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Substitute the Indian faces with non-Indian actors -- French/Italian/German -- and Strangers would easily pass off as a foreign film since the concept is very unlike what we"ve seen on the Hindi screen so far.
One may draw parallels with Strangers On A Train, but as layer after layer is peeled off, you realize that Strangers travels on a different track. But the problem is, Strangers caters to a very, very tiny section of moviegoers -- intelligentsia. And that"s its biggest problem!
Two men, complete Strangers to each other and diagonally opposite personalities, are travelling in a first class compartment in England. The claustrophobia of a closed space and the coincidence that they are both Indians, binds them to each other.
Mr. Rai [Kay Kay Menon], the management giant and Rahul [Jimmy Sheirgill], a writer with a flop career, in their efforts to entertain each other throughout the journey, drop clues and fill in the missing pieces into stories that are never told unless, between complete Strangers. Four lives are put at stake and everything is about to change…
Director Aanand Rai narrates a fascinating story and although the writing isn"t foolproof, the execution of the material catches your eye instantly. The written material has some gaping flaws, like why doesn"t Nandana walk out of her marriage when her marriage to Jimmy has already started rotting? The end too looks abrupt, with Jimmy accomplishing the task so very easily. Some situations are left unexplained!
The director gets major help from two major departments -- cinematography [splendid] and background score [electrifying].
Both Jimmy and Kay Kay are highly competent. Strangers should occupy the top slot in Jimmy"s body of work. Kay Kay delivers an accomplished performance yet again. Nandana Sen handles a complex role with panache. Sonali Kulkarni [sp. app.] is perfect.
On the whole, Strangers is a well-made, intelligent thriller, but it caters to a miniscule audience only. At the box-office, the non-awareness of the film as also the non-happening promotion will hit the film hard.