Sunday, May 27, 2007


Deciding to watch a movie because you like an actor or actress is always very risky, but most of us normal viewers tend to do it. I decided to watch this movie because of the lead actress and this time the risk I took was no risk at all.

This movie is an adaptation of a book called Provoked: The Story of Kiranjit Ahluwalia written by Kiranjit Ahluwalia herself. It’s a real life story about a battered woman that kills her husband, is sentenced to life imprisonment, appeals, wins and changed British law forever. The twist in the story is that the woman was born into a privileged family in India, goes to England to be married to a man she hardly knew, with little knowledge of English and with “her culture in her blood” like the character says in the movie. It took a true act of courage for this woman to open herself to the world and in the process changed many lives of British women that Mr. Tony Blair gave to the real woman the British Medal of Courage.

I believe that if this melodramatic story would have been told by an American or British director probably it could have been the same as many other movies and TV movies. But since this movie is directed by India born Jag Mundra it became like a crossover between Bollywood and western movies. While it does not have Bollywood dances, music and production values, it has much of their theatricals and dramatics, so the acting of non-British actors may seem over acted in western eyes, that is if you are not familiar with Bollywood ways.

There is one exception. There are many Hindi actors that could have played the part of the husband that I do not understand why they casted Naveen Andrews. You know him if you have seen the TV show Lost. He was hideous in western and Bollywood style and I do not believe it was because of the role.

One outstanding actress has a secondary role, Miranda Richardson plays Veronica Scott the cellmate of Kiranjit and she performs quite well, as she always does. We also find here in a supporting role Nandita Das (lead in Fire) that plays a totally westernized Hindi woman and her performance is good under Bollywood standards.

The lead actress that plays Kiranjit does an extraordinary performance and is quite skillful as she does most scenes in Bollywood style and a few that show her possibilities in western cinema. In this movie she is not her beautiful self at all times, with exception of two or three scenes where she is the beauty she is in true life, she transforms herself into a shy Punjabi battered woman and you can see it in her face, actions and total performance.

If you have read up to here and did not recognize her in the photo, aren't you curious to know whom the lead actress is? Well is no other than Aishwarya Rai and I wanted to leave it till the end so you do not think that I am totally biased!

If you decide to watch it, please do not expect a western movie nor a totally Bollywood movie. This one is in-between and you could appreciate it more if you are familiar with Bollywood standards.

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