Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star Cast: Monica Dogra, Rahul Khanna, Arjun Mathur, Shivani Ghai, Aadya Bedi
Director: Sabal Singh Sheikhawat
What’s Good: A strong blend of passion and angst frames its core story and is delivered through a couple of solid performances.
What’s Bad: The story has its own share of incoherence and suffers from loopy writing. In parts, it drags and its drama doesn’t remain crisp consistently.
Loo break: Pretty many
Watch or Not?: Fireflies brings out that piercing tinge of heartbreak beautifully in its 1 hour 45 minutes run time. But the film’s scripting is scattered, with the two equally potent stories running parallel individually and yet never blending smoothly to make a heart wrenching concoction. The film works in parts for me, for its performances, for its soul and its narrative, but it fails to reach that cut of beauty it had the potential to achieve. The jerk of the sudden climax revels in its all consuming, vulnerability which is liberating to watch and that is what makes it an unmissable watch.
Shiv (Rahul Khanna) is a young, South Bombay businessman, who on the apparent is stably married. The emptiness of his marriage doesn’t hit him until he meets his ex lover an former girlfriend Sharmila. His brother Rana, who cannot hold on to a job rediscovers his life in television bylanes of Bangkok, falls in love with a free spirited writer and tastes the hardships of unrequited love.
The string binding both Shiv and Rana is their common past, stained with pain more than love. Fireflies is the story of finding happiness and way back home.
Fireflies Review: Script Analysis
The vision of Fireflies doesn’t go beyond the perspective of its narrator who defines everything about the film, its soul and its spirit. But the problem is its plagued with myopia and tries to tick all the expected boxes. Cheating husbands, failing relationships, tormented past are all out of the plethora one can easily foresee. In terms of story, there is no power to it in terms of novelty and yet what works is its storytelling which is intricately wrapped in poetry. In one of the scenes where an estranged couple are falling back in love after many years, over heady glasses of Cabarnet Sauvignon, there is a certain beauty and magic in their love.
The story begins dull, the tempo weak and shaky in parts. And yet, once Shiv and Ila are together they light up the story with their love. Somehow the unrequited quality in their love enticed me more than that of Rana and Michelle’s, whom convenience drew together. Rana is a complex guy, still bearing the heaviness of his guilt. In simple ways he conveys it. At one point, he tells his brother how he returned the money he had borrowed from him in a week. There is an evident undercurrent of brooding tension between the siblings and since the film doesn’t offer its reason to you in its first part, the gravity of it hits you much later once its background and backstory is let out.
The film’s story is somewhat half baked but it is how it’s told that holds your attention. It doesn’t force you to think but drags you into the lives of its characters who are flawed, craving for love and are all bogged down by weights of their past. There is a lot of literature well used in this film and the script’s strength arises from its Heartfelt love.
Fireflies Review: Star Performances
Rahul Khanna fits the bill perfectly with his suave demeanor and subtle acting. Emoting well with his eyes, he is fantastic outright.
Arjun Mathur who went pretty much wasted in Zoya Akhtar’s Luck By Chance was used well in this film and I can safely say he brings out the dilemma of this character alive.
Monica Dogra doesn’t achieve half of her brilliance of Dhobi Ghat. She was stiff and not exactly fantastic.
Shivani Ghai is quite good in the role and her chemistry with Rahul sparkles enough to give the first half of the film its beauty.
Fireflies Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
Sabal pits the film wrong and had he presented it as a love story more and mystery tale less, it would have worked better. The actors are stellar and the direction is toned rightly. The only problem of this film is that it doesn’t culminate correct. It is weak in places, and picks up slow. The tempo falters in places and mostly plagued with loopy myopia that despite a unique storytelling and narration, the only problem is its vision limits the film’s beauty. There is no novelty ofcourse but the poetic tinge is what entraps in its story. Even if its pace falls slack, the poetry makes it easier for you to sit through it. The soft music furthers the film and smoothly blends with the narrative.
Fireflies Review: The Last Word
Fireflies beautifully sums up the concept of coming around in life and its Cecilia Ahern-ish tone of optimistic view of tackling unrequited love is what works as the film’s USP. The brilliant performances of Arjun and Rahul reigns but in the end the flawed beauty of the film has an uncompromising flow in it. It is not a brilliant movie but is definitely worth a watch for its tone and pitch. I am going with 3 stars.
Fireflies releases on 31st October, 2014.
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