Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007)
Name: Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (My Veil is Tainted)
Director: Pradeep Sarkar
Did I watch this recently? Yes
Badki (Rani Mukerji) and Chutki (Konkona Sen Sharma) are sisters living in Banaras. Badki is aware of the families dire straights, but she and her mother (Jaya Bachchan) attempt to protect her at all costs. Things get worse when their father (Anupam Kher) gets sick and enters a legal dispute over which family officially owns their house – him or his brother.
In need of money urgently to keep their family and house, Badki decides to go to Mumbai to see a living. Alone, unskilled and unsuported she soon realises the difference between small town Banaras and the darker side of Mumbai. She then makes a decision to either let the darkness consume her, or to take advantage of the darkness. Badki then morphs into Natasha. However things prove more difficult to hide when her sister Chutki comes to Mumbai to work and Badki discovers love. The challenge is on to keep her dual life a secret.
Before seeing this movie my expectations had declined due to the somewhat negative reviews by the critics – i did have somewhat high expectation after i loved Pradeep Sarkar’s 2005 Parineeta so much. Either way i ended up deciding i needed to see it for myself and so i went – i’m glad i did. It was a good sunday afternoon movie.
I believe the indian critics are way too harsh about the story of LCMD. I believe it is believable – the set up for Rani’s story fosters the change of events to be believable. I think people think that there are alot of choices out there for Rani’s character, but having not finished school with no skills the only job she can get is unskilled manufacturing work. Which of course provided very small incremental income, so when she suddenly needed cash quick the opportunity presented itself. I think the critics also totally distort and took out of context what happens in the movie – so don’t believe what they say, make your own judgements.
Most of all i’m confused about what type of message i’m supposed to be taking out of the movie – hookers are people too? Good people can be deduced to prostitution due to lack of opportunities for unskilled women. I prefer to take out of the movie that they aren’t really glossing over prostitution, but rather show that a girl from a good family could do under the situation where her family needs money and she is limited in options. Right or wrong? I don’t think anyway can say they will never do it unless they get into such a situation.
You never know as humans what your capable of, history tells us that.
Overall i thought it was a well put together movie, its above average and i would describe it as ‘good’ but not totally in love with it. But this is not the type of movie you fall in love with. You get emotionally connected to the characters and their situations/journey. In this regards i very much got attached to Rani, Konkona etcs characters and i really enjoyed how they dealt with each woman’s issues. I think Rani looks very ‘wow’ in alot of her costumes, especially the ones that play in the title song of ‘Laaga Chunari Mein Daag’. Seeing her transformation with that song playing is different eerie. I never really think of Rani as sexy but her acting really pulls off this different side to the normal we see out of her. Although she might have an issue of being typed cast in prostitute roles after Saawariya, Mangal Pandey and Laaga Chunari Mein Daag hahaha.
The production values on this movie are superb – especially the cinematography. Its a shame when the cinematography is so high class, the movie usually isn’t as successful (see Saawariya & LCMD). There were little treats for the viewers throughout the movie – Hema Malini’s Mujra, Abhishek, Abhishek & Jaya together and Abhishek. The album has some good songs, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag provides a stylish music video that helped to show the transformation of Rani’s character Badki to Natasha. Other nice one to watch was Zara Gungunalein Chalo with Abhishek and Rani (where they had Spanish dancers and singers in Switzerland). Of course the end dance scene between all the characters ‘Kachchi Kaliyaan’ was lots of fun to watch everyone together.
Of course it comes as no surprise Konkona Sen Sharma was good, but a surprise for me was Kunal Kapoor! Unconventional looking and a bit lanky i found him so adorable in this. He provides a welcome relief with his ease of nature, comedic scenes and comfortable chemistry with him and his co-star Konkona. The let downs of the movie for me was Anupam Kher (playing Rani’s dad) and Jaya Bachchan (playing her mum). I’m not sure if its the parents i found annoying of the actors themselves – i think its more the characters i disliked.
Overall Score: 3/5 Hairy Anil Kapoors