Saturday, April 7, 2007

Review of Aishwarya Rai’s Provoked

No, Aishwarya Rai is not the director of the movie Provoked. Still, she is playing the central role and the movie is based around her. She is the star attraction of the movie and her performance has caught the attention of the critics. Provoked has already been released and we can see a number of reviews about Provoked.

Andhra Café wrote:

It's amazing how the true-life Kiranjit found freedom by setting her abusive husband on fire. In one of the film's most sensitively delineated dialogues, Kiranjit says to her rather overly benign prison-mates, 'I've never felt freer in my life.'

What sort of trauma would it take for a woman to feel free in prison?

'Provoked' answers the complicated question of domestic disharmony with a deft and direct approach to the question of a woman's place in the man's 'scream' of things.

The intermittent flashbacks showing Kiranjit's spousal nightmare, cut deep and hard into the narrative. Full credit to Aishwarya Rai for plunging deep into a part that she plays from her heart.

True, at times she looks too pretty to be ravaged. But the vulnerable, fragile, little-girl-lost quality in her personality works to great advantage in portraying the spouse-burning victim as a woman scorned beyond endurance.

There're moments in the narrative where Aishwarya melts your heart like an ice-cream cone left out in the sun for too long.

Actually, Provoked is not like other movies. It is a different one and based on real life. Aishwarya Rai is mostly portrayed as a sex symbol and beautiful commercial actress. Her beauty is often the main attraction not her acting. However, Provoked is surely an exception in this matter.

SouthAsiabiz wrote:

Provoked, the movie deals with a very serious issue and portraying the character of Kiranjit Ahluwalia needs great skill. No doubt, it was a challenging job for Aishwarya Rai but as an actress, she never confined herself in commercial movies. Along with typical Hindi commercial movies, she has done other kinds of movies like Raincoat and Chokher Bali.

For this movie, the main problem was that she is one of the most beautiful actresses of Indian cinema. Her cuteness does not suit the role of a battered wife. Still, she showed great interest after director Jagmohan Mundhra described her the character. She even cleared her former commitments by May 2005.

Times of India has done a glowing review of Provoked. It has praised the performance of Aishwarya Rai and stated that the fans should visit the movie halls for Aishwarya Rai.

Times of India wrote:

A simple Punjabi girl leaves her village to end up as the wife of a Brit boy (Naveen Andrews), who not only likes a bit on the side but also fails to tame the beast within.

So much so, the beast rises ever so often and throws his pregnant wife down the stairs, holds the hot iron against her face and covers her body with black and blue bruises, whenever she dares to question his wild ways.

And when she is sufficiently provoked, she simply lights up his bed and ends up in the unfriendly prison environs.

Ironically, it is here that the simpleton finds her first true friends, her voice, her identity and her freedom. The story is powerful, yes, but the passion and the pain finds articulation through Aishwarya's sensitive rendition of the protagonist.

She is ably assisted by her videshi co-stars and finds a sisterhood in Nandita Das and her gang of Asian activists. What holds the story back is the narrative style, which depends too heavily on flashbacks and a slightly lethargic pace.

Not everyone is so convinced. Take the case of Aparajita Ghosh. You can read her full review at Aparajita Ghosh thinks that Provoked had a nice story but could not make the best use of a touching story.

Aparajita Ghosh wrote:

With such a hard-hitting subject, ‘Provoked’ should have turned out to be a powerful film. Sadly, the movie doesn’t curdle your blood. It as much stirs you a bit and leaves you feeling empathetic and sympathetic to the story’s protagonist.

Instead of going into the minds of its characters, the movie skims the story’s surface and merely recounts instances of abuse from the life of Kiranjit Ahluwalia, whose story ‘Provoked’ tells.


On paper, the story of ‘Provoked’ is deeply disturbing and it ends on a hopeful note. Alas, the impact doesn’t really come through in the film because of its somewhat amateurish screenplay by Paul Austin and Rahila Gupta. And director Jagmohan Mundhra seems more concerned with chronicling the tale of Kiranjit rather than going into the mindsets of the story’s characters. Also, the movie sort of tries to justify Kiranjit’s extreme action (killing her husband) rather than suggesting that it is better to walk out of such failed marriages.

Aishwarya Rai rises above the poorly conceived screenplay and infuses life into the movie with her very convincing portrayal of Kiranjit. Ash’s eyes are highly expressive in many scenes and her dialogue delivery in Punjabi is absolutely credible.

So, you see that even Aparajita Ghosh cannot ignore the powerful acting of Aishwarya Rai in the movie Provoked.

India target has done a nice review of Provoked.

India target wrote:

The film has an impressive supporting cast comprising Jag Mundhra’s old favourite Nandita Das (who plays a social activist), Miranda Richardson, Robbie Coltrane and Steve McFadden.

Slated for April 6th 2007 release, this hard-hitting film will be completing for audience eyeballs with the Bobby Deol – Upen Patel rock star flick ‘Shaka Laka Boom Boom’.

So, you can find mostly positive reviews for Provoked. Have you seen the movie? If so then write a review of your own in the comment section. If you have done a review of Provoked in your blog then leave the link here and I will post the link of your review.