Story and Screenplay
Alankrita Shrivastava has penned a story that is conceptually very clear. Her screenplay is also very well-written, which is creditable, more so considering the fact that this is her debut attempt. Having said that, it must be added that the drama holds appeal for only the city-based folk for several reasons: (i) a majority of the dialogues are spoken in English (the makers have taken care of this by dubbing the English dialogues in Hindi for the smaller centres where the dubbed version has been released); (ii) it is a woman-centric film and, what’s more, it deals with the problems of a woman who does not fit into the stereotype – she is single, lives alone in the city, sleeps with her boyfriends, smokes, uses four-letter words etc.; (iii) it has a difficult-to-understand English title (‘Turning 30’ is not a term used by non-English speaking people as often as, say, ‘hello’, ‘thank you’ or ‘sorry’).
For the city-based and class audiences, however, the film is an engrossing fare because it is a slice-of-life film and comes across as an honest attempt and a true-to-life drama. Naina’s character is very real – she is strong and independent, yet very vulnerable and emotional when it comes to matters of the heart. The film is a bit lengthy but the good part is that it doesn’t bore the viewer.
Gul Panag does a fabulous job as the main protagonist, Naina. She plays today’s working girl beautifully and lives her role, expressing her independence, carefree attitude, fighting spirit, frustrations, insecurities, jealousies and ability to bounce back just too well. Purab Kohli gets into the skin of his character and underplays excellently, just as is required. Sid Makkar is also good, making his presence felt. Jeneva Talwar lends wonderful support. Tillotama Shome leaves a mark. Ira Dubey is very natural in a special appearance. Bikramjeet Kanwarpal is fabulous as the spineless boss of Naina. Sameer Malhotra performs ably, and so does Satyadeep Mishra (as Ruksana’s husband, Sahil). Anita Kanwal, Samar Sarila (as Ranjeet), Rahul Singh and Anjum Rajab Ali (as publisher David) lend superb support.
Direction, Music & Editing
If Alankrita Shrivastava’s script shows her clarity of thought, her direction only adds to it. She shows promise in her maiden attempt. Music should’ve been better because hit songs would have made a world of a difference. The songs are fairly well-tuned (by Siddharth-Suhas) but they aren’t popular. ‘My kajra’ and the title track are racy numbers while ‘Sapney’ and ‘Tinka tinka’ have lyrical value too (Kumaar and Raam Goutam respectively). Akshay Singh’s cinematography and Santosh Mandal’s editing are appropriate. Dubbing (of the dubbed version) is nice.
The Last Word
On the whole, Turning 30!!! may not do too well commercially but it is a well-made film for the multiplex-going city-based audience. Better promotion would’ve helped.