It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.
This is the iconic quote from Charles Dickens‘ A Tale Of Two Cities, a book the lead pair from Fitoor pay homage to, twice in the movie. Fitoor is an adaptation of Great Expectations though, a classic (penned by the same author) loved by many and adapted all over the world. The story is about the personal development of the orphan Noor (Aditya Roy Kapur) who strives to be good enough for the love of his life, Firdaus (Katrina Kaif). The obstacles come in the form of Begum Hazrat (Tabu) and his lowly social status which the Begum loves to point out frequently. Great Expectations as a novel had a lot of layers, and director Abhishek Kapoor has made a decent attempt to retain them, but sadly it just doesn’t seem enough. Maybe because we’re never really invested in Noor and Firdaus’s relationship.
Aditya Roy Kapur is good as the enamored Noor and it really looks like he worships the ground on which Firdaus walks on. Generous close-ups of his super chiseled body are definitely a good distraction from the otherwise loose story-line. Katrina Kaif on the other hand, is just Katrina Kaif. She’s stunning no doubt, and the rumoured hair colour worth Rs 55 lacs (which is a lie actually) does look great on her, but she doesn’t even try. Tunisha Sharma, who plays the young Firdaus does a better Estella than Katrina who is around a decade old in the industry. Also, making her act in the same frame as Tabu shows how stark the difference is between the two actors. Needless to say, Tabu is brilliant as the movie’s antagonist Miss Havisham, she brings out the madness and the gothic overtones of the character in it’s full glory. Especially towards the end when the audience finally understands why she is the way she is, you can see why Tabu is the pillar of this film. Making her dub for Aditi Rao Hydari (who plays the Begum’s younger version) was a nice touch too, and honestly, I thought the chemistry between Aditya and Tabu was far stronger than what he had with Katrina, which is rather sad. Even the use of Kashmir as a backdrop didn’t really make much of a difference and Noor’s frequent travels between Kashmir, Delhi and London can confuse the viewer. Ajay Devgn doesn’t make much of a mark in his cameo which is surprising because he’s a great actor and the role of Abel Magwitch is quite pivotal to the plot, which in the movie seems to be really random. Rahul Bhatt and Lara Dutta provide good support to the leads but it’s Noor’s friend Aarif who stands out.
Abhishek Kapoor and Supratik Sen have made an earnest attempt to adapt the novel, but they don’t do justice to the story. The editing by Deepak Bhatiya is not up to the mark as the film doesn’t have a seamless flow, the background score by Hitesh Sonik is one of the best things about the movie. Talking about the score, Swanand Kirkire‘s lyrics and Amit Trivedi‘s music is soothing and the title track and Pashmina are used rather well in the film. Dialogues like “Khud se azaad ya to maut karti hai ya ishq” or “Kaid kar diya tumhe Firdaus, mujhe laga tum azaad karoge” are nice but don’t make the kind of mark the writers wanted to. Even Aditya getting hammered (yay) and screaming ‘Dhoodh mangoge to kheer denge Kashmir mangoge to cheer denge” to Firdaus’s Pakistani fiance Bilal is not as impactful as it was meant to be. I mean, Sunny Deol screaming that in Maa Tujhe Salaam (which also starred Tabu) made more of an impression. The cinematography by Anay Goswamy is wonderful and overall the film looks like a painting, but there’s no soul. That’s the biggest problem with Fitoor. Maybe, the makers should have adapted A Tale Of Two Cities instead.
Rating: **1/2 (an extra half for Aditya’s body)