'Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz' Review: Onir's deeply meditative film about companionship in the age of social media

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Featured in IMDb Critic Reviews

Zain Khan Durrani as RJ Alfaaz in Onir's Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz
Zain Khan Durrani as RJ Alfaaz in Onir's Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz
Have you ever been in love? What was it that got you attracted to your lover in the first place? Was it physical appearance? Or was it some personality trait? What does beauty mean to you? Raj Kapoor had endeavored to explore these questions in his 1978 film Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Four decades later, National Award-winning filmmaker Onir has come out with a film titled 'Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz' which too dares to ask similar questions about love and beauty. A lot has changed in these forty years but the human longing for companionship is still pretty much the same.

Set in Kolkata, Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz tells the story of two lonely individuals who accidentally come in contact with each other when one of them dials a wrong number. The guy is a shy individual named Alfaaz while the girl named Archana aka Archie works for an agency that generates memes and although she suffers from a congenital skin condition she believes in living her life to the fullest. What ensues is a series of conversations between the shy Alfaaz and the fun-loving Archie; at first they exchange text messages but gradually they start calling each other up. But unbeknownst to Archana, the bond between her and Alfaaz runs much deeper. Every night at 10, the city of Kolkata tunes into radio to listen to 'Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz' on 92.7 BIG FM. Just like everyone else in the city, it is Archie’s favorite programme. The show is hosted by none other than Alfaaz, who, haunted by a tragic past, prefers to keep his identity a secret. How will Archie react when she finally learns that her chat buddy is none other than RJ Alfaaz himself?
National Award-winning actress for Liar's Dice, Geetanjali Thapa in Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz
Geetanjali Thapa as Archana aka Archie in Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz
Onir, the only openly gay filmmaker in the industry, is known for making films that have touched upon debates surrounding sexuality in a most sensitive manner. While ‘My Brother… Nikhil’ focuses on the issue of hardship and humiliation faced by AIDS patients, ‘Bas Ek Pal’ deals with the complexity of human relationships.’ I Am’, on the other hand, is a collection of four short stories exploring themes as diverse as motherhood, homosexuality, and child abuse. His previous film ‘Shab’ was a dark brooding treatise on the opportunistic relationships in the underbelly of the Delhi's elite social circles. Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz explores the possibility of friendship and love between two complete strangers who are connected though social media. Produced by Yoodlee Films, a venture of Saregama, Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz is based on a screenplay by Abhishek Chatterjee. The film stars the National Award-winning actress Geetanjali Thapa, Zain Khan Durrani, and Shray Tiwari in the pivotal roles.
Geetanjali Thapa and Shray Tiwari in Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz
Geetanjali Thapa and Shray Tiwari in Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz
After watching Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz, I am convinced beyond doubt that amongst the Indian filmmakers alive and making films today it is Onir who can handle the complexities of human relationships the best, whether homosexual or heterosexual. Vintage Onir, Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz is not a straightforward film. It slowly unravels like some puzzle. The film is likely to confound the average viewer looking for a straightforward love story. It is a film that may require some time to fully absorb. Here is a film that can actually serve as a unique case study for those looking to devise new means of online couples counseling. The screenplay by Abhishek Chatterjee, although a wee bit predictable at times, is quite mature and effective. The film is beautifully shot by Nusrat F. Jafri and seamlessly edited by Irene Dhar Malik. Shashwat Srivastava’s music immensely adds to the film’s poignant beauty. The soulful performances by Geetanjali Thapa and Zain Khan Durrani are the movie’s major highlight. Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz is not meant for casual viewing but if you are looking for something deep and meaningful then you are encouraged to take the plunge.  

Rating: 8/10

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!  

Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz - Official Trailer (YouTube)

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