Most film-makers often feel [and rightly so!] that a title should reflect the content of a film. But with a title like Barah Aana, you're completely clueless. That's because director Raja Menon's choice of the subject is equally unique. He enters an alley that most storytellers don't risk entering.
Come to think of it, Barah Aana is more of an experiment. It offers entertainment - the kind the multiplex audiences enjoy - in its own simple way. It strives to strike a balance between real and surreal and succeeds partly. But there's no denying that a film like Barah Aana also caters a miniscule section of moviegoers.
Barah Aana is set in today's Mumbai. The story revolves around three unlikely friends: A chauffeur [Naseeruddin Shah], a watchman [Vijay Raaz] and a waiter [Arjun Mathur].
At some point, misfortune befalls the watchman and, due to a series of chance events, he stumbles into a crime. Striking upon a seemingly low-risk way to make good money and discovering a new sense of self-confidence, he tries to entice the others to join him in a series of such crimes.
A cat and mouse games ensues between the three as personalities change, but events soon spiral out of control...
The premise of Barah Aana is identifiable. Those living in the metropolis especially will be able to relate to the three characters [chauffeur, watchman and waiter] and the hardships they face. That's where director Raja Menon scores. But the problem is that the entire first hour is devoted to focussing on their respective jobs and plight. Thus, the story barely moves in this hour. Besides, the pacing is so slow that it tests the patience of the viewer at times.
The wheels start moving post-intermission when the three take to crime. These portions are deftly executed and quite enjoyable too. The pre-climax - the big kidnap - also keeps the viewer's attention arrested, but the end is difficult to comprehend. It could've been made simpler.
Director Raja Menon shows promise. He has handled a number of sequences with flourish. Cinematography [Priya Seth] is perfect.
Naseeruddin Shah doesn't utter a word all through except towards the end, but his silence speaks volumes. Vijay Raaz is simply outstanding. An award-worthy performance. Arjun Mathur, who was seen in LUCK BY CHANCE earlier, is a competent actor. He stands up to the two actors well. Violante Placido as Kate and Tannishtha Chatterjee as Rani first-rate.
On the whole, Barah Aana is a fairly engrossing fare. The problem is that the material as also its execution limits it to a tiny section of audience: a handful of multiplexes at a handful of centres.