‘Bollywood Diaries’: Tale of unrequited dreams (IANS Review, Rating: **1/2)

Film: “Bollywood Diaries”; Director: K.D. Satyam; Cast: Ashish Vidyarthi, Raima Sen, Salim Diwan, Karuna Pandey and Vineet Kumar Singh; Rating: **1/2

“Bollywood Diaries” is the tale of the unfulfilled dreams of three protagonists who are keen to make it in Bollywood as actors.

Vishnu Shrivastav (Ashish Vidyarthi), a civil servant in Bhillai; Rohit, a call centre employee in Delhi; and Imli, a sex-worker in Sonargachi, Kolkata, all harbour dreams of making it in Bollywood and this obsession is the pivot of their existence.

The first twenty minutes of the film appears disparate, as each of the characters’ lives and their Bollywood obsession is being established. It is only later that the narrative settles down as it becomes evident that even though the lives of the three characters are not intertwined, but the common thread of Bollywood binds them. The premise of the film is credible and one can relate to it.

The second half drags in parts and some of the scenes depicting the rejection of the characters and their Bollywood dreams being shattered, are unduly stretched and make viewing a tad boring.

Ashish Vidyarthi as Vishnu Shrivastav, a simple, responsible, family man, who nurtures the desire to fulfil his Bollywood dreams after retirement and getting his daughter married off, is believable. His frustrations and angst are palpable.

Debutant Salim Diwan as Rohit, the twenty something, call centre executive, from a middle class Delhi family, who eats, drinks and breathes Bollywood, does not have a commanding screen presence but renders a sincere performance. His Bollywood mania is real. He is a bit over-the-top in some scenes, but pulls it off, as it is in keeping with his screen character, Rohit.

Raima Sen as Imli, the spunky and effervescent sex-worker who is besotted with Mumbai, dreams big and wants to be seen on screen, is endearing. She is vivacious, honest and makes you empathise with her.

Vineet Kumar Singh as Daman, the assistant director from Bollywood essays his part competently, as does Karuna Pandey, who plays Lata, Vishnu’s wife.

Although the film is about Bollywood dreams, it thankfully does not make use of the customary cliches associated with such films.

The approach is realistic, but somewhere the screenplay gets strewn and since the plot lacks drama, it ceases to be engaging.

The lyrics by Dr. Sagar and music by Vipin Patwa, deserve a special mention as those highlight the plight of the protagonists perfectly. The songs are soulful and melodious too. “Khwabon ko sach karne ke liye” and “Koi to raaz bataye re” touch a chord in your heart, as they are well-picturised and have apt lyrics.

The production values are mediocre, but not jarring, as they convey the milieu of the characters’ lives effectively.

At times, the camera appears unsteady, but captures the dilemma and disillusionment, of the protagonists with complete honesty.

“Bollywood Diaries” could have been a strong film and a fitting tribute to those struggling to make it in Bollywood, but somewhere it fails to live up to its potential.

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