Film: The Forest
Director: Ashvin Kumar
Cast: Nandana Sen, Jaaved Jaffery, Ankur Vikal, Saleem Ali Zaidi, Tarun Kumar
To describe The Forest in a line, it’d be safe to say it is an 86-minute campaign for the Save The Tiger (and all that lives in the jungles) initiative. The treatment as an ecological thriller works for and largely against director Ashvin Kumar’s vision for The Forest.
Pritam (Ankur Vikal) and Radha (Nandana Sen) have been married for ten years, with no children. While Pritam “became something” in those years, Radha pines for a child and moans that it was Pritam’s mistake that they’ll never become parents. To sort out their marital issues, they head to a protected forest where they meet Radha’s college sweetheart Abhishek (Jaaved Jaffery). Having returned from England and led a tough life thereafter, Abhishek has now settled in the woods with his son Arjun (Saleem Ali Zaidi). As uncomfortable sparks fly in the forest guesthouse, a wounded man-eating leopard is on the prowl in the jungle. It will stop at nothing to get its kill.
What ensues is a night of terror, where the difference between man and animal will blur and bring to fore the primeval instincts they share. These instincts are evident in the emotional trauma the characters go through in a bid to save their lives
The partly-in Hindi English film is director Ashvin Kumar’s first fiction full length feature. Brilliant camerawork and sound that gives the chills make The Forest a very technically sound film. Director of photography Markus Huersch and sound designer Roland Heap need to be applauded for that. Director Kumar’s intelligence and meticulous approach to filmmaking is seen in the way every scene is constituted and executed, the precision too obvious to ignore. The opening top angle scene where a water stream slowly turns bloody prepares you for what’s in store. It’s a pretty and gory film at the same time, with generous thrills strewn about for effect.
Kumar works with a certain kind of subtlety that a regular Bollywood viewer may not be familiar with. His actors are well cast. His technique is fine. He even gives a message minus the preaching. All of these put together, work only partly. The characters of Sen, Jaffery and Vikal are emotionally volatile and they play their parts well. While the technical aspects involve you, Kumar’s writing falls short of making an impact.
Watch The Forest only to see what a good film looks and feels like. Don’t expect to be entertained.
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Film: The Forest
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