The three films directed by Abhishek Kapoor ‘Aryan: Unbreakable’ (2006), ‘Rock On!!’ (2008) and ‘Kai Po Che!’ (2013) dealt with different subjects. ‘Aryan: Unbreakable’ (2006) was a sports drama, ‘Rock On!!’ (2008) was about an estranged music band and ‘Kai Po Che!’ (2013) was a social drama with a political subtext to it. His new film ‘Fitoor’ is a contemporary take on Charles Dicken’s novel ‘Great Expectations’ which has inspired several films and television shows during the last century. The Aditya Roy Kapur-Katrina Kaif starrer is set in troubled Kashmir and traces the journey of a young artist Noor as he suffers from the pain of unrequited love.
Noor (Master Mohammed Abrar Sheikh), a young orphan, lives in an impoverished family comprising of his sister, brother-in-law and himself. His brother-in-law works for Begum Hazrat (Tabu), a rich lady who lives with her daughter Firdaus (baby Tunisha Sharma). One day, Noor visits the Begum’s place with his brother-in-law and comes across Firdaus. It is love at first sight for him. Even as the haughty young girl does not treat him well, he falls head over heels for her. Firdaus is sent to London to study and a heartbroken Noor, who is already dealing with another personal tragedy, immerses himself in making artworks. Years pass by, a grown up Noor (Aditya Roy Kapur) gets a scholarship and is given the opportunity to move to Delhi and showcase his work there. In Delhi, Noor chances upon Firdaus (Katrina Kaif) whom he is still in love with. Noor and Firdaus get talking and he realizes that she is engaged to Bilal (Rahul Bhat), a young man belonging to a powerful family in Pakistan.
Great Expectations, the novel, had several layers to it. Abhishek Kapoor has borrowed some elements from it and has put more focus on the love story here. The problem is that the romance in the film comes across as half baked. The plot is too flimsy leaving the director with limited scope to weave a romantic saga around it. After a point, you feel that the film is not moving at all. The first half has a brisk pace to it and is fairly engaging. But, the second half is a big bore. The events unfolding in front of one’s eyes are barely engaging and the lengthy monologues only add to the length of the film. You do not feel for the characters and find yourself disengaged with the narrative. The film also touches upon politics but does not develop it further. The flashback that gives one a glimpse of Begum Hazrat’s youth does not make much of an impact.
Aditya Roy Kapur delivers a decent performance. He needs to control his body language at times. There is a sharp contrast between the Kashmiri dialect in which the child actor speaks and the slightly anglicized Hindi Aditya which converses in. Katrina Kaif brings the required frigidity to Firdaus. She could have been a lot more emotive though. Tabu does the best out of the scope she gets. Rahul Bhat is earnest as Bilal. The character played by Lara Dutta does not have much meat and could have been played by anyone. Akshay Oberroi and Aditi Rao Hydari are good in their cameo appearances. Master Mohammed Abrar Sheikh and baby Tunisha Sharma, the two kids playing the younger versions of Noor and Firdaus respectively, do a splendid job. The track involving Ajay Devgn does not work.
The screenplay (Abhishek Kapoor and Supratik Sen) offers limited scope to Abhishek Kapoor as a director. Aided by cinematographer Anay Goswamy, he creates some stunning frames. Unfortunately, he did not have a great script to strengthen them with. The editing (Deepa Bhatia) is nice; the visual narrative has a smooth flow to it. The music (Amit Trivedi) and the background score (Hitesh Sonik) are two major strengths of the film. The art direction (Mayur Sharma) and production design (Sukant Panigrahi, Shashank Tere, and Nidhi Rungta) are top-notch.
The director who showed some promise with his first film and bettered himself with his next two films (which also brought him much glory and fame) falters here. ‘Fitoor’ is a visually stunning product without a strong backbone, that is, the script. Abhishek Kapoor had a great source material at hand but he fails to make a riveting film out of it. On the whole, ‘Fitoor’ is body beautiful, minus soul.