One of the things that separates Fitoor from other films of the same genre is the lack of deliberate plotting. It is a character driven drama held together by a loosely structured story of a love story between a boy and girl in Kashmir. There is no overarching causality driving the screenplay, at least not overtly. What is going to happen next often gets suggested in the previous scene itself. That’s how the film is written; revelations often happen to the characters at the same time they happen to us.
What works for the film because of how it’s structured is the poetic quality that Abhishek Kapoor brings to Fitoor. Exquisitely shot exterior scenes and intricately designed interior shots combine with a soulful music score to provide a stirring intensity to the love story. In fact, the technical elements surpass the emotional elements of the story, because both Katrina Kaif and Aditya Roy Kapoor fall a notch short of the level the film aspires for.
Anay Goswami, the film’s cinematographer, is the star of the film. The ambient quality of his visuals when the film is in Kashmir adds immensely to the mise en scene, especially when we visit the mansion inhabited by Tabu and Katrina Kaif. His picture perfect scenes are lifted by the incredible vocals of Arijit Singh in the title track, and by Amit Trivedi’s riveting compositions. Art and production design is absolutely top notch. The mansion, the Delhi art house, the art galleries – the locations and sets are brilliantly done. Noor is an artist, and his creations, an integral part of the film’s story, are genuine works of art that justify the attention they get in the narrative. Just the concept and execution of these art pieces take the art design of the film to the next level.
Hindi film audiences need set pieces in a movie to anchor their reactions and responses, and Fitoor hardly offers any of these. By Bollywood standards, the climax is not just underwhelming, it is non-existent. The treatment of the final resolution is a marker on how the film should be watched. This is piece of quiet verse with emotional currents that run deep, much like a somber Mukesh song. People expecting a high on energy Kishore Kumar number or a melodramatic Udit Narayan rendition may find Fitoor boring and uninspiring. Indeed, there are times when you realize that the engagement with the visuals is far greater than with the story and the proceedings.
Fitoor is not an easy film to make for a mainstream audience, and Abhishek Kapoor deserves a pat on the back for sticking to his vision. An unusual comparison would be with Bajirao Mastani, also a stunning visual spectacle high on technical treatment. But while Bhansali seemed to retrofit a plot into a film that did not need one, Kapoor does not succumb to this temptation. Consequently, Fitoor is a more consistent and a stronger film, even if it’s appeal may be limited for the same reasons.
Hindi, Romance, Drama, Color