He came into their lives one day out of the blue….and stole everything they had….their riches, their heritage, their hearts, their trust and the smiles off their faces. And hated himself angrily ever after.
1953. India is Independent and its various zamindars and royals are on the brink of giving up their wealth-willingly or by law. Soumitra Roychowdhry (Barun Chanda)-Zamindar of Manikpur, Bengal refuses to accept the changes in his lot post Independence-to his eventual detriment. To his zamindari, arrives Varun Shrivastav (Ranveer Singh) with his friend Dev (Vikrant Massey). They are ostensibly archaeologists, there to excavate and find traces of a lost civilisation around the ancient family temple on the land and are given permission to dig and sift…..the good old-fashioned tunnel!
Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha) is the zamindar’s beautiful daughter who is attracted to and falls deeply in love with Varun and he too, despite trying not to, falls equally in love with her. However, his intentions are nefarious towards them and he decamps with his loot, leaving Pakhi and her father bereft and bewildered. This, because he is virtual puppet at the hands of his “Uncle”-Mr. Bajpai (Arif Zakaria)
Their paths cross four years later in the picturesque town of Dalhousie. She lives there now-alone with her father dead of a broken heart and all material wealth looted. A faded caricature of her earlier smiling self.
He is lured there for another heist by a cop on his tail. They meet one stormy, snow-filled evening-one injured. the other ailing. one bitter with hatred and the other hurting and condemning himself and he atones somewhat and she forgives….while looking up at a leaf fluttering on an otherwise leafless tree.
And thereby hangs a tale.
Sonakshi Sinha is well suited for the role and carries it off perfectly. She looks very nice in the sarees she wears and has delivered a very convincing performance.
Ranveer Singh is disappointing. There is not enough angst in his performance for me to be convinced of his deep love or regret. He looked the part all-right but I could find no sympathy with his character.
There is no chemistry between the lead pair. While Sonakshi’s attraction, love and mischievousness are spontaneous, Ranveer is forced. His apparent reluctance to keep away borders on indifference.
Vikrant Massey-Ranveers’s “antaratma” (conscience) friend is natural and restrained as the Dev Anand loving Dev.
Barun Chanda-The Zamindar who refused to face reality and was robbed.The epitome of a cultured Bengali intellectual.
Arif Zakaria-in an annoyingly small role but a pleasure to watch nonetheless. Enhancing his part in the film would have added so much credibility to Varun’s actions.
Adil Hussain-The cop on the tail. Terrific as always.
Divya Dutta in a miniscule role which is wasted for her talent.
The music is pleasant but not memorable.
The film is beautifully shot in portrait like sequences of green fields, orchards and a lake as well as a snow bound Dalhousie. The apparel, make up and look and feel are authentic and beautiful-the humongous haveli, the “Dig”, Sonakshi’s sarees and jewellery. The first half is full of lovely natural colours which signify happiness and a positive state of mind, while the second half is drab and dreary….like all hope is lost and the world is a bitter dark place. Exactly, in fact as the protagonists are feeling. It is the best part of the film.
The story is different and O ‘Henry’s “Last Leaf” has been adapted into the climax of the film. The narrative moves at a very languid pace, keeping in tune with the times it represents. However, it becomes difficult to hold one’s interest, so slow is it, especially in the latter half. In my case, perhaps because I was looking for an end as poignant as the original tale, the execution of the climax was a letdown.
I did not enjoy the film. (Yes-such a thing is possible!)Perhaps because The Last Leaf is a favourite of mine and I didn’t like the way it was handled. And because I went with a lot of expectations from Vikramaditya Motwane and the trailers and in so many ways, this did not match up at all.