Ashish Vaswani
Okay, as always, a few precautionary warnings and points to note before you read this review:

1. I love most of the movies I watch. But me writing a review for one is rare. The only one to have earned that rare distinction in recent times is Raajneeti. You could use that fact as a yardstick to scale this review up/down as per your tastes.

2. This may not be the kind of movie you could take your girl/boyfriend to. (Then again, you could take the risk if you saw DevD together and/or are aware of Sudhir Mishra chhap cinema) Frankly, I wouldn’t be comfortable watching this movie with my parents around either, but I’m aware of exceptions to this perception that I harbour.

3. I don’t want to be branded a misogynist, but girls, you MAY not relate to this movie. But I guarantee you that it’ll be handy to have a tough guy around just in case you need help with the rugged dialogue.

4. The film is rated A by the censor board and yet, around a dozen words have been beeped out. You know what that means!

5. Eat some chyawanpraash before the movie. You’ll need to pay more attention than you paid in Trigonometry class. It is very likely that you will miss an important twist if you try answering calls/messages. So keep your eyes glued to the screen as much as possible and trust me, it won’t be easy to look anywhere else!

That should be it, so here goes…

I know this movie has been classified as a thriller by many critics. But for me, this was the best love story I’ve ever seen. All the YRF and KJo fans are free to disagree with me for that. First things first, Sudhir Mishra has done it one more time after Hazaaron Khwaaishein Aisi. He deserves to be lauded for breaking the barriers with YSL yet again. It’s only directors like Mishra that can be entrusted with the responsibilty of raising the level of Indian cinema to global standards. Awesome screenplay, splendid direction. Respect for the man! Sheer respect.

YSL is about true, unadulterated love. It’s a story of loyalty and betrayal. It’s about trust and the lack of it. The story revolves around a lot of different characters and it’s difficult to pinpoint to one protagonist. Each character is equally important to the central theme, love (or hate). YSL will urge you to delve deep into the depths of human emotion and explore myriad angles of the same feeling. Unlike a Sooraj Barjatya film, YSL forces you to ponder over the grey shades of even the most positive character.

Okay, I must confess that I love Chitrangada Singh a lot, but even after a film like YSL, if she’s not nominated for all the Best Actress awards next year, then all I’d do is pray to God to bless the organizers with some common sense. Though this may not be a first, with YSL, Chitrangada breaks the mould of the stereotypical Bollywood heroine. The ease with which she portrays the complex character of Priti is remarkable. Her enigmatic persona infused with her signature style is something she keeps bringing back to screen, film after film.

The entire cast of the movie is so aptly chosen that even every extra looks and feels his/her part. Irrfan Khan is at his regular best, as is Saurabh Shukla with his effortless portrayal of a Gujju businessman who’ll go to any extent to earn a quick extra buck. Arunoday Singh and Aditi Rao Hyadri are both amazing discoveries and make each of the now infamous 22 kisses seem so un-Hashmi-like. Sushant Sharma as the quintessential debauch cop does complete justice to his role too.

The dialogue of the movie does deserve a special mention. Sample these:

‘Aaane waali peedhiyaan mere jaise deewanon kee misaalein de kar kahengi ki iss jaise deewane toh kam hee paida hote hain’

‘Tum mein kuch toh baat hogi jiski wajah se mujhe woh lagta hai jo mujhe lagta hai, aur tumhe woh nahi lagta jo lagna chahiye!’

‘Agar main marr gaya toh log kahenge kee ashiqui mein marr gaya aur ladki bhi nahi mili!’

‘She’s like maa ka Rajma Chawal’-Irrfan Khan when describing Chitrangada’s character to a firang chick. She doesn’t get what that means. So he explains, ‘Kidney beans, you know kidney beans?’ Firang goes ‘Wow, she must really be something for you to describe her like that!’

Music is by Nishat Khan, a little known sitarist. Google says this is his first film as music director, which doesn’t show in his work at all. I was in love with the soundtrack right from the opening credits. All the songs gel seamlessly with the screenplay. The background score is crisp and catchy. Double thumbs up to Swanand Kirkire for such meaningful lyrics...'Zindagi pe tera mera kisi ka na zor hai, hum sochte hain kuch yeh saali sochti kuch aur hai!'

Mishra manages to maintain the suspense throughout the film and keeps you guessing as to what will happen next. The build-up towards the climax is well defined is sure to impress most Rajnikanth fans as well! And just when you feel that the movie’s ended, there’s something in you that’ll keep you glued to see if it could be changed. And just when you give up, the screen could throw in a huge surprise!

All in all, if you can manage to sit through the contorted storyline with a little bit of concentration, there’s little probability of you disliking this offbeat film. I personally, was contemplating booking seats for the next show as well, but the Sindhi in me stopped me from doing so. So maybe, I’ll have to wait until the charismatic combination of Mishra and Singh returns to create magic with their next, Dhruv, where Chitrangada supposedly plays a double role. Now that’s what’ll really be double my money’s worth! Until then let’s raise a toast to Yeh Saali Zindagi!

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