Reviewing the Reviews: 2-2.5 stars for David

04 Feb,2013


Key Cast: Vikram, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vinay Virmani,Tabu, Lara Dutta, Isha Sharvani & others

Directed: by Bejoy Nambiar

Produced: by Bejoy Nambiar & Sharada Trilok


Bejoy Nambiar’s David is the kind of film that exasperates critics. It has a lot to commend it for, but like the runner who trips before the finishing line, it just doesn’t make the grade. Visually masterful, with an inventive idea and structure, the film goes wrong with it script and pacing. Which is why most critics settled for a 2 or 2.5 rating, instead of 3. But they all read like it hurt to pan this one.


Rajeev Masand of commented, “Oozing style and technical finesse reminiscent of his earlier film Shaitan, Nambiar’s latest has some genuinely tense moments, but suffers gravely on account of flabby writing. Each track feels unnecessarily stretched, and there are bizarre moments in each story that’ll have you scratching your head in bafflement.”


Sukanya Verma of wrote, “Bejoy Nambiar’s gorgeously packaged, well-acted but underwhelming David is like a split personality, racing on three different tracks exhibiting the skills and shortcomings of both these fellas. On one hand, it is incredibly grand in its ideas and challenges the traditional structure of storytelling. On the other, it’s uneven, often dragging pace and frantically shifting moods, unable to hold fort.”


Shubhra Gupta of the Indian Express was disappointed too. “My problem with David is not that it didn’t suck me in, on and off. There were a few passages which are well executed, and there’s no lack of drama in those: Nambiar knows how to lift scenes and inject tension. What the film doesn’t do is to pull together. Within each strand itself there are loose parts, which even smart editors like Sreekar Prasad can’t do much about. The film is also hobbled by inconsistent acting : some of it is credible, some is strictly passable.”


Karan Anshuman of Mumbai Mirror was relatively mild. “Director Bejoy Nambiar shuns convention like a Shaitan shuns his morals. With David, he brings us three short stories of diverse genres and delights with his now characteristic visual flair but perhaps is a tad ambitious in attempting to thrust together multiple yarns in 150 minutes that could’ve been entire films in their own right.Still, David is infused with energy and where it lacks in substance, it makes up in style and original thought. It is essential to treat the three segments as individual plots by disregarding the muted manner in which they connect at the end. You may get the feeling that you’re watching one film considering the tales intercut with each other, but your ticket cost will essentially be three shorts for the price of one feature.”


Sanjukta Sharma of The Mint had a style-over-substance complaint, like most others. “With his first film Shaitan (2011), Bejoy Nambiar burst onto the narrow Indian indie scene as a director for whom a story on screen is as good as its post-production, machine-fed visual acrobatics. Call it the Guy Ritchie school. His new film David, a narrative involving three separate lives that share the same name, firmly establishes him in that school. We need some of those directors—optimizing a visual in every sense, and the medium’s technological possibilities. Style does not exclude substance.”


Madhureeta Mukherjee of The Times of India raps it lightly on the knuckles. “The film swiftly transitions between eras, dramatically changing in colour, content, emotion and drama. Even the music – rock, remix, retro – blends beautifully across time zones. It suffers at story-level – the first half builds intrigue and enthusiasm, but turns blase soon after. The plot with D1 grips, D2 goes so deep to find purpose it loses us, and D3, even with interesting mix of characters leaves us in stupor…Yes, the Devil’s in the detail. But maybe David needed more ‘D’ of ‘Depth’ in the story to make this more ‘Delightful’.”


Saibal Chatterjee of wrote with some admiration, “It is apparent from the outset that the unusual narrative triptych that constitutes David has inherent potential. It is another matter that it is, at best, only partially realised. Yet, in the end, writer-director Bejoy Nambiar delivers a film that he can be proud of, even more so than of Shaitan. Soaring, stylized, scruffy, scrappy and sharp by turns, David is never low on energy.  It plays around with a wide range of emotions, from the extremely intense to the oddly comical, from the flightily romantic to the strictly familial. It is about retribution, love and forgiveness – that is what each of its father-son stories respectively deals with. As the film repeatedly moves from the sublime to the absurd, it courts the risk of careening out of control. Mercifully, it doesn’t.”


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