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.


Meet the Taylor Swift-loved Saudi VFX producer behind her hit videos 

Updated 18 September 2020

Meet the Taylor Swift-loved Saudi VFX producer behind her hit videos 

LOS ANGELES: Jumanah Shaheen is one of the first Saudi women to work in visual effects in Hollywood. Her most recent project was the music video to Taylor Swift’s new single “Cardigan.”

This marks Shaheen’s second time working with the artist, the first being the 2017 hit “Look What You Made Me Do.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Almost snapped my neck by the end of the shoot Photographer: @niron8 Stylist: @norahaleisa Editor: @caitlingivvs

A post shared by Jumanah (@jumanah_shaheen) on

“What I thought was amazing about this project is that Taylor Swift actually directed this video,” Shaheen told Arab News. “It was great to see her in that role and see how she was able to take her knowledge and put that into the video.”

As a woman succeeding in the film industry, Shaheen is proud of her work and is looking to provide opportunities to other women facing the challenges she faced.

At the same time, she is proud and excited to be Saudi in a time when the Saudi film industry is taking off.

“Now we’re getting to hear a lot more stories that come from Saudi, that come from my culture, from our traditions,” she said. “It’s amazing to see all these amazingly talented people – writers, directors, producers (and) artists – all having this ability and opportunity to share their stories.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

amber asaly x ELLE arabia for july/august Issue ‎“الجنه بلاناس ماتنداس" . make up: @kerrieurban

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Shaheen said she is glad to be a role model for Saudis and women that share her dream of working in the film industry. She encourages them not to simply imitate people like her, but to recognize the positive qualities of others and use them to be the best version of yourself.

“What I’m hoping with my experience here and be able to kind of provide those services for these new upcoming directors and artists to find that outlet with them,” the post production producer said. “So if you have an independent film I’m hoping that I can be your right hand in being able to make your vision come to life.”