“Let’s make something shocking and hard-hitting. How do we do it? Oh, let’s make an unusual love story. That will get us eyeballs.” I really hope this wasn’t the aim of the makers when they stepped out to make Safed, a film as bland as this one. The final result is a product that only wanted attention. Starring Meera Chopra as a widow called Kaali and Abhay Verma as Chaandi, a eunuch, the plot (which the makers claim is based on a true story) revolves around the duo leading lonely lives until they cross paths and try to find solace in each other. I write ‘try’ because that’s what we are doing too, as audience, trying to feel for the characters. But the stereotypical representation of both the communities lets you down. The walk, the distinct way of speaking, abuses at the drop of a hat-is this really what director Sandeep Singh thinks transgenders are all about? Jameel Khan, who plays the head of the eunuchs, is good. But again, he is bogged down by Singh’s half-baked plot.
The director tries hard to make the plot tug at our heartstrings, but unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Verma (of The Family Man-Season 2 fame), who gets a meaty role to bite into, is decent. It is a difficult role, but he manages to sustain interest. His acceptance of his gender identity after being turned down by his love is supposed to be a highly charged scene. But why it lacks shine is because of Singh’s average direction and Verma’s shortcoming as an actor.
Chopra, with limited support from the story, is just not able to emote her attachment to Verma’s character. The scenes featuring the two, explaining how this love story begins, have zero impact.
Actor Barkha Sengupta is a miscast as a eunuch, because she is unable to slip into the character and make it believable. She hams it up, right from her introductory shot to the climax, where she is supposed to be totally broken, consoling Chand/ Chaandi (Verma’s character).
The film’s intentions are in the right place, but I feel the kind of life transgenders and widows lead in some parts of the country is indeed a subject that could have got a much better treatment in the hands of a seasoned director. However, where this attempt is bang on is in the title itself. Safed -no colour whatsoever!
The movie is streaming on Zee5.
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