After showing what he is made of, in the contemporary classic Shaitaan, Bejoy Nambiar has once again brought something new to the table with his latest, David. One might get the feeling of having seen a long film, which it relatively is, but to David’s credit, it tells three distinct stories which could have easily been three very interesting films by themselves. And by that standard, the film is pretty short. It tells the story of three characters who have nothing in common, save for their name; who live in three different settings in three different times; and who are about to make that one decision that will change their lives forever.
For the weak minded, David’s screenplay may require a notepad to be taken to the cinema hall; but it is really not that complicated. David is an intriguing tale about the absurdity and the power of destiny and how it plays a huge role in one’s life without any signs to show. The three stories are set in three different times – 1975 London, 1999 Mumbai and 2010 Goa. These three stories have absolutely nothing to do with each other and have been separately narrated with distinct treatment. The story of David (played by Neil Nitin Mukesh) in 1975, is shot in black and white and has an amazing noir overtone to it. Vinay Virmani’s David, set in 1999 Mumbai, has a hint of realism, while Vikram’s David, who is a fisherman in Goa 2010, has a great sense of humour.
To their own merit, all the three stories are brilliantly crafted and the coincidental intersection of their lives aside, the film lives up to its reality. Taking the screenplay of Shaitaan as a benchmark, David’s screenwriting could have been tighter throughout the film. However, the reason to really watch David is not its screenplay, but the story, the performances and the directorial ability to control such a vast story.
Speaking of performances, Neil Nitin Mukesh has finally had one of those roles that is tailor-made for him; like Johnny Gaddaar and 7 Khoon Maaf. Vikram is perhaps the most accurate Goan in a Hindi film. His perpetual drunken state accounts for that severe south Indian accent and does a great job otherwise. Vinay Virmani is the weakest among the three leads but is fairly tolerable. Among other roles, Monica Dogra looks great on screen but her acting doesn’t live up to the standards. Tabu and Saurabh Shukla, are well groomed characters who bring a lot of Goa into the narrative. However, if there is one language that shouldn’t be coupled with the native Konkani, it is Hindi. Several other small roles, which might make for a long reading, have been performed with equal consistency which adds value to the film.
Just like the ‘Sach aur Sacchayi me farak hota hai’ from Shaitaan, David too ends with a deep philosophical message from the director. When destinies of three unrelated stories affect one another, depending on your philosophical stand, you may love or hate the film; because that is what determines whether David overwhelmed or underwhelmed you. Lengthy at times, the broken narrative makes you focus on the activity on the screen and makes you stop texting for a while. And in today’s day, if that is not success, what is?
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Published in DNA After Hrs (Pune) on February 3, 2013