the core. It's biggest flaw: The film suffers from forced stereotypes. Most of the sequences are predictable, and it's not your mistake if you confuse it for a full-fledged commercial film, only made with very low budget.
The actors are unfortunately wasted in Fireflies. Be it Rahul Khanna, Arjun, Aadya or Monica, they swiftly fit into the shoes of their characters -- if only these were better built up, what a treat it would have been!
The women characters in Fireflies are some of the worst in recent times. They are either doormats simply existing for the men to use them as they feel like. There are nonetheless times when the director seems to be trying hard to make the women look strong, but fails. They do speak out their opinions but in a feeble voice, too weak for the strength to be established on screen.
The well-meaning plot of Fireflies is totally wasted for a singular lack of imagination and the over-dependence on stereotypes . Skip this one, unless you are looking for a depressing movie that only confirms to all norms of cliches in the name of an Indie film.