Films | Sona Spa – Movie Review

Sona Spa – Movie Review

Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on March 23, 2013 | No Comments

PRODUCER – Madan Paliwal
DIRECTOR – Makarand Deshpande
WRITER – Makarand Deshpande
CAST – Naseeruddin Shah, Nivedita Bhattacharya, Ahana Kumrah, Shruti Vyas
MUSIC – Shamir Tandon, Shailendra Barve

The world of sleep is said to be our conduit to the other world. It is also said to be our recharge button for this world. Our hyper energetic lives have left us with reduced capacity to sleep and there is a whole world of implications behind this fact.

Makarand Deshpande, a sort of maverick star in the Mumbai theatre circuit takes this modern-day malaise and creates a unique therapy as a cure. That is “Sona Spa”, a spa where you can outsource your sleep to sleep workers who will sleep for you. But the catch is they will dream for you too. No, there is no inception-like dream invasion here (though the film does flirt with the idea of dream-stealing) but an idiosyncratic tale which may be fascinating depending on several factors.

Based on his own play, the film banks on a unique theme and Deshpande mixes the outlandish with social realities in its several characters that seem as eccentric as the film is. For instance there is Naseeruddin Shah’s god-man-like Seattle arm and founder of the Spa (Seattle because insomnia is a big problem there). Then there is the sex worker-turned sleep worker Minakshi, played by the talented Nivedita Bhattacharya who mouths the ironies of our urbanized living with alacrity. There is the extremely benign spa-owner Indira Ma’m (Pooja Pradhan), so nice that we almost suspect the character. And there is a hint of a lesbian relationship between two sleep workers Ritu and Rucha from disparate financial classes played by Shruti Vyas and Ahana Kumar.

Each character becomes a symbol of an ‘issue’ or ‘message’ the film tries to tie into its already concept-heavy weave. The narrative is theatrical and symbolic, trying hard to poeticise its own themes and present a world of what-ifs from the one of what-is. It uses its actors, all from the theatre background well but there remains a certain dramatic and stagey-ness to the entire proceedings that do not allow us to take anything seriously.

There is a lot of eccentricity weaving in and out, most of which is intriguing but much is mere mere oddball turn of the quirky mind. It can grate and more often, with the multiple characters and each with a bizarre quirk, it does. It becomes a question of one theme too many and one character too many and ultimately, despite that, the burden of remaining relevant terminally bogs down an otherwise interesting concept. And sadly, no amount of Naseerrudin Shah cameos can make a difference to a scenario like that.

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