The Indian woman today is different. No more is she expected to be a slave to her domestic responsibilities, sacrifice her ambition and live a life for her family. And as for marrying by a respectable age? Well, that entire idea can easily be kicked out the door. However, what can one do with social pressures? The life of a 30-year-old single woman in a city of Mumbai is never looked on as being one of the biggest taboos in India. It is exactly this idea that debutant director Alankrita Shrivastava has touched upon with her film, Turning 30. Starring Gul Panag and Purab Kohli, the film follows the life of a young girl who is desperately trying to figure out her apparently complicated and unmarried life as she glides towards her 30th birthday. The director claimed that the film is a complete urban chick flick which is bound to create waves. Question is, does it?
29-year-old Naina (Gul Panag) has the perfect life. Dedicated boyfriend Rishab (Siddharth Makkar), great job and a fabulous life in the city of dreams: Mumbai. However, as she looks to her 30th birthday, her friends remind her of the negatives aging brings to life ala the biological clock et al. It is just then her life turns around. Dumped by her boyfriend for a younger girl, she realizes her life needs a swift change. At around the same time, she bumps into old friend Jai (Purab Kohli). He turns out to the just what the doctor ordered as she quickly indulges in a rebound relationship with him. But Jai isn’t looking to be a boy toy; he wants a real relationship. Naina is forced to reexamine her life, choices and whether turning 30 is really at fault.
The main problem with this self-declared chick-flick is that it promises to be entertaining and fails. Really, in this day and age, turning 30 is hardly a big deal especially since 40 is considered the new 30. And that said, another major flaw with the film is that it is predominantly in English which ultimately limits the audiences it will attract. Add to that a pretty bland plot with desperate attempts to create humor, and what you get is a mid-life crisis in the form of a film. It just doesn’t work. While the main character is clearly confused, the plot is equally as perplexed. It tends to go nowhere with no angle, no direction and definitely no fun. As for it being a chick-flick, the film falters in that area too. I have all of 2 years to go before I turn 30, and I can hardly relate to the situations that Naina deals with. None of them!
Gul Panag does the best she possibly could have in a film that does nothing for her acting talent. However, that said, her casting in the film is close to perfect as she fits the urban gal with utmost ease indicating that she understands the psyche of a “turning 30″ Mumbai residing woman. She manages to bring the forced humor to a script that really is blah in the funny department. Purab Kohli, who happens to be a personal favorite of mine, is lost and wasted in Turning 30. I’m not quite sure what they were trying to do with the nonstop scarf changing but it didn’t work. No style statement was made or understood. The rest of the cast do well to play the stereotypes they were bestowed with – the cheating husband, homosexual lover and a lesbian. Yeap, they are all there.
Look, the film has its moments and then for the most part you are left pondering over whether turning 30 is really all that bad. I highly doubt any on-the-brink-of turning 30 year-old will walk out identifying with the character of Naina. Today’s Indian woman is hardly worried about her biological clock ticking, hello in-vitro and adoption; nor is she concerned about marrying for age. She would much rather lead a life of happiness. And that is one feeling you don’t walk out with after Turning 30.
Out of 30, this film gets 12; translated: 2 out 5.