I saw Fitoor! Opening night! There were, maybe, 20 other people in the theater! Not good. I’ll be curious to see how the box office shakes out. I’ll also be curious to read the reviews. Because I was expecting some subtle political statement, and oh my gosh! It’s just an anthropomorphized debate on the Kashmir Question!
Officially, this is a remake of Great Expectations. I haven’t read the book since high school, but I am pretty sure there are massive changes. The beginning and the ending are basically the same, but the middle seemed to be missing. Unofficially, I am pretty sure it is just a remake of the 1990s Great Expectations with Gwyneth Paltrow, which, based purely on the trailer, also seems to have turned it into a swoony romance instead of a bildungsroman.
But really, this is just Abhishek Kapoor writing “A Brief Introduction to the Kashmir Question”, then changing all the names of political groups into characters and making them talk and act out their disputes through a toxic love story. I honestly don’t even know what the movie would look like to someone without the political background. Probably incredibly boring and confusing. But pretty!
Oh my gosh, so pretty! They actually filmed in Kashmir (but they used Poland as a standin for London. Why? Is London now harder to get to and more dangerous than Srinagar?), and it was definitely worth it. So pretty!
The leads were awfully pretty too. Although Aditya Roy Kapoor was way too skinny, to my mind. But they didn’t have much to do besides being pretty. Since everyone was just little playing pieces in the regional conflict, they didn’t have much of an inner life or ability to act unpredictably. I’ve been periodically impressed with both Katrina and Aditya, in the right roles in the right films, but these weren’t the best roles to make them stand out.
In contrast, Tabu was AMAZING. The screen came alive every time she showed up. She had the same thankless one note character and super blunt dialogue, but she would add these little hand-gestures, or trailing off at the end of lines, or even a sort of distinctively unbalanced way of walking, and make it her own. But that’s Tabu, she’s always that good. And has 10 more years of acting experience than her little co-stars.
Oh, Lara Dutta was in it too! Boy, what happened to her? I mean, I know what happened to her, she got married and had a kid and got to be well-over 30. And now she is playing third or fourth lead roles, older women who get no romantic interests. But she does a nice job, sort of smooth and cool and classy. Much better role for her than whatever that was in Singh is Bling.
But the big take away is, there are many many conflicting attitudes and interests in Kashmir and this film represents aaaaaaaallllllll of them. Like, even the dog means something (the faithfulness of the spirit of Kashmir, I’m thinking).
And if you want a full rundown of all the ways in which these characters provide a living tableau of the situation in Kashmir as it is today, check out my spoiler-full review!