Film Review: ‘Midnight Delhi’ is a bewildering tale of violence

A still from ‘Midnight Delhi.’ (Image supplied)
Updated 13 October 2018

Film Review: ‘Midnight Delhi’ is a bewildering tale of violence

SINGAPORE: With his 2006 film “Babel,” Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu kickstarted a trend of depicting multiple storylines that are finally tied together at the end of the film. Since then, many directors have attempted this fascinating model of storytelling, and the latest to jump into the fray is India’s Rakesh Rawat. His “Midnight Delhi,” which premiered at the Singapore South Asian International Film Festival last week, zooms in on a dark, mysterious day in India’s capital city, which has in recent years grabbed global attention for its crime rate.

Rawat’s debut fiction feature begins its narrative on a foggy night with a burglar (played by Anshuman Jha, whose screen name is not revealed until halfway through the 115-minute movie), who uses a blade to slit the jugular vein of his victim, jumping into an autorickshaw (driven by Mukesh Bhatt, earlier seen in works such as “Jab We Met” and “M.S. Dhoni”). The burglar engages in light banter with the driver, gaining his confidence until he attempts to commit the crime.

Later, in a series of seemingly unrelated events involving a jilted woman and a husband who returns home to find his wife with her lover, Rawat weaves a narrative that is extremely violent, sometimes unnecessarily so, and also confusing at times. Packed into three acts, though, the drama has interesting characters, each with their own tragic tale.

In a style reminiscent of American auteur Quentin Tarantino (whose canvas is invariably a bloody mess), “Midnight Delhi” throws together puzzling situations that do not quite add up. While Inarritu ably tied up the different stories in “Babel” to present a coherent picture in the climax, Rawat does not quite get to that, and some of his characters appear overly dramatic, sometimes even caricaturist, leaving us with a sense of dissatisfaction.

Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim undergoes 6-hour surgery after Beirut explosion 

Updated 05 August 2020

Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim undergoes 6-hour surgery after Beirut explosion 

DUBAI: Lebanese actress Nadine Nassib Njeim revealed on Instagram that she underwent a six-hour surgery after a massive explosion ripped through Beirut on Tuesday, killing over 100 people and injuring thousands. 

“Half my face and my body were covered in blood,” said Njeim, who lives close to the port area where the explosion happened, captioning a video – shot by someone else – of her damaged apartment.

“I thank God first, who saved my life. The explosion was close, and the scenes you see do not do it justice. If you visit the house and see the blood everywhere, you would be surprised as to how we are still alive,” the star, who has two children, wrote captioning the clip that shows shattered glass, cracked walls and broken furniture strewn all over her living room.

According to her post, the star went down 22 floors, barefoot and covered in blood and sought help from a man who was in his car. 

“He dropped me to the nearest hospital, but they refused to admit me because they were packed with wounded people,” she said. “He dropped me to another hospital where they immediately took me in and I underwent a six-hour operation.” 

The 36-year-old actress said her children were not home and are “fine and safe.”

Multiple Lebanese celebrities have also taken to social media to share videos of their destroyed homes. 

Singer Haifa Wehbe shared, on her Instagram Stories, clips of the destruction that ravaged her home. “We are all okay thank God. My house is next to the explosion,” she wrote to her followers before asking them to keep her house helper, who got injured in her head and eyes, in their prayers.

Clips circulated on social media of Lebanese fashion designer Dalida Ayach, who is also the wife of singer Ramy Ayach, in the hospital being treated for her injuries. 

Singer Elissa, who recently released a new album, took to Twitter to share pictures of the aftermath of the explosion. “It affected the metals and the properties this time, but who will bring back the dead? Who will bring back Beirut?” the star wrote.

Singer Ragheb Alama’s house also got destroyed, but luckily, he and his family were on a trip outside the city.

The ateliers of renowned Lebanese designers have also been ruined, including Maison Rabih Kayrouz and Ralph Masri’s flagship stores.

Taking to his Stories, Kayrouz shared videos of the damage caused by the explosion to his atelier. “Our courageous team trying to save… what could be saved!” the designer captioned one clip of one of the atelier workers pulling out clothing from the debris.