Fitoor Trailer & Review


Abhishek Kapoor’s Fitoor has a lot in common with Vishal Bharadwaj’s Haider. It’s based on an English classic. It’s set in Kashmir. It stars broody, young, romantic men. And it doesn’t shy away from the complexity of what it means to set a Bollywood love story in Kashmir. Indian audiences have come a long way from the days when Kashmir was just a snow-capped beautiful backdrop for unoriginal romantic scenes between newly-weds. Lead actor Aditya Roy Kapoor holds back nothing when he screams the hard-hitting lines, ‘If you ask for milk, they’ll give you pudding. / If you ask for Kashmir, they’ll tear you apart.’ In fact, he says them twice.

But there’s no inkling of this in the first half of the trailer, which looks like any other love story. Except for that brooding undercurrent, that hint of a Devdas to come. ‘Fitoor’ means ‘Passion’. The hero Noor (light) is the quintessential lover. He sees Firdaus (paradise), played by Katrina Kaif, as a young boy. Since then, every moment of his life has been in worship of her. Unsurprisingly, he becomes an artist, and his art is focused on capturing objects and time associated with her.

At this point, there is nothing to indicate that this story of romantic obsession is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. You have to google this to find out that he is supposed to be a poor orphan, because nothing in the trailer tells us otherwise. He’s just a boy, and then a ‘rising star’. An artist who paints pictures of his love. There’s a slightly extended shot of a shirt-less Aditya Roy Kapoor walking towards the camera, just so we can see how much he has worked out for this movie, and what a great body he has. Right after, Katrina Kaif spots him at a party and seems appreciative of his stature as an artist. So at this point, you feel you’re in any other Bollywood romance, and they’re attracted to each other at first sight because of all that working out. In fact, the only indication of any ‘poverty’ storyline is a brief shot where she notices him wearing sneakers at some formal event.

But Amit Trivedi’s beautiful music lulls us back into asking no questions. Then there’s a bit of dialogue where Noor says he has imprisoned her, and she says ‘I thought you would set me free’. The filmmakers should really add a little more context to indicate that this is a rich/poor conversation about a trapped (figurative) princess being freed by her working-class bad boy lover. At this point it almost sounds like they’re indulging in random philosophical chatter about love, and whether it ties you down or sets you free. The kind people get into when they have nothing better to do except sip wine and lounge around under blankets while holidaying somewhere.

The hero says ‘the only thing that can set you free from yourself is death. Or love’. The beautiful music, poetic dialogues, and intimacy sequences which have gone on for 50% of the trailer make you think this is going to be a Bollywood version of a Mills & Boon novel, with a little Urdu poetry thrown in. (Especially when the singing ends on a ‘heavy breathing’ note). Of course, then comes the plot twist. Albeit belatedly.

Enter a blast, and we’re finally herded back to the reality that this is Kashmir after all. Enter Tabu (who also played the intense-angsty mother in Haider). Her voiceover scolds Noor, as he walks around looking depressed. She tells him he has to become something first, before he can be worthy of Firdaus. Again, this is a little confusing because so far we’ve only seen Noor do anything that can be considered ‘work’. Firdaus comes across as a rich socialite of sorts. We are finally told at this point that Firdaus is the daughter of the ‘Begum’ (Tabu), and Noor had better watch out for ‘those rich people’. More inkling into the plot comes through a brief dialogue between Katrina and Tabu, when Katrina tells Tabu that what happened to her (Tabu) need not happen with her (Katrina).

By now, we still don’t see any real parallels with the Dickens novel. Tabu sounds like any other concerned mother, who just happened to have a bad relationship in her past. Katrina Kaif sounds like any other lovesick daughter, who is obviously more optimistic about her own future. In fact, what’s missing here is the internally psychotic world of Miss Havisham. The camera spends little time on Tabu, and hence builds little of the aura of decay and despair that infuses Great Expectations. Right at the end of the trailer, we finally have the Dickens touch, when Tabu leans over to tell the hero that love isn’t easy, that he’ll either sink or swim to safety. His eyes are full of tears. There’s ruin and fire around them.

More of that tension, less of the endless romance, and every dialogue would have felt like a weighty, organic pillar of the plot. And not just well-worded, pretty lines. It’s definitely a nice trailer to watch, and there are going to be some really great moments in the film. But it also looks like Fitoor isn’t going to come anywhere close to the brilliance and depth of Haider.