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Film Review, Mitr, My Friend

Chitra Parayath

A few scenes, intimate and arresting save Mitr, My Friend from total mediocrity. The media attention, award winning actor Revathy's maiden directorial venture is attracting is somewhat justified. The film was made by an all woman crew in 30 days and is shot mainly in California. The director attempts "good cinema", avoiding cliched Bollywood traditions and elaborate song and dance routines. She does succeed to a certain degree, but plot weakness and an over-simplfied denoument ultimately leave one feeling quite let down.

The ubiquitous Indian wife and mom, Lakshmi( a very elegant and beautiful Shobhana) , settled in the US of A for eighteen years feels alienated from her Americanised teenage daughter Divya( Preeti Vissa) and increasingly unapproachable husband( Nasser Abdullah). To combat feelings of abandonment, loneliness and lingering doubts about her own worth , she embarks on a journey of self discovery. She finds a friend in her young American neighbor a surprisingly astute judge of character and situations. She also befriends an anonymous internet chat-pal who understands her predicament as well as Tamil, the language she thinks and feels in. These relationships play a vital role in Lakshmi's discovery of herself and the restoration of her self esteem.

Lakshmi begins to discover a new world, a new hobby, a varied wardrobe and a penchant for tap dancing. She also learns to play games that people in relationships play!

The characters are well thought out, with the exception of Nassar, all do a fairly decent job. They are effortlessly integrated into the progress of the story and the progression of events that shape the relationships, and motivation.

Preeti, in her debut role as a teenager rebelling against her Mothers' Indian-ness might strike a chord in many Indian families with offspring that age. Nasser Ahmed , a veteran model should rethink this foray into acting and perhaps stick to his early vocation. Shobhana carries the film on her shoulders ably supported by the rest of the cast.

The resolution of the film and transformations the pivotal characters go through seem very unrealistic and simple minded. Pat answers to weighty issues and concerns are difficult to accept in a serious film. Revathy shows promise as a director, and one hopes her next movie will be more insightful and interesting than this tepid first effort.

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