Region 2 encoding (Europe, Middle East & Japan only) on
Karisma Kapoor emerged here as a mature actress along with her
Anyone with an interest in Indian cinema should see it.
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.
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
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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