Starring: Taapsee Pannu, Pavail Gulati, Himanshi Choudhary, Saswata Chatterjee, Rahul Bhat, Shaurya Duggal, Vidushi Mehra, Myra Rajpal, Sukant Goel
Director: Anurag Kashyap
As an official remake of 2018 Spanish film ‘Mirage’ and having opened this year’s London Indian Film Festival (LIFF), there is much that is already a given with this science fiction thriller that translates doubly as 12 past two and also a sense of déjà vu.
Antara (Pannu) is a nurse who has just moved into a new home in Pune with her hotel manager husband Vikas (Bhat) and young swimming-loving daughter Avanti (Rajpal). The move has come at a time when their marriage is at cracking point and all signs indicate that the fresh start is unlikely to resolve the underlying differences.
When Avanti discovers a battered old television set, complete with a video camera attached to it, the trio are fascinated to find their own home replicated on screen rewound many years. In conversation with college friend Abhishek (Goel), Antara is able to piece together that the little boy on the TV screen is actually Anay (Gulati) who was tragically, though accidentally, killed as he fled a murder scene across the road.
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When the cyclone that shook the city over 25 years ago brews with similar intensity once again, there is much talk about a similar geomagnetic effect on the lives of those caught up in the eye of this storm. It is against the backdrop of this stormy build up that Antara encounters Anay once again through the TV screen and to both their bewilderment, begins communicating with him across space and time.
Will Antara be able to intervene into the natural flow of time and ensure that Anay does not meet the same fate at 2:12 as he did quarter of a century ago? Or will meddling with the space-time continuum cause a storm of its own that is beyond any human control?
The only thing going for ‘Dobaaraa’ is that it is by no means conventional Hindi cinema fare. Its convoluted plot may feel hard to follow at times but once you buy into the premise of jumping space and time, it is quite liberating to go with the film’s natural flow.
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Pannu is adequate in each of her avatars as Antara and the supporting cast fits well into their roles, especially the killer vibes of Raja Ghosh – played to great effect by Chatterjee.
However, it isn’t entirely smooth sailing for this jerky science fiction that expects audiences to suspend reality and join in the fantastical ride with the protagonist. Ultimately, Pannu fails to fully convince us to feel invested in her arduous travails through parallel universes, with the script letting her down eventually.