Anticlock Films and WSG Pictures’ Shab (A) is a story which moves on several tracks.
Sonal Modi (Raveena Tandon) is not too happy with her businessman-husband, Vivek Modi (Sanjay Suri), and seeks comfort in the arms and beds of other men. One such man, whom she treats as a toy boy, is Mohan (Ashish Bisht). She had first met Mohan when she was judging a contest to select models. Mohan had failed the contest but had managed to win Sonal’s heart. So that she could be with him, Sonal had appointed him as a personal trainer and had even changed his name to Azafar.
Azafar soon realises that Sonal was only using him while having her share of fun with other men. He is disillusioned and finds solace in the company of Afia (Arpita Chatterjee). Afia has her own back story. She has a sister who doesn’t quite respect her. She runs a restaurant with Neil (Areesz Gandhi). Neil, too, has a story of his own. He is in a gay relationship with a young man, Nishant (Shray Rai Tiwari), who ditches him, then returns to him, and then ditches him to finally marry a girl. Neil initially finds it difficult to get over Nishant but finally does when he meets Afia’s neighbour, Benoit (Simon Frenay), a French guy, who agrees to be his partner in bed.
Azafar ultimately also loses Afia because she decides to settle in France alongwith her sister. Azafar is also horrified to know the truth about Afia. What exactly is the truth about her?
Merle Kröger and Onir have written a story which is intriguing but also confusing. There are too many interrelated tracks in the story and although they are fairly interesting, they give the feeling that they are leading to nowhere. The duo’s screenplay engages the audience upto a point but the fact that almost every character is either unhappy or depressed doesn’t make for happy viewing. The drama is of the kind that would appeal to the festival circuit audience mainly. Even the ending will be found to be anything but satisfying because hardly any character in the drama gets what he/she desires. Adhiraj Singh’s dialogues are alright.
Raveena Tandon acts well. Ashish Bisht makes a fair debut and suits the role he plays. Arpita Chatterjee is quite alright. Areesz Gandhi acts ably. Simon Frenay makes his presence felt. Sanjay Suri lends able support. Raj Suri has his moments as designer Rohan. Shray Rai Tiwari, Anika Tandon (as Afia’s sister, Anu) and the others lend adequate support.
Onir’s direction goes with the drama but his quest to be different limits the appeal of his narration. The emphasis on gay characters and male body exposure will not go down well with many among the audience. Mithoon’s music is very good. Each of the songs has appeal. Lyrics (Amitabh S. Verma and Mithoon) are rich. Shashwat Srivastava’s background music is fair. Sachin K. Krishn’s camerawork is praiseworthy. Dhanya Pilo’s production designing is okay. Editing (by Onir and Irene Dhar) is suitably sharp.
On the whole, Shab has such limited appeal that it will go largely unnoticed except in a handful of cinemas in the country.