THT Talkies: Too artistically ambitious
Videsh - Heaven on Earth
Cast: Preity Zinta, Vansh Bhardwaj
Director: Deepa Mehta
Being screened at Kumari
The movie begins with a vibrant celebration with dancing and singing and Chand (Preity Zinta) really enjoying herself amidst the festivities. It then moves to the next morning with simple everyday activities in the household and her mother giving her some profound advice. The next scene Chand lands in Canada where she is welcomed by her new in-laws to be as she is getting married to Rocky (Vansh Bhardwaj), their youngest son.
The first few days everything goes quite normally, then all of a sudden things take a bad turn when over a small incident Rocky slaps Chand. Things go downhill from there as beatings become common. To worsen things even her mother-in-law conspires against Chand, while other family members turn a deaf ear and blind eye whenever these incidents take place. Her only support is a friend she at the workplace.
But there is this other side to Rocky, who is really caring and loving that Chand falls in love with, but she is shocked when she finds out her husband has no recollection of these moments and blames her of infidelity. In between all this there’s a cobra that lingers around the courtyard quite often and much of Chand’s infidelity as the family blames her for is associated with the cobra.
Preity has given a superb performance as the dutiful all enduring wife. Vansh Bhardwaj is also good and the supporting cast be it Yanna McIntosh, Gick Grewal or Geetika Sharma, have brought out the best in the movie. Music is another strong component with its ethnic feel.
Though initially the movie seems to be shifting from one happening to another quite swiftly, it is the minute details that have been beautifully captured in between be it the simple everyday activities like brushing one’s teeth or the festivities that have added charm to the movie.
Life of Indians living in foreign countries is another aspect well presented. Even in Canada, the lifestyle seems not that different from one in India, and have set up their own communities. It’s just that innocent dreams that people carry from their homeland get shattered out there.
The movie starts on a strong note, especially the scenes where domestic violence are shown and builds up one’s expectation, but when you expect the movie’s climax to really change things around and have a strong admirable ending, that is where it loses all ground.
The treatment of the movie with the realities of life presented in such a good manner is the end overlapped by superstition and imagination just does not seem to coalesce with each other, giving it too much of artistic independence, that it becomes difficult to comprehend the story.