'Saand Ki Aankh' Review

A Potpourri of Vestiges Review

By Murtaza Ali Khan

Saand Ki Aankh, directed by Tushar Hiranandani and produced by Anurag Kashyap, Reliance Entertainment and Nidhi Parmar, is inspired by the lives of sharpshooters Chandro and Prakashi Tomar. The film stars Bhumi Pednekar, Taapsee Pannu, Viineet Kumar, and Prakash Jha in pivotal roles.

Playing a character much older than one's age for the most part is all about getting the body language right. Prosthetics can only add to it but can't do much on their own. That's precisely where Aamir Khan got it spot on in Dangal. Kamal Haasan also pulled it off brilliantly in Indian. Anupam Kher's turn in Saransh probably is the best example of how to get it right. If we look at world cinema then it's a bit difficult to look beyond Robert De Niro in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America.

Another fine example is Dustin Hoffman in Little Big Man. Tilda Swinton did it with great panache in The Grand Budapest Hotel, even surpassing what Cate Blanchett achieved in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button—a film that's best known for a 45 year old Brat Pitt playing an 80 year old man. And who can forget what Jared Leto pulled off in Mr. Nobody? Also recently Radhika Madan and Sanya Malhotra succeeded in pulling it off in Pataakha.

Of course, there are many more examples where actors successfully defied age barriers. Alas, Saand Ki Aankh is definitely not one! Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar demonstrate how over-dependence on prosthetics while trying to essay a much older character can go wrong in so many ways. In order to understand how terribly wrong it goes for both Taapsee and Bhumi one needs to closely observe a scene which comes towards the end of the film. It's the scene wherein veteran actor Kavita Vaid finally reveals herself, emerging out of the ghoonghat for the first time.

The thing about Vaid is that she simply looks the part but Taapsee and Bhumi don't and that's the rub. We feel this even more when the real Chandro and Prakashi Tomar appear at the end. Coleridge talked about Suspension of Disbelief but sadly it's a little too much to ask seeing Taapsee and Bhumi playing sexagenarians in Saand Ki Aankh. However, the film’s subject is quite relevant and the story is told well for the most part. Perhaps, what Saand Ki Aankh needed to hit the bullseye was better casting.

Rating: 5/10

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