My Birthday Song': Thriller in pursuit of relentless thrills (Review
By Subhash K. Jha ; Rating: *** )
Actor Samir Soni turns director with a stylish erotic thriller about a man who on his 40th birthday gets his wish -- a tumble in the hay with a young woman, which sets off a spiralling motion into his life.
No "Fatal Attraction", this. Though evidently fatally attracted to the theme of a married man destroyed by a one-night stand. Sanjay Suri, always underplayed and affable, plays Rajeev, a hotshot ad filmmaker. The self-consciously stylishly done-up film begins with Rajeev's birthday party where he is introduced to a young woman who is everything that a 40-year old married man should avoid, specially after a few drinks.
In no time, the sexually rampant man and the seductive stranger are in the bedroom, the birthday cake along with the party, forgotten in the next room.
There is an innate clumsiness in the way love-making scenes are shot in Hindi films and there is no escape from that sexual awkwardness in this film even if it is not technically a Hindi film. The characters speak in English most of the time. They glide around in sleek polished 7-star luxury with gleaming surfaces and sparkling teeth suggesting a life far removed from the grim reality of the Indian middle-class.
"My Birthday Song" is a good looking film. For a first-time director, Samir Soni seems to grasp the secret of audiences' collective gasp. He goes about the business of developing his leading man's attraction towards the forbidden fruit in scenes that suggest an erotic doom, an impending libidinous catastrophe.
It would be unjust to describe the twists and turns that propel the pulsating, pounding plot forward. A lot of the episodes that are piled on in pursuit of heightened anxiety seems ersatz. But the pseudo-momentum is maintained. It helps to keep us to be glued to the goings on.
There is a constant feeling of "What next?" in us even though the outcome is not always satisfactory. Suspense thrillers are killers only when they wrap up the messy proceedings with conviction. Here, "My Birthday Song" gets an ambivalent nod from us. The wrap-up is so designed to shock that it simply collapses under the weight of its own summoned urgency.
While Sanjay Suri holds up the proceedings with a looming semblance of believability, the rest of the cast loiters in the background waiting for the director to find a definitive place for them. The talented Pitobash shows towards the end as a car mechanic spouting ominous dialogues like, "A man must pay for his sins." If you've seen what Sanjay Suri has done in the earlier scenes, his discomfort under scrutiny is understandable.
While Nora Fatehi remains largely clueless about her one-night stand with a man she hardly knows beyond a quick romp that she shared years ago, Zenia Starr who plays Suri's wife is surprisingly persuasive in her confrontational sequence with her husband.
Handsomely mounted, this tale of urban infidelity is fuelled by the paranoiac fear that grips all successful organizational executives. Have I done something that may catch up with me today? Harvey Weinstein, please claim credit.
"My Birthday Song" struts its polished demeanour like a badge of honour. It has its slack passages. But most of the time we are absorbed in the goings-on waiting to see how Sanjay Suri gets out of the mess. The narrative gives him elbow room to seek an exit. Then pulls the rug from under his feet, leaving us with a feeling that the scriptwriter wanted us on the edge right till the end.
'My Birthday Song': A skilfully mounted psychological drama (Review By Troy Ribeiro ; Rating: ***)
"My Birthday Song" is a catharsis designed as a psychological drama. It is a
simple tale that is intelligently narrated where the plot is made complex with
an astutely layered, story-telling technique that makes the film fulfilling.
It is advertiser Rajiv Kaul's 40th birthday and he inadvertently gets trapped into a time loop where events connected to his birthday party repeat itself. And every time the sequence reboots, newer aspects of Rajiv's personality, life and family are revealed.
Written and directed by debutant Samir Soni, the film gets into all sorts of angles using various elements of suspense -- dreams, hallucination and doubts. The graph of the plot fluctuates with strong intensity.
The narrative starts off on an intriguing note with a one-night stand that turns into a murder mystery and continues till it gets convoluted and corny. But fortunately, the director skilfully pulls away from all gimmicks to reality in the nick of time salvaging the film, making it appear convincing.
The screenplay, with inputs from Vrushali Telang, is enhanced with the seamless transitions of the scenes. The editing, by Sandeep Shethy and his team, is brilliant and it leaves no scope for doubts.
The moments that capture the zenith and nadir of Rajiv's life are what make the film interesting. What's more, these moments are candidly portrayed by Sanjay Suri who play's Rajiv with utmost sincerity.
He is aptly supported by Zenia Starr as his wife Ritu Kaul, Nora Fatehi as Sandy Williams -- the acquaintance whose character changes from episode to episode during the various time loops. Apart from these two, the others are all perfunctory. Purab Kohli and Pitobash Tripathy in guest appearances are totally wasted.
With moderate production values, the film is efficiently shot by cinematographer Shubham Kasera and his team. Unfortunately, the visuals are a bit disappointing as most of the frames are invariably captured in mid-shots and tight close-ups.
The music tracks seamlessly mesh with the narrative thereby elevating the viewing experience.
Overall, with a lecture of karma thrown in, "My Birthday Song" is an engaging film that keeps you riveted to the screen.
Actress Nora Fatehi is taking lessons in football from actor Ranveer Singh's coach Govi Tyler.Tyler has also trained actors like Ranbir Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan for their respective football teams, read a statement.Nora says she is sporty at heart.."I've always wanted to learn football ever since I was a child but I never got the chance because growing up, my family didn't have the finances for extra curricular activities.Read MoreFeeling pressure to live up to expectations: Samir Soni
Actor Samir Soni, whose directorial debut "My Birthday Song"
is releasing on Friday, says he is feeling the pressure to live upto the
expectation of the audience and celebrities who have tweeted in favour of the
"The audience has given a positive feedback to the trailer of our movie. From the industry, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, Karan Johar and Ekta Kapoor praised the trailer of the film, so I am really happy. I am also feeling some pressure to live up to their expectations.
"We have made this film on our choice and I think we have made a good film. Therefore, I am sure that the youth audience is definitely going to enjoy this film," Samir said at a special screening of the film here on Tuesday.
The screening was attendedRead More