Dor is a realistic and qualitative film that deals with touching emotions like love, betrayal, friendship, forgiveness and redemption. The film deals with an extremely touching and sensitive subject of two women whose lives are inextricably entwined through circumstances. The strength of these women to overcome the harsh realities in their path forms the crux of the story. The subject matter rests solely on emotions that these women go through and like many realistic films this one is devoid of any unnecessary commercial trappings. Director Nagesh Kukunoor’s execution of his sensitive subject is handled with aplomb and extreme deft. The performances by such young actors are brilliant. In fact the subject is actually based on a real-life incident which Nagesh has managed to portray through his vision on-screen with extreme clarity. Unfortunately though the film mainly caters to a certain segment of society who understands and appreciates this kind of realistic cinema. Moreover the pace of the film tends to drag and at times the subject becomes too heavy on emotions. But undoubtedly the film is definitely worth a watch and is qualitative cinema at its best.

The film has been directed and written by the extremely talented Nagesh Kukunoor. The line ‘The quality of life lived is far more important than the number of years one lives’ encapsulates the true spirit of the film. Dor belongs to the social genre of films and explores situations that have a parallel to reality. The three main leads in the film are Shreyas Talpade (Behroopiya), Ayesha Takia (Meera) and Gul Panag (Zeenat) and there are several other character actors. The background score for the film has been composed by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant.

The lives of two women who live in different parts of India are inextricably entwined by a tragic incident. Zeenat (Gul) is a confident and self-assured woman who lives in Himachal Pradesh with her in-laws and her husband Amir has gone to Saudi Arabia to earn for a better life. Meera (Ayesha) is a traditional and conservative girl who lives with her in-laws in Rajasthan. Her husband Shankar too goes to Saudi Arabia so that they can clear their long standing debts. Shankar and Amir end up meeting each other in Saudi and are roommates but then an unfortunate incident occurs where Shankar dies and the blame for his death comes onto Amir’s head. Amir receives a death penalty. When the news of this incident reaches their wives, the life of both Meera and Zeenat changes forever. Meera is pulled into a black hole of tradition and customs where the widow is shunned by everyone. Zeenat too is left with her impending fate looking gloomy.

But Zeenat is a strong willed woman who posses great depths of emotional and mental strength. She decides that she will save her husband from the gallows at any cost. The only way she can save her husband is through the ‘maafinama’, where her husband’s death penalty can be revoked only if the woman whose husband was killed readily signs a forgiving petition. So Zeenat sets out with the aim of meeting a woman whom she has never met or seen but who holds the key to her life. She sets out on the journey to Rajasthan with just a picture of the former roommates Shankar and Amir. On her journey she meets an imposter with a heart of gold, Behroopiya (Shreyas) who decides to help in her search. Behroopiya is a lovable man child whose antics always bring a smile to your face. This makes the tough journey somewhat bearable. Zeenat befriends Meera and they form a strong bond of friendship and mutual respect for each other. But what happens when Meera finds out the real reason for Zeenat seeking her out. Will she forgive the man who robbed her of a beautiful life with her husband, will she be able to rise above an ordinary individual and deliver salvation to herself and Zeenat.

An amazing film Dor takes one through a gamut of emotions from love, betrayal, innocence, friendship and finally redemption. The way Nagesh has managed to depict each one of these emotions through his protagonists is simply amazing. Nagesh’s subject in the film has a lot of depth and sensitivity, his screenplay unfolds in a way that just tends to flow so easily without any jarring or unwanted aspects. He has handled each of the characters with so much of dignity and respect. Even his incorporation of comic aspects in a film that is so sensitive seems to fit in perfectly and comes forth in the right manner. The climax of the film seems fitting and natural and leaves one with a poignant and reflective thought.

The scene's where Behroopiya imitates several renowned actors and their antics is fantastic, the emotional scene where both Zeenat and Meera have a confrontation is superb, and the chemistry between all three characters is natural. The scene where Ayesha Takia breaks out into a jig on the ‘Kajra Re’ number makes you think about the small pleasures and joys of life despite a ruthless route. The innate strength that these two women derive from their close bond in spite of their difficult lives makes you want to applaud as it s the triumph of the underdog once again.

What does serve as a deterrent though is the slow pace especially towards the second half. Also at times the emotions in the film tend to overwhelm one and the content gets too heavy. A few of the comic elements though they have a good intention comes at inappropriate times like the way Behroopiya breaks out into a mimicry of Dharmendra after a touching moment of saying goodbye to Zeenat. Also the tragic incident which brings the two women together has not been portrayed in detail which does leave several loopholes.

The music of the film suits the situations in the film aptly but may not be of the commercially appealing variety. But songs like ‘Yeh Honsla’ and ‘Kesaria Balam’ depict a depth of emotions. The cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is fabulous with the interiors of the Rajasthan deserts and Himachal Pradesh’s beauty captured very well. The picturisation for the song ‘Yeh Arzoo’ has been done extremely well.

Finally the cast and their performances are simply outstanding. Ayesha Takia with her performance as Meera definitely proves that she is an actress to reckon with in the future. She delivers a power packed performance from a child woman, to a young widow and finally to a woman who learns to stand up for herself with extreme ease. She portrays the several different aspects of her character with conviction. Her performance in this de-glamourised role is laudable. Gul Panag’s role as Zeenat portrays a huge amount of innate strength and depth, her performance too is extremely noteworthy and she depicts a lot of emotion through her stoic silences and through her eyes. As a relatively new actress she proves that she is definitely talented. Shreyas Talpade has a relatively smaller role but nonetheless he makes his presence felt in this woman centric film. His comic appeal and his antics provide a light fun element and even in his limited role he does a good job.

The film will definitely get loads of praises and accolades as it no doubt deserves it. But from a commercial angle it may not have that much success as it caters more to a niche audience, is a woman centric film and lacks the big star appeal. At the box-office it may not have the desired response but hopefully word of mouth and reviews may back this worthy film. It’s definitely worth a watch.

Related Bollywood Pictures

  • Dor - Premiere
  • Dor - On The Sets
  • Dor - Stills