Tuesday, August 07, 2007

REVIEW - Dr Ravi & Mr Hyde

When a real-life physician is consumed by a desire to make a film, should we presume it's midlife crisis? Dr Ravi & Mr Hyde (2007) may be a low-budget film shot in just five days but it's high on funny moments.

Dr Ravi Godse, an Indian-origin doctor settled in the US, believes that directing and producing a "timeless classic" motion picture is his true calling. So what if it's his own life he's depicting. It's a journey fraught with many obstacles -

- a wife who speaks about things "briefly for two hours"
- a publisher who recovers the cost of printing from the author
- a gangster who thinks Ravi is sleeping with his girlfriend
- a film school classmate who thinks he's enrolled for photography
- and colleagues who dive under the sheets every time Dr Ravi walks in

The protagonist is a sort of Mr Bean character - though perhaps much more refined. He dances despite having two left feet. And endears himself to the audience.

My only regret is the director didn't focus more on Dr Ravi's film. What happened to it eventually - was it panned or did it shockingly win an Oscar? Yes, the answer might be hidden in Ravi's direct-to-camera monologues but I wasn't satisfied. A happy though unrealistic ending would have worked wonders for a film that is otherwise peppered with witty one-liners.

Sample this -

Some areas in this country are still slow. In fact in certain places, the prostitutes are still virgins
Yes, the film takes a dig at everything under the sun, even Americans. After all, they wouldn't know if Japan is in Asia.

Kudos to Godse himself for a crisp plot and a tight screenplay. At 87 minutes, Dr Ravi & Mr Hyde is eminently watchable, thanks also to some good editing, which ensures that the scenes follow each other in perfect harmony.

On the flipside, the viewer sometimes gets the feeling he's watching a well-rehearsed play. Some characters, played by Ravi Godse's real-life friends and colleagues, are not professional actors. They do try hard but lack the kind of spontaneity that comes, ironically, only with experience.

Dr Ravi & Mr Hyde didn't get a theatrical release in the US but word-of-mouth publicity about its DVDs may generate the buzz it truly deserves.

Verdict: *** Worth a watch. Ravi Godse's attempts at dancing should be reason enough.

Blog interview with Dr Ravi Godse
Watch 2-minute trailor
Buy DVDS here

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