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Fitoor  : Passion As Cold As Snow
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Friday, February 12, 2016
Abhishek Kapoor
Katrina Kaif, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Tabu

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 disastrous romance.


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* rating. 


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Columnist & Author
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