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Katputtli - Review

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By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

Monday, August 21, 2006

Bollywood has had its share of thrillers. But an edge-of-the-seat mystery fare always attracts lovers of this genre. Katputtli, directed by Sanjay Khanna, also opts for a theme that sounds novel for Indian moviegoers.

Frankly, Katputtli bears a slight resemblance to director Wolfgang Peterson's Hollywood flick Shattered [1991; starring Tom Berenger, Greta Scacchi, Bob Hoskins], which was attempted in Hindi as Yakeen [2005; Arjun Rampal, Priyanka Chopra]. There's a bit of Sharmilee [Shashi Kapoor, Raakhee] too.

Although you may walk into the theatre with zilch expectations, Katputtli surprises you because it manages to keep your attention arrested intermittently. The protagonist tries to recapture the incidents [she has lost her memory] and the events that unfurl are quite appealing. 

But the problem with most thrillers is that once the secret is out, you either clap with glee or have a frown on your face. With Katputtli, it's the latter. Just when you thought that the director had finally got it right, the climax acts like one spoilsport.

Another factor that goes against the film -- this is strictly from the business point of view -- is that the film has had an unsung release. Released with as good as nil promotion and zero hype, Katputtli faces no chances of survival. Sad, since the subject had some potential!

Lisa [Mink] is walking on the roads of Mumbai and forgets who she is. All she has is a dress full of blood and a whole lot of cash in her trench coat.

Lisa had everything she could ream of -- a loving husband, a successful marriage, a beautiful house and apparently is the owner of one of the biggest and finest hospitals in the city. Lisa's husband Arjun [Milind Soman], a well reputed surgeon, makes every effort to get her memory back.

But there are questions... What happened that night? Why did she lose her memory if her life was a fairytale? Why is she haunted by repeated flashes of blood and money? Arjun doesn't seem to know much and neither does Anju [Yukta Mookhey], the sweet neighbour, who somehow is always around to make sure that Lisa is comfortable. Or was it Arjun who kept her in close quarters? Like Celina [Shikha Shekhar], the sensuous nurse he hired for Lisa's help.

Dev [Sameer Dharmadhikari], a Naval officer, Anju's husband, Lisa's friend since college, makes an entry. On his return after a gap, he finds his best friend's life twisted beyond belief. Dev decides that he isn't going to sit idle and wait for Lisa's memory to come back to find answers...

Even though Katputtli has been produced by an actor [Mink], who enacts the central role in the film, the narrative focuses on several characters, right from the husband to the neighbour to the nurse [hello, what is she wearing?] to the Naval officer. In fact, the needle of suspicion keeps gyrating from one character to another and that's why the film holds your attention.

But not everything goes right! The sequence of events unfolds at a lethargic pace in the initial reels. In fact, you expect incidents to unravel rapidly and take the story forward, but the writing is quite loose, devoting too much time to individual sequences. Besides, you actually question the abilities of the writer who shows the protagonist as a millionaire, but makes her live in a palatial mansion without one domestic help. This cinematic liberty is difficult to absorb. Also, after reaching the crescendo, you expect the climax to come as a shocker, but it doesn't. In fact, the end is quite tame and, frankly, you can guess the culmination beforehand.

Sanjay Khanna's direction is better than his previous attempts. There's not much scope for music [Bapi-Tutul, Punnu Brar, Ishq Bector] in the film and the songs that flow in seem unwarranted. Cinematography [Najeeb Khan] is functional.

Katputtli belongs to Mink, who leaves an impact. The actress never got the due in her earlier films, but gets a role that displays her talent this time. She's good. Milind Soman is effective. Sameer Dharmadhikari is natural. Yukta Mookhey is pleasant. Seema Biswas is efficient. Shifa Shekhar looks apt for the vampish part. Aseem Merchant is alright. Ashmit Patel is fair. Ruby Bhatia and Sudesh Berry are able.

On the whole, Katputtli has had an unsung release. With no hype or promotion to support it, its fate at the ticket window is anybody's guess.

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