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<i>Strings</i>

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By: Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
Friday, July 14, 2006
A majority of films appeal across all demographic groups. A few hold interest for the multiplex junta. And a tiny segment caters to a niche audience. Director Sanjay Jha's new outing Strings belongs to the third category.

After attempting a film on the life of middle class people living in chawls [Praan Jaye Par Shaan Na Jaye], Jha tells the story of an Englishman who arrives in Nasik, India to partake in the Maha Kumbh.

Interesting storyline, for sure. But interesting ideas don't necessarily translate into interesting films.

The problem with Strings is that it rests on a paper-thin plot and the backdrop of the Maha Kumbh is of no significance to the storyline. Even otherwise, Strings comes across as a documentary on Maha Kumbh, than a love story between an Englishman and a traditional Indian girl.

To sum up, Strings is more for the pseudo-critics than an ordinary moviegoer. It eyes the Festival circuit mainly, not even the multiplex crowd.

Warren Hastings [Adam Bedi], a British youth, arrives in Nasik with Maya [Sandhya Mridul], an urban Indian girl. Warren is plagued by a sort of unfulfilled quest, for an understanding of the mysticism of India, beyond his realms of imagination.

Maya puts up Warren at Krishna's [Tannishtha Chatterjee] residence. Krishna is the only child of a temple priest [Vineet Kumar], a widower. Warren and Krishna soon realize that they love each other and one day, Krishna sheds her inhibitions and succumbs to her feelings. In the end, Warren and Krishna realize that a deep bond has developed between them.

Come to think of it, Strings acts more as a showcase of the Maha Kumbh than a love story. Sure, it's a brilliant idea to place the story under the backdrop of the Maha Kumbh, but frankly there's no dum in the story in the first place. In fact, there's nothing in the film that would prompt the viewer to stay glued to the screen for the next 90 minutes, except for some visuals of the Maha Kumbh.

While there's no movement in at least three-fourths of the story, the turning point in the narrative -- when Warren and Krishna indulge in pre-marital sex -- also doesn't really come as a jolt or catch the viewer by surprise. Casual sex amongst youth holds no shock-value today, so the subsequent portions -- the girl starts feeling guilty and avoids the guy -- looks very strange, very weird.

Director Sanjay Jha focuses more on making colorful frames than packing in solid content. However, the guerilla style of film-making [form of film-making in which scenes are shot quickly at real locations without any warning] is what stands out the most. The other redeeming feature is Rajeev Shrivastava's cinematography. The locales of Nasik and the Maha Kumbh are a visual delight. As for the music, it looks completely forced in the narrative and has no relevance to the plot.

None of the performances are worth noting. Adam Bedi has miles to go before he can be called an actor. Tannishtha is too ordinary. Even the extremely efficient Sandhya Mridul doesn't work. Vineet Kumar tries too hard, but doesn't deliver.

On the whole, Strings is a poor show.

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