Savi is gripping Indian adaptation with a gender flip



Divya Khossla as Savi in the T-Series Vishesh Entertainment co-production, Savi. Photo: Communique PR

Recipe for a gripping movie: Take Pour Elle, a 2008 French movie that has had an American remake in 2010, The Last Three Days. Give in a gender flip, a la Yash Raj Films’ Hichki, from male protagonist to female again, and we reach very near the mythological story of the ideal wife, Savitri, and her deep love for Satyavan.

Here, the Liverpool-based Sachdev family has an upheaval when Nakul (Harshvardhan Rane) is accused of murdering his foul-mouthed boss (Jane Horn) and it is like a bomb exploding in their family life. His wife, Savi (see the connection?), played by Divya Khossla, is shattered, his son Aditya (Mairaj Kakkar) misses his dad, when on purely circumstantial evidence, Nakul is found guilty and sentenced for life. However, Savi decides, after a phase of mental surrender, to break him out of jail, for which, of course, unlimited research and resources are needed, besides, as mentioned in the film, “B***s and a lot of luck!”

Director Abhinay Deo (24 India, Delhi Belly) fashions a gripping narrative that sticks to the core of the original plotline while making vital changes suitable to an Indian narrative. He maintain core vital aspects like the hero Nakul’s innocence (in the original, it was the heroine), his chronic illness, the circumstantial evidence, the mind map plotted by Savi on the wall of the Sachdev family’s residence, the author of a jailbreak book, Joydeep a.k.a. J. Paul (Anil Kapoor) who is a key catalyst, and so on.

But apart from the main change from male to female, the timeframes are altered from years to months, the escape manner modified, the role of Joydeep is enhanced, the medical condition due to which the prisoner is moved to a hospital is modified, and so on.

What remains important is that while the film is an adaptation like countless Indian movies, the director does not dilute the impact or substance of the original in the process of adaptation—this reflects on the skill of both the director and his writing team (Perveez Sheikh and Aseem Arora). The narrative is riveting, and the second and more vital half even crackling in parts. The changes only heighten the emotional and entertaining quotients of the narrative.

I was particularly impressed by the entire sequence of Savi’s first encounter with Paul, the fight in the subway, the sequence where Savi takes leave of her son and also the scene where the Indian detective Ayesha (Himanshi Choudhry) pieces together the murder puzzle in the post-climax. The frequent glimpses into Nakul’s father’s video encounters with Savi are also nicely done.

Arkadeep Kamerkar’s background score impresses overall. The songs are alright if functional, and it is nice to hear KK (in his last recorded song), Sunidhi Chauhan and Shreya Ghoshal more than fly-by-night crooners belting out the same old, done-to-death Punjabi phrases. However, I missed the standard musical excellence of Mukesh Bhatt’s movies from a Jurm (1990) to a Begum Jaan (2017), including several co-productions with T-Series Films, like the Aashiqui franchise, Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin and Sadak.

The cinematography (Chinmay Salaskar) opens up the beautiful world of Liverpool beautifully and the editing (Shaan Mohamma) matches the crisp narrative, especially again in the second half.

Anil Kapoor, as Paul, towers despite his late entry. Made to wear multiple disguises, he is the highlight of this film, especially with his quicksilver smiles. The role does get a shade fanciful, but then a star of his stature may not have accepted a role in which he had an ill-defined character.

Divya Khossla gets to sink her creative teeth into her meatiest role to date and shows that she can deliver as a protagonist. She shows some minor limitations here and there but that’s about all. The key aspect is that the viewer feels for Savi, her character, and that’s a battle won.

Sadly, Harshvardhan Rane has never really got a meaty role in his career, but he is really very good as Nakul. The other actors range from average (Himanshi Choudhry, Gurpreet Bedi as Savi’s counsel, the drug carrier in jail) to good (the British actors in varied roles from cops to the hoodlums) and M.K. Raina as Nakul’s father is excellent.

I would recommend this movie as an absorbing thriller with strong, relatable emotions.

Vishesh Entertainment’s & T-Series Films’ Savi  Produced by: Mukesh Bhatt, Bhushan Kumar & Krishan Kumar  Directed by: Abhinay Deo  Written by: Fred Cavayé, Guillaume Lemans, Paul Haggis, Perveez Sheikh & Aseem Arora  Music: Arkadeep Kamerkar, Vishal Mishra, Javed-Mohsin & Piyush Shankar  Starring: Anil Kapoor, Divya Khossla, Harshvardhan Rane, M.K. Raina, Mairaj Kakkar, Himanshi Choudry, Rageshwari Loomba Swaroop, Gurpreet Bedi, Ackeem Gibbs, Jane Horn, Jacob Medows & others




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