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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Default Woman on a mission

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    Don't read too much into the promo. The exuberantly cut footage makes Shabri seem like a rocket-paced ride of a woman gone mad slashing and shooting her way across the cross section of society. It's not quite that. Instead, Shabri is quite poignant with scenes oscillating between wordless calm and brutal action: aesthetic and accessible at the same time, even though this is often at the cost of pace.

    The story of a slum-dwelling woman on a rampage to avenge the custodial death of her young innocent brother precipitated by a mafia king is unique but set in a milieu all too familiar to RGV productions.

    This is a filmmaker's film and Lalit Marathe has thought every frame through. The moments where characters reflect on their lives are some of the best: Shabri and her kid brother look at the night sky sitting by the opening in a kholi.

    He has lofty dreams, but she gently puts them in perspective: "you can't see stars from our window," she says. Later, after her first kill, in an entirely believable scene she sits with her future accomplice in a seedy bar gulping a beer. Further on, deeper in her private vortex, Shabri crouches on an empty beach, gun in hand. Alone, desolate hoping not for a way out, but contemplating a way to complete her quest.

    It's the attention to small creative detailing that makes Shabri what it is: even the opening sequence nonchalantly establishes the great divide between the middle class and the less fortunate, never to return again to the subject. Nice.

    It's not a perfect film by a long stretch with the technical aspects shouldering most of the blame. Shabri has an inexplicable washed out look that makes it look dated. And the sound design, foley and non-sync, is just plain bad. There are logic flaws to be questioned as well in the second half with too much information gleaned by too many people without explanation.

    Virtually unrecognizable in the trailers, Isha Koppikar puts on a deadpan mask with lyrical darkness in her eyes. This is some flawless acting. She's even worked on her gait: making it unsexy and manly. Her character doesn't change a lot, but everything else about her does. Koppikar's best work? Probably.

    Shabri is nothing short of a minor masterpiece in comparison to options you have this week and is the one you should watch.



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