Five minutes into Being Cyrus, and you realise why the debutant director probably chose to make this film in English. It’s not just his language of communication that’s niche, his celluloid idiom itself is hatke — poora hatke.
Being Cyrus is quite unlike anything that you have seen on the Indian screen. If Indian alternate cinema in English was reaching a point of slump of late, this film should be the veritable kick in its shin.
Debutant Adajania sets the mood from the very first frame with peculiar panache. His is a cinematic style that's irreverently wicked, brimming with a tickle of humour that edges on the black.
Adajania’s narrative swings between picturesque Panchgani and Mumbai. A young man Cyrus (Saif Ali Khan) arrives at the Sethna household in Panchgani, to learn pottery from Dinshaw Sethna, a recluse and retired veteran artist. Dinshaw lives with his wife Katy (Dimple Kapadia) who, as the voiceover tells us, doesn’t believes in ‘eye contact’ — she prefers ‘breast contact’ with any man she comes across straightaway. Back in Mumbai, the Sethnas own a residential building — it belongs to Dinshaw’s father (Honey Chhaya) actually, a neglected old man who is tormented by his younger son Farokh (Boman Irani) and daughter-in-law Tina (Simone Singh), who live with him.
Things aren’t all rosy of course on the Sethna family front, we soon discover along with Cyrus. But things aren't what you expect either in this film. Post interval, as the film races to a bizarre climax, a new, dark dimension to the tale will emerge.
Being Cyrus is a film that teases its viewers — in the way it unfolds in layers, in the way it keeps you guessing. But probably Adajania’s biggest tease play lies in having successfully made a film that defies genres — you can’t pin down Being Cyrus as any particular ‘type’ of movie.
Performance-wise, half of Adajania’s battle was won with his casting. Talking individually about the actors would be giving away nuances of the characters — I’m not getting into it. Put simply, it’s a perfect credits roster.
Watch the film. Watch out for its director.