“Bas Ek Pal”
Bas Ek Pal is the story of urban relationships. It is a tale of friends drifting apart, of love that is left unrequited, of youth spent behind bars, and of a startling revelation that sometimes people close to you can deceive you with such cunning that you wouldn’t even suspect.
Two years after his critically acclaimed film My Brother Nikhil , director Onir takes a fresh subject in his latest film. Once again, Sanjay Suri is the lead player and even his name in the movie is Nikhil. Jimmy Shergill plays his friend. Urmila Matondkar plays an attractive woman who becomes the bone of contention between the two friends. Juhi Chawla plays a married woman who has to put up with her alcoholic husband, enacted by Rehan Engineer.
Sometimes just a single moment can change many people’s lives forever. A single act of impulse carried rashly can make one repent for years. This is how “Bas Ek Pal” takes off in the first half.
Nikhil (Suri) is a US-returned MBA graduate. After coming back to India he revives his friendship with old pal Rahul (Jimmy Shergill). In the very opening reels of the film, Nikhil bumps into an anonymous girl (Urmila Matondkar) at a disco pub in Mumbai. The girl helps him get an entry into the pub, and in doing so she makes a way into Nikhil’s heart.
But Nikhil doesn’t get to know her name. She maintains her distance. He decides to pursue her.
One day when Nikhil goes to the pub with Rahul and his friend Steve (Rehan Engineer), he spots the same girl with a group of friends.
On approaching her, Nikhil gets friendly with her. The girl is Anamika, an architect and she already has a boyfriend for whom she doesn’t feel very romantic. As Nikhil begins to get along well with Anamika, her boyfriend intervenes. A heated argument follows, rude words are exchanged and guns are drawn. In the ensuing scuffle, Nikhil�s gun goes off and the bullet hits his friend Rahul.
While Nikhil goes behind bars, Rahul is incapacitated to a wheel chair. Facing the harsh realities of prison life (putting up with homosexuals, being locked in solitary confinement), Nikhil tries to plead his innocence. But not even his friend Rahul comes to his rescue.
After three years in jail, a social worker named Ira (Juhi Chawla) manages to get Nikhil out. She gets him a job at an old people’s home.
But Nikhil has many questions unanswered. He wants to know what happened of Anamika. He wants to meet his old friend Rahul and say sorry to him. But what Nikhil discovers shocks him.
And this is not all. Ira has a secret that will take the ground from under Nikhil’s feet.
“Bas Ek Pal” takes time to grow on you. The film begins on a very casual note and takes a steep turn with the shooting incident in the pub. Thereafter, the story takes a different course, showing Nikhil’s plight in the prison. Things gather momentum after Nikhil comes out and finds the woman he so much loved going around with his friend. A jealous and loveless Nikhil tries to win back her love in the ways that only scare her more and more. And just when Nikhil almost resigns to his fate, comes a jolt out of the blue when Ira brings to light some of the secrets that had remained hidden from Nikhil.
The film shows the transition of a man from a happy-go-lucky guy to someone who is hardened by shocking realities of life. Sanjay Suri gives yet another praiseworthy performance. In the initial reels he is the typical charming boy. And in the second half, he oscillates from being menacing (when with Urmila or Jimmy) to repentant (when alone) and resigned (when with Juhi).
Urmila embodies a fine blend of beauty and talent. She is particularly good in the second half when she is stalked by Nikhil and suspected by her boyfriend Rahul.
Jimmy Shergill too cuts a notable, underplayed performance. Rehan Engineer manages to evoke revulsion with his convincing portrayal of an alcoholic. Juhi Chawla is a complete natural. It hardly seems that she is acting.
To sum it up, “Bas Ek Pal” makes for a leisurely watch. Its story is refreshing but it begins to drag in the second half. Its music is easy on the ears. The movie’s conclusion can take many people off guard.