Thursday, February 24, 2011


Release date: February 11, 2011
Director: Shankhadeep
Cast: Ishaan Manhaas, Ankita Srivastava

Cinderella/April (left) with her Fairy Godmother (right, in yellow suit)
I remember @RakshitaRavi on Twitter asking me if I hadn’t got myself a very expensive New Year resolution this year. She’s right of course. I realise my bank balance is unlikely to permit me to sustain this exercise in 2012. After all, reviewing every single Hindi film released in the NCR involves often driving long distances to catch films released in just one or two cinema halls 70 km away from my home. Or – as in the case of my adventure with – it involves buying two tickets for a single show of a movie because no one else had turned up and the theatre manager said it was not financially viable for him to run the show otherwise.
I’m glad I spent that effort and money on this film though. is the story of a plain Jane in love with the college hunk. April (that’s her name) is a modern-day Cinderella who is forced to do all the housework by her wicked stepmother while her ditsy stepsisters get her to do their homework and she waits tables at the family restaurant. One day, on one such mission for her siblings, April accidentally bumps into an online prince. They meet offline but he fails to spot the woman he loves in that dark-skinned, friendly waitress. Mr Hot Stuff goes by the name Cyrus. He has his own problems. His ambition is to be a writer while his dad wants him to become a swimming champ. And the only person he’s ever confided in is April online.

I may have told you earlier on this blog that a very bad film can sometimes be entertaining. Read: United Six with Parvathy Omanakuttan and Tum Hi To Ho with Vipinno. But there’s nothing even remotely amusing about, a painfully literal adaptation of Cinderella that seems to view itself as a statement on the colour prejudice that prevails in India, though the writer-director can barely hide his own bias against black and brown.
Let’s begin with the film’s website that describes the heroine as “an average girl next door”. Actress Ankita Srivastava who plays the part is a sweet-looking girl with pretty eyes and an enviably smooth complexion. But yes, her dark skin is much talked about in the film, so I could only conclude that the filmmaker’s idea of “average” looks is a woman who is not gori-chitti, ‘fair and lovely’.

When Cyrus decides to pop the question to April, his ex-girlfriend makes this remark that is clearly intended to be kind, not patronising: “Mujhe to bahut ladkon ne propose kiya hai but I’m sure yeh iska pehla proposal hai. So make it memorable, ok?” I assume this ex fits the director’s idea of beauty: she’s got milky white skin.
Cyrus, Cinderella's online Prince
As for why I found the film literal: ah well, Cyrus and Ankita’s chatroom IDs are actually Cinderella and Prince … I suppose in a bid to guarantee that the stupid audience got the point? She attends a college party in a gown that her friend fits her out in, has to be home by midnight because stepmama said so and therefore leaves the party in a rush leaving behind … c’monnnn … guesssss … a glass slipper of course! Aur uss jawaab ke saath aap jeet gaye hai Kaun Banega Crorepati!!!
All right all right, that’s just me creating a diversion since there was nothing to enjoy in this film. is marked by average acting, poor production values, immature writing and the amateurish look of a particularly poorly put-together college play. Ankita Srivastava seemed like an exception in that very unmemorable crowd, which prompted me to google her. My instincts were proved right – if, unlike me, you follow Hindi TV serials closely, then you will recognize her from the Zee TV show Do Saheliyaan: Kismat ki Kathputaliyaan and a couple of other soaps.
Incidentally, the fairy godmother figure in April’s life is her childhood friend Raj who goes to the same college party dressed as The Mask and hooks Cyrus’ ex. She later snubs him when she sees him sans the green paint on his face. I don’t blame her of course. I found him quite irritating too. I’m sure there’s a deep, gender-role-reversal-in-the-classic-Cinderella-story angle being played out here, but frankly I don’t care.
So why did I say at the start that I’m glad I spent that effort and money on Because I now get to warn you that it’s a film purporting to send out a ‘good message’ that is actually quite regressive instead. And who knows, Ankita Srivastava may make it in films.  
I must concede that does, after all, have one entertaining aspect: the song playing along with the end credits. It goes, “Black Cinderella, chura le mera dil / Black Cinderella, kahin na kahin mil.” I’ve written better rhymes in kindergarten. But it was certainly worth the price of one ticket.
Paisa vasool for the second ticket came from the tagline on the film poster. Love Makes Time Pass … Time Makes Love Pass. I have no clue what that means, but yeh critic khush hui!
Rating (out of five): 0 stars


  1. Its a poor, rather lame not even adaptation, but replica of the hollywood movie, a cinderella story starring hilary duff and chad micheal murray which released atleast a decade ago(2004). Why can't Indian directors/writers use their own brains!!!

  2. Thank you for your comment Hena. I agree with you, but is so tacky that I felt I'd be dignifying the film by comparing it to any existing film. Not that A Cinderella Story is the best of films to bother to remake in the first place. I remember watching it ages back and finding it mildly entertaining. Of course I was 7 years younger then than I am now so maybe that explains it. :) But when I saw I revisited reviews of ACS and other Cindy stories. Please look up the critique of ACS by American critic Roger Ebert who I respect and admire. Now imagine remaking that same film with sets and make-up that look like they're straight out of a college store-room. That's for you - it doesn't even have Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray as compensation! Anna

  3. jesus lady, you seriously need an award for taking the biggest risk of Indian cinema, i.e, to watch all the bollywood films in one year ( which I am sure even the film makers won't do!!! ). In this day and age where school kids are performing all sorts of acts and putting up on youtube , why would anyone invest in a cinderella tale ? kudos to you anyway for actually going to watch all these films!! Srikanth

  4. Not that Iv seen this film, but your review and following comment totally sums it up as "Tacky".
    Just curious to know does hollywood ever get inspired by Bollywood to remake,adapt, or is this just an Indian phenomenon?