darlingCast: Esha Deol, Fardeen Khan, Isha Koppikar, Zakir Hussain, Kota Srinivasan Rao, Upyendra Limaye, Pubali Sanyal, Mukesh Bhatt (II), Shishir Sharma, Nisha Kothari, Promodini, Raghvendra Sharda
Banner: T-Series
Producer: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar
Director: Ram Gopal Varma



Last Friday, RGV received flak from all and sundry for attempting a remake of Sholay. The venom spewed in views, opinions, reviews, sms-es, everywhere. RGV has lost it, was the unanimous feedback.

Yet another RGV offering hits the marquee this Friday — Darling — but this one is no remake, although it does bring back memory of two films mainly, Ghost (which, in turn, inspired a slew of Bollywood movies) and Bhatts’ Raaz. Though dissimilar, flashes of Bhoot also cross your mind as you watch Darling.

It’s difficult to slot Darling in any one category. It’s eerie; it’s humorous; it has the song-n-dance routine (well knit in the plot); it doesn’t belong to any particular genre. Actually, Darling is a novel experience since Hindi films have rarely combined horror and comedy — two diverse ingredients — in one film. Trust RGV to think out of the box and fortunately, it works!

The eerie moments before the ghost appears don’t make you break into a cold sweat, but they do make your heart beat faster. Similarly, there’re ample moments in the narrative (Fardeen, Isha visiting the hospital to meet Zakir Hussain; also Isha wanting to make love to Fardeen on their anniversary and the ghost is watching it all) that are thoroughly interesting. The final scene, of course, is a brilliant stroke, with the viewer not being prepared for the turn of events.

In a nutshell, RGV can heave a sigh of relief this weekend. Last weekend wasdarling dark and depressing, this weekend should bring in sunshine for this maverick filmmaker.

Aditya (Fardeen Khan) is living every man’s dream. He’s got a beautiful, traditional wife (Isha Koppikar) at home and a stunning wildcat girlfriend (Esha Deol) at work. Balancing the two women with clever lies, he gets to experience the best of both worlds.

The going is good. Till his girlfriend shocks him with the news that she is pregnant. Aditya is cornered. He has to confess to her that he cannot leave his wife as he has been promising her all along. His girlfriend is devastated. She flies into a rage. A brutal fight ensues, in which she accidentally dies.

Terrified, Aditya disposes off her body and returns home, thinking that the worst is behind him. But he couldn’t be more wrong. For the nightmare has only just begun. His wild girlfriend is back as a ghost!

The USP of Darling is its unpredictability. Had it been an out-and-out horror flick, you’d have guessed the sequence of events sooner or later. Had it been the story of a man torn between two women, again, it wouldn’t have taken much time to guess what’s in store next. But RGV steers clear of predictable stuff from the start itself.

Although the screenplay is captivating and keeps you hooked to the proceedings, the only time it takes a dip is in the post-interval portions. Otherwise, the sequences involving the cop (Upendra Limaye) and his colleague (a lady called Malati) are excellent. Also, the sequence when Esha’s father breaks down in front of Fardeen is incredible.

Darling may not be amongst RGV’s finest works, but it does rank among his better films. With a music company (T-Series) producing the flick, it ought to be embellished with a good score and at least two songs have already grown popular — ‘Tadap’ and ‘Aa Khushi se Khudkhushi Karle’. Amit Roy’s cinematography is splendid yet again. The background score (Prasanna Shekar) is effective.

darlingFardeen Khan is a revelation. The actor catches you with complete surprise as he enacts a difficult role with panache. Esha Deol is excellent in a role that’s nothing short of a challenge. It would’ve boomeranged had it been entrusted to any inferior actor, but Esha is in terrific form here. This should be the turning point in her career. Isha Koppikar doesn’t have much to do in the first half, but more than makes her presence felt in the second hour.

Upendra Limaye is fantastic. And so is his colleague (nscreen name Malati). Zakir Hussain is superb.

On the whole, Darling is a well-made product that will find favour with the multiplex audience mainly. It has the merits to grow with word of mouth!

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