Monday, January 30, 2006

Paheli/The Riddle

Fake Kishen & Lachchi

After half a day of visiting relatives, I, like the average Singaporean Couch Potato, was totally spent. Naturally, I looked forward to a nice movie to divert my still active mind to something else while my body rests. There's nothing a good movie can't solve.

Choice of Movie: Paheli/The Riddle. Hindi film showed on Arts Central as a New Year Special. Based on a novel by VijayadanDetha.

Summary: A wedding possesion stops by a tree rumoured to be haunted by 128 ghosts to take a rest. One of the spirits was instantly smitten by the bride[Lachchi]'s beauty. The day after the wedding, the groom[Kishen] leaves for a long-distance business trip which'll last for five years. Taking opportunity of the situation, the lovelorn spirit takes the form of the groom and returns. He convinces his money-minded father to allow him to stay by cooking up a cock-and-bull story about how he met a sage who granted a boon to him by promising five gold coins everyday if he remains at home. However, the spirit tells the truth to Lachchi, who was now in a dilenma. She decides to accept the spirit and they spent three happy years together. It was then did Lachchi became pregnant with the spirit's child. The real Kishen was enraged when he heard about it and stormed home. The family was confused as there were now TWO identical Kishen...Spoiler. At that point, Lachchi was in premature labour and was fighting with death. Still, the identity matter had been blown out-of-proportions. The father was pressured into going to the King to seek justice. The spirit was not even allowed to see his newly-borned daughter before he left. As they marched through the desert, a shepherd halts them to query about their destination. Upon hearing their problem, he offers to solve it. The shepherd asked the two Kishens to undertake three tests. The first was to hold burning coals in their hands. The second, to gather all the shepherd's flock within seven claps of his hands. The third was to go inside the shepherd's waterbag. The spirit had undertook the last test and went into the bag. With that, the shepherd captured him and gave the bag to the real Kishen, who flung it into the sands of the infinite desert. The real Kishen then returned home. Lachchi was devastated upon knowing the spirit's capture. When she confessed that she could not start anew with the real Kishen...Plot twist. The spirit had in fact possessed the real Kishen in order to spend the rest of his life [No pun intended] with Lachchi. Lachchi was of course, overjoyed. And they all lived happily ever after.

I know, I know...This is the Lair of The Anime Freak and other non-Anime related stuff shouldn't be here. But the movie was just so touching that it HAD to be here. Okay, the summary doesn't sound touching cause some things cannot be described using words. Anyway, the song-and-dance scenes were mind-blowing. The flashes of colour when saris were twirled wildly kept my eyes glued to the screen. And somehow, in one way or another, the happy moments that the couple[Lachchi & Spirit] shared, touched deeply. My favourite scene was the heart-wrenching part where Spirit Kishen tells Lachchi the truth about him and the dilenma which she faced. Lachchi just broke down and sobbed her heart out. Spirit Kishen stood at one side, leaving the whole decision to her. If she rejected him, he'll leave at once and all his efforts will go to waste. If she accepted him, the conseqences later will be heavier...Just think of the tension.

The ending although left a warm fuzzy feeling, was unsatisfactory. They just end with the couple embracing and a song-and-dance puppet thingy. I know they lived happily ever after, but more should be revealed. Such as their life with Looni ma their daughter who's probably half-spirit, half-human. Speaking of which...There are too many questions left unanswered.

1] Kishen's uncle Sunderland went missing for seven years after losing a camel race as well as the presitge of the family. He left behind a young wife and infant son. Then all of a sudden,after Looni ma's birth, he returns out of the blue without so much as an explanation. And his return only took ONE scene.

2] The shepherd who solved the identity problem between the two Kishens, just appeared suddenly. Until now, we don't know his name, his identity, or whether he is a holy man or not. We don't even know if he's human. He disappears almost as abruptly as he appears.

Perhaps I'm too used to the merticulous details which most Animes offer. I just need to know more about the film...And I hate cliffhangers...Wonder if there'll be a sequel?

Useful Sites
Paheli Review
ApunkaChoice: Paheli