Rivaaz: Traditional fare without much spice

Rivaaz features a story that has tremendous potential, and it is the star cast of this film that really ends up catching the eye. With a constellation of stars including Deepti Naval, Vijay Raaz, Upendra Limaye, Yashpal Sharma, Rajendra Gupta, Sayaji Shinde and Alok Nath, you would duly expect this film to deliver on its initial promise. So, to sum up; the story is promising and fresh and the star cast is an excellent one to boot. What could possibly go wrong?

Remarkably enough, some of the acting is. The motley crew that make this film what it is fail to portray their characters faithfully. The film takes a stark look at the act of selling women into prostitution, and it is a shame to see such lackluster performances from so gifted an assembly of stars. For instance, the story of one family centers on a father [Rajendra Gupta], mother [Deepti Naval] and their daughter Bela [Ritisha Vijayvargiya]. Ritisha makes the grave mistake of falling in love with Rahul [Manoj Biddvai] and ends up incurring the wrath of not just her father, but that of the entire village. The reason for this is that the entire village actively encourages prostitution.

Now this alone forms the backbone of a premise that is traumatic enough by itself. But how do you expect such trauma to be felt by the audience when the actors cannot portray that pain accurately enough? The jinxed lovers fail to strike an emotional chord but even in the midst of the equanimity that the film portrays, Deepti Naval, Alok Nath and Vijay Raaz breathe some life into their respective roles. There is, of course, the obligatory twist in the tale that sees the women throw off the shackles of subjugation that they have been subjected to for centuries, but it is perhaps too little too late. Rivaaz is a run of the mill story that could have been so much more.

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