India Independent Film Review “Saari Raat (All Night Long)”

   

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First, the Recap:

Anyone who’s experienced relationships that have firm foundations under them knows that communication is a bedrock principal they are built upon. Especially relevant within the bonds of a marriage union, to talk things out, good or bad, becomes integral to holding things together and establishing further trust. However, in the freedom such sharing induces, what happens if it’s taken a bit too far? On only the second night of their wedding, one groom (Parimal Aloke) and bride (Paru Gambhir), break from any semblance of intimacy and, at his request, decide to instead chat about subjects they’d previously held in confidence now that they will be sharing everything together.

Frankly coming across as quite ego-centric from the start, it really becomes the groom whose focus on previous “conquests” is driven further and further along by his young bride’s insistence that he provide as much detail as possible about previous relationships.  Yet, when it comes to her, the bride is less than forthcoming about having had any prior interrelations with other men, though the groom’s own stubborn and mildly angered demeanor finally gets her to shed light on the past. But, as the conversation’s tone builds an air of tension, mainly verbal but also slightly physical, it soon becomes apparent that for all the overblown reactions and substance to their words and revelations, one thing still remains evident–love.

Next, my Mind:

The first effort in a proposed trilogy of short films highlighting the various types of equations found in contemporary relationships (see my thoughts on the second film here), director/co-producer/actor Aloke’s 23-minute foray into the intricacies of a legitimate marriage and the doors of communication one couple experiences carries a weight to it that is certainly impactful in the implications it portrays. What begins as a simple inquiry into each other’s past connections actually turns into a slowly simmering, heatedly building discourse which breeds a level of mocking and critical wordplay that would seemingly threaten to tear the two apart rather than promote heartfelt, love-inspired sharing.  Yet, despite the emotionally taut mood and even escalating physicality of it all, the finale lends itself to worthy resolution that gives the viewer a chance to breath and realize that ultimately everything will be well.  But, it’s still a potent portrait of being transparent with someone while also carrying that satiric punch both characters hit each other with, figuratively or at some points, literally. This is slow burn drama, much like the second film, but it’s very much worth it to stay with for the narrative’s intent and overall execution.

Aloke’s “everyman” persona shines through again here in his role as the Groom, a prototypical man when it comes to recounting his many, many escapades with women prior to marriage, shared in such a blatant matter-of-fact manner, that it makes you strangely admire yet also dislike the guy a bit. As his demeanor continues to change in pushing the conversation to the limits, there’s a real sense of inherent chauvinism, though the humor of it is not lost on us either. The physical moments he initiates when agitated are honestly a bit scary, as we don’t totally know what lengths he will end up going to, but in the end, you very much see the sincere love he has for his new bride.  All of this is very solidly enacted by Aloke throughout. Not to be outdone, the beauty of Gambhir as the Bride is witnessed in a wonderfully subdued, multi-faceted performance that not only brings out the character’s physical allure, but her inward heart as well. This Bride is more than loving towards her husband, yet her keen interest in wanting him to share so intimately about previous women is very much affecting as we watch how it drives her own sense of worth and sense of how she truly stands in her Groom’s life. Once heated moments arrive, our heart breaks for her, yet she stands firm in it all and wins the day with him, all so effectively portrayed by Gambhir.

In total, with its purposeful illustration of the importance of communication between husband and wife in a committed marriage sprinkled with a little touch of irony for realistic and entertaining measure, “Saari Raat (All Night Long)” is an excellent little independent film offering that deserves a look without question, especially as a study in character acting and a lesson in narrative-driven cinema.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!

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