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‘Fitoor’ – Great Expectations, Bollywood Style
Wonder what Charles Dickens would have thought of this Bollywood adaptation of his work? ‘Great Expectations’ which I read while in high school has now been brought to the big screen by Abhishek Kapoor. The eccentric, enigmatic Miss Havisham is now Begum Hazrat (Tabu). Estella, the beautiful and headstrong beauty is now Firdaus, played by Katrina Kaif. Aditya Roy Kapur is Dickens’ Pip, the poor orphan boy transformed into Noor, a Kashmiri boat boy hopelessly obsessed by the Begum’s beautiful daughter. They are separated by social class and so much more – can they ever find love?
Fitoor: A story of Love and Rejection
Dickens’ tale is now set in Kashmir which has been breathtakingly photographed and just mesmerizes you with its beauty. The troubled situation in Kashmir serves as mere background to move the story further and after a bomb blast, the young Firdaus is sent away to London and Noor is left to make himself worthy of her. His talents as an artist propel him into a new world where he is more of an equal to Firdaus. From the Delhi art world to the London art world, back to Kashmir, the story follows this impossible, improbable love affair which blows hot and cold, with the manipulative Begum Hazrat determined to take her revenge on young love.
It’s a good watch and extremely easy on the eyes but somehow the passion play doesn’t quite hook you. The real conflicts of class and money are hardly addressed for can a poverty-stricken boatman and a London-returned society princess really have much in common?
Fitoor: Tabu as Begum Hazrat
While ‘Fitoor’ has been promoted as a romance, I think it would have been a stronger film if all the underlying social issues had been more deeply explored, as in ‘Great Expectations’. What is engrossing is the Begum’s story and some of the strongest moments are about her tragedy and what made her the way she is. Tabu plays this complex role with many shadings (highly reminiscent of ‘Haider’) and has some of the meatiest dialogue. The younger begum in flashback is played by Aditi Rao Hydari and does capture the nuances. Aditya and Katrina make a gorgeous couple but the pain and passion behind their love story needed to be explored more. In ‘Great Expectations’ Estella was petulant, uncaring, ruthless – and somehow that does not come through in Katrina’s softer portrayal.
One of my favorites Ajay Devgan also pops in for a cameo though if you blink, he’s gone. I think Kapoor’s ‘Kai Po Che’ was a much stronger film but ‘Fitoor’ is still an engrossing romance which is visually rich, though nothing you’ll obsess about. Better to see it without any great expectations and you’ll have a great time.
Abhishek Kapoor’s ‘Fitoor’
What did you think of the movie? Would love to see your mini review in the comments!