One of the main attractions of Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor is its breathtaking backdrop of
snow-flecked Kashmir. Whether he’s standing back to gaze at pure white snow or watching
barren brown leaves through a window, every frame by cinematographer Anay
Goswami is like a painting. Unfortunately, setting this palace intrigue in
Kashmir is also to a large extent the undoing of Fitoor as it carries the unmistakable whiff of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider. It’s especially true of the
central character of Begum played by Tabu who looks like she’s strayed from the
set of Haider into Fitoor.
Abhishek Kapoor and Supratik Sen do a Kashmiri spin on
Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations and
start off with the scene of a young boy called Noor Nizami fetching food for a
man on the run from the law.
The life of Miss Havesham, or Begum as Kapoor prefers
to call her, is one big sigh and she gives daughter Firdaus the legacy of
believing that it’s always doomsday for true love. When poor boy Noor falls
head over heels in love with Begum’s daughter Firdaus, the ageing heiress
watches on, willing it to follow the same tragic trajectory as her own
star-crossed romance. The first heartbreak for Noor is when Firdaus is abruptly
sent away to London.
Creative little Noor grows up into a gifted artist
when a secret patron opens doors for him and he leaps forward from Kashmir to
Delhi to London. Noor believes that Begum is his patron and that Firdaus
entering his life again is all a part of Begum’s plan.
But what Begum does orchestrate is a replay of her own
For the millions who’ve read Great Expectations, the unveiling of Noor’s real patron comes as no
surprise. Miss Havesham transposing her bitter experience on her daughter’s
life or the true relationship between Begum and Firdaus are also straight off
the book. But Kapoor takes extremely leisurely steps to reach the happy ending
which by the way is the cliché setting of lovers meeting on a bridge.
Abhishek Kapoor excels in the casting of a handsome,
apple-cheeked young boy with the shadow of a moustache to play adolescent Noor
and a haughty little girl to be the young Fairdaus. But he stumbles when he gets
Aditi Rao Hydari to be Tabu’s younger version with the conventional Hindi
audience looking baffled at the change in the cast.
Much of Begum’s revelations in the second half also
come off as scrambled and confusing for the average viewer. Why Kapoor
thickened the khichdi by bringing an Indo-Pak angle to Firdaus’ engagement to a
suitable boy, also beats me.
There is the additional problem that Aditya Roy Kapur
doesn’t carry Noor well and taking his shirt off while painting in a frenzy
isn’t going to make up for the missing passion and pain in his eyes. Katrina
Kaif makes a listless Firdaus, some of her dialogues coming off as staccato.
And Tabu does the Begum without any spunk. She’s half-dead in a wheelchair with
tubes but suddenly emerges tall, erect and smartly turned out in London.
If this is Great
Expectations, then Fitoor
doesn’t live up to any expectations and therefore fetches an uninspiring 2.5*
Reviewed byColumnist & Author
Bharathi S Pradhan