Cast: Bidita Bag, Prateek Chakravorty, Sharad Malhotra, Karan Sagoo, Evelyn Sharma, Sabyasachi Chakraborty
Director: Prateek Chakravorty
Romantic comedy appears like a relatively simple genre at the first glance, but coming up with an innovative story line within the constraints of the genre is not every filmmaker’s cup of tea. The director of ‘From Sydney with Love’ might have faced the same situation while writing the climax of the film. Probably, this is the reason that he decided to put an extended climax which has two high points.
The basic story revolves around Megha Banerjee (Bidita Bag), a small town girl from Bolepur, who has somehow managed to come to the glamorous University of New South Wales. Unknown to the culture of Australia, Megha finds it a bit difficult to adjust to the surrounding, but Rohit Khurana (Sharad Malhotra) comes to her help. Another boy Raj Bakshi (Prateek Chakravorty) is interested in her but he decides to stay away from Megha’s personal life after witnessing her proximity with Rohit. Three more people are there in the friend circle. The first is Megha’s protective cousin Kalpana (Reshami Ghosh) while the second is Lubaina Snyder (Evelyn Sharma). Suhail (Karan Sagoo), an egoistic spoilt brat, completes the immediate circle of Megha.
As expected, relationships get complicated with time and one fine day Megha suddenly returns to India. What happens afterwards forms the rest of the story.
Thanks to the director’s (Prateek Chakravorty) conscious efforts to use time lapses as the change of space too, the story remains linear. Such story structure gives the storyteller ample space to establish the basic premise of the film, but the writer makes a mistake here. The deliberate effort to develop all the primary characters simultaneously cuts down the space for emotions. Raj’s character have been given ample time to sink in but Prateek’s overconfident act goes against him to some extent. It’s perfectly fine rather a welcome step if the director has created a character which is not conscious about his physicality but that character is much more witty and mature than what was intended.
Sharad Malhotra is lovable as Rohit, his boyish charm saves the day for him in the first half. The second half, which is a lot faster than the first half, needs him to showcase the emotional transitions, and he tries hard. The anxiety of a new lover gets visible in his character but too much emphasis on being a sweet boy forces him to play mild even in the intense scenes. His best comes out in a scene where all the sweetness of his character evaporates and he becomes a practical man who is not ready to break the status quo of the society. There are only two scenes where he becomes angry and he excels in both the scenes.
Karan Sagoo (Suhail) is not required to come out of his bad boy periphery, so there is not much for him to experiment. More or less he is mean and at times his antics cross the limits but the director is single minded about the film’s outer appearance as a simple, innocent story, so he hesitates in portraying Suhail in a completely bad light.
Bidita Bag actually looks like a typical middle class college goer. She has conveyed her inhibitions and morality issues in a convincing manner. She easily graduates to a matured woman who is dealing with life’s tough questions in the second half, but playing a silent woman brings out her weakness. The part of the story where her guilt pushes her to break all ties with Sharad needed more nuanced acting. Except for this reason, Bidita has done a commendable job as Megha, her dusky and not so Bollywood looks has helped her in striking the right cord.
The writer should be blamed for taking too much time to establish the set-up; in fact, ‘From Sydney with Love’ gets better when the characters arrive in India. The title gels well with the mood of the film and the tempo also rises in the last half an hour but it has two high points which enhances the audience’s expectations from the climax.
The ultimate message of the film is as per the existing stereotypes of Bollywood that the love of the oppressed should win, and a lover should always forgive the beloved’s mistake.
The film could have been edited well and the director could have done away with one or two characters. The first half is repetitive and doesn’t contribute anything substantial to the story. The small town girl and her dream to make it big in life could have been shortened a bit.
Further, the filmmaker has failed to convince about the reasons behind Megha not talking to Sharad and sorting things out after an unplanned mistake.
‘From Sydney with Love’ has its heart at the right place and the twists work. For example, there is a scene where guys from Sydney are bathing in their carefree attitude and local women pass by, a simple facial gesture expresses a lot in this scene. Similarly, Sharad’s sudden change of character is capable enough of shocking the audiences.
Acclaimed Bengali actor Sabyasachi Chakravorty leaves his impression in a cameo, actually the film picks up the pace after his arrival.
The real conflict of the story comes at the right time and it strikes the spectators too.
Sohail Sen’s music is the highlight of the film. Though it’s overpowering at times, still it helps in taking the story forward. The title track compliments the theme while the song ‘Wo humko bhi ho jayega’ is definitely worth listening. The end credit track ‘Pyaari pyaari’ is a good fusion.
The camera cares to capture the glossiness of Australian beaches. Editing could have been a little tighter.
Overall, ‘From Sydney with Love’ is meant for the takers of simple and idealistic romance. The makers don’t fancy to develop a new love theorem and remains within the comfort zone. Though unnecessary melodrama hampers the pace of the film, still it appeals due to the efforts put in by the newcomers.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
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