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Zubeidaa

Region 2 encoding (Europe, Middle East & Japan only) on Widescreen, NTSC

Karisma Kapoor emerged here as a mature actress along with her charismatic beauty!!!

Anyone with an interest in Indian cinema should see it.

Zubeidaa starring Karisma Kapoor and Rekha, Directed by Shyam Benegal

A young man decides to discover the true story of his mother's life. The film follows the many events in Zubeidaa's life, involving thwarted ambition, unhappiness and romance.

Review

Palaces, princesses and politics - on the face of it Indian art cinema doyen Shyam Benegal's maiden foray into Bollywood, Zubeidaa, appears to have all the ingredients of a mainstream success. However, the film is at best an uneasy blend of art-house sensibilities with the full-on spectacle that is commercial Hindi cinema. This is the latest in a series of semi-autobiographical stories by writer Khalid Mohamed that have been directed by Benegal. Here the director charts the story of Zubeidaa, a young aristocratic Muslim woman, whose promising film career is cut short. She is married off young, has a son, is divorced and finally finds love with the married ruler of a princely state in newly independent India.

Told in flashback, the film's structure and some key scenes are very similar to the director's masterpiece Bhumika ("The Role", 1976). Karisma Kapoor, hitherto known for her scantily clad raunchy roles, makes her bid for artistic credentials as the eponymous heroine. But much like the film itself, her performance falls between two stools. Veteran actress Rekha who plays her paramour's first wife easily outclasses her in a graceful yet forceful performance. AR Rahman's music is haunting, dreamy and helps create a mood and ambience that the visuals fail to produce.

On the DVD: Zubeidaa is presented in a pleasing anamorphic transfer with 5.1 Dolby Digital sound. While the menus are easy enough to navigate, the extras are disappointing, consisting of a faded theatrical trailer and a few television promos complete with dropouts. The subtitling, though largely accurate, makes quite a few errors. For example "cemetery" appears as "symmetry" while the word "diary" consistently appears as "dairy".

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