Foreign Subject, Common Ground

Very rarely does a film come by which tackles real life issues and touches on the struggles that individuals face in the real world. In Foreign, not only do we see characters from our everyday life, we are drawn to them from the moment go

The film begins with the newly wed Radhika.(Puja Mohindra) Stunning, beautiful and naïve we see that she is waiting for the arrival of her husband Vikram, (Stephan Singh) who once appears, it is evident he is no gentleman. It is their nuptial night and unaware of what to expect, Radhika goes along with her husband’s demand that until they translate from sweet sexual advances to aggressive and tortured rape. In a state of shock Radhika recovers from the abuse and realises that she is covered with blood, (indicating the loss of her virginity) and goes to wash away her stains. In that moment, we flash back to her encounter with her elder sister (Ananya Khare) who reassures her younger sister, that she will be happy and treated well in her new married life

Months have passed and the situation is no better. To add to the abuse encountered by her husband, her mother in law, Kanta (played perfectly well by Shruti Tewari) taunts and verbally degrades her new daughter in law, attending more to the house dog than she does to the newly wed.

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An unexplained onset of symptoms such as bruising, vomiting and diarrhoea lead her to the family doctor, Ajay (Rahul Nath), who respectful and caring, makes Radhika feel welcome and shows her respect. Feeling a connection with Ajay, Radhika confides in him on how she is being treated. He assures her that everything will be okay and that she has him to talk to anytime. A mention of the symptoms she has, prompts Ajay to take some tests and invite Radhika back for the results and a lunch date, a few days later

On the day of the lunch date, Radhika arrives to see Ajay is emotionally destroyed extremely anxious, and questions Radhika about her promiscuity. Offended by what he has asked, she argues with him until he reveals in anger that she is HIV Positive

Foreign is a film that will touch all nerves in all places. There is a general saying “Don’t’ even go there!†and in Foreign you do go there!

There are many factors that make Foreign a sure festival king winner

The films striking quality is the cinematography, which has been done to a crisp and engaging, look. The different angles and use of different shades, somehow transcends the characters feelings, more so than has been seen in any other movie of this genre. Watch for the part where Radhika discovers her sudden onset of symptoms.

The background score is so intense, that the story carries forward naturally even when no dialogue is delivered. It is especially potent at the start of the movie, namely leading up to the rape scene. We know that something bad is about to happen, and with the score, the hairs on your neck will be raised

Needless to say that Shruti Tewari, who had a blink and miss role in Love aaj Kal, will surely make up for the loss we felt for her in previous movie. She is perfect as Kanta, being a bitch in the right places and then the typical materialistic woman of today. She has some of the best dialogue and matches it with her attention to detail of her character. Every time she enters a scene, we cannot help but want more and more of the bitch she plays

Ananya Khare on the other hand proves that she can do more than just play the bitch. After her notice as the negative Kumud in Devdas, we now see in her in an elegant and more positive light as Geeta. Though her dialogue is in Hindi, (subtitled in the movie) the facial expressions and love she offers makes you realise how much women have to sacrifice in a married life. The added layers of her cheekiness and playfulness, makes us nothing but love Geeta and she is great in the way she teases Radhika in their scene together

Stephan Singh makes a great initial impact and sustains it, throughout the whole movie

It would be hard not to offer anything but praise for the other two leads of the movie: Puja Mohindra and Rahul Nath, who are both expected to sweep awards for their acting at upcoming film festivals

Puja Mohindra looks stunning, deglamourised and beautiful throughout different stages of the movie. Hard to imagine, but that is exactly what she does. She carries the movie from the moment go and we are locked into her trauma that she entails and feel sympathy for her throughout. Her transformation from beginning to end is nothing but that of a great actress in the making. Even in parts of the movie where she has no given lines, somehow this actress seems to say a lot through her body language.

Rahul Nath proves drama is key and shows off his acting gifts in his delivery. He is amazing in his breakdown scene with Mohindra and as an audience member makes you panic and fear what is coming next. All eyes are on him when he confronts Vikram and it is great to see an actor offer all his talent in a performance. The portrayal of a guy stuck by tradition, becomes more evident, scene by scene and this is truly another feather in his cap. Not only does he show that drama is his forte, he also surprises with his direction

Starring and directing in the same movie is one trick not everyone can do. Thanks to Foreign, Rahul Nath, proves it can be done and done very well

The direction is fast paced and offers many twists and turns that you will not see coming. A clever tactic that Nath has used, is that he has mislead the audience, that even at the end you are expecting another twist. Performances wise he has pulled out the best of the best from all the cast, including the supporting roles, who manage to convey their messages. What engages you about Foreign, is the complexity of the situations and the characters. On paper that can sound a mess, but in Foreign the direction makes it clear cut and obvious

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