Producer: Ashwin Kumar, Judith Kames
Director: Ashvin Kumar
Cast: Jaaved Jafferi, Nandana Sen, Ankur Vikal, Saleem Ali Zaidi
Cinematography: Markus Heursch
A young couple, Radha (NandanaSen) and Pritam (Ankur Vikal),arrive at a wildlife sanctuary inthe Kumaon Hills to mend their falteringmarriage. They bump into their collegefriend, who is also Radha’s ex-lover nowturned wildlife warden Abhishek (JaavedJafferi). Abhishek has been living in thejungle with his son Arjun (Saleem AliZaidi) after his wife passed away.
The Forest, which has found itself incontroversy due to its explicit scenes,impresses you in bits and parts. Themovie begins on a promising note, whena village kid falls prey to a man eatingleopard while playing with friends deep inthe jungle. The kid’s death as his bloodtrickles into a flowing stream is a convincingopening shot which will give youthe chills. But unfortunately, the storyfalls flat thereafter.
There are many technically brilliantscenes. The cinematography is beautifuland the film’s technical and creativevirtuoso is a plus. The locations andthe forest are brilliantly captured andthe wildlife beautifully presented. Thescene where the leopard makes a movetowards Pritam who is stuck in a tree isneatly shot.
But there are unnecessary sub-plotswhich neither drive the story forward normake the film compelling. Another faultis the editing. The transition betweenscenes is disjointed and fails to bind thescreenplay smoothly.
For instance, the presence of a sagewho meets Radha is unexplained. Secondly,when Abhishek asks his son Arjunto ring the temple bell in the forest, itleaves you wondering why a father wouldsend his son into the forest which is ahome to a man-eater. The film does giveyou a déjà vu of Soham Shah’s 2005 filmKaal.
Director Ashvin Kumar, who has mademany internationally acclaimed andaward-winning documentaries and shortfilms, fails to impress with this film. Theconfident narration makes you expecta remarkable film but the loose scriptsimply disappoints.
Performance-wise, Jaaved Jafferi playshis part with flamboyance. Although heseems uncomfortable in some scenes, he gets into his character’s skin beautifully.Nandana Sen holds the bold appealof her character confidently. She shiftsfrom being a vulnerable woman to awoman in control perfectly. Ankur Vikalplays his part well. Saleem Ali Zaidi isfine. The rest of the cast is all right.
Verdict: It will be difficult for the audience to connect with this product and the film will find the going tough at the ticket counter. It is poor fare and its fate equally poor.