Film Review: Bollywood Venetian escapade loses plot in the city of romance

The movie has a short 98-minute run time. (Image supplied)
Updated 13 February 2019
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Film Review: Bollywood Venetian escapade loses plot in the city of romance

CHENNAI: Director Anand Surapur’s Bollywood film “The Fakir of Venice” has a great theme, a magical location and two fantastic actors in Farhan Akhtar and Annu Kapoor.
Yet the movie’s short 98-minute run time feels stretched, mainly due to the script’s poor development of the main characters.
Based on a true story, the film premiered at the Venice Film Festival back in 2009 but, strangely, only hit the theatrical circuit last week. Sadly, Surapur’s work has not aged well.
Set in one of the most romantic cities in the world, Adi Contractor (Akhtar) and Sattar (Kapoor) arrive in Venice as tourists of sorts, but with the motive of making quick money.
Akhtar, playing his debut role, is perfectly cast as an Anglo-Indian trickster and movie production fixer, who gets the chance of a lifetime when a Venetian gallery commissions him to find an Indian fakir (religious ascetic who lives on alms) to pep up its installation art exhibition.
After a fruitless search for a holy man, Adi finds one, but a fake, in his own backyard in Mumbai. He is Sattar, who has spent most of his poverty-stricken life scratching a living by entertaining passersby by burying himself in sand.
Adi drags Sattar to Venice, where the man is touted as a sage with divine powers. However, Adi’s deception starts to unravel when Sattar becomes unwilling to cooperate with the con trick and turns to drink.
To pull off their plan, the two men must learn to shed layers of deceit and move toward understanding themselves, and each other.
The story has a message that cannot be ignored, but there is still a tendency to view it as mere exotica.
The film is poorly shot, despite the dream location, and with Rajesh Devraj’s shoddy screenplay reducing the lead parts to caricatures, the narrative gets lost in the multitude of waterways and alleys of Venice.
It is quite possible that Akhtar and Kapoor would now be embarrassed to admit they were once part of this Venetian escapade.


Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

Updated 16 February 2019
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Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

  • The discovery was made on the Mata Indio dig site in the northern Lambayeque region
  • Despite evidence of looting, archaeologists recovered items including vases

LIMA: Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.
The discovery was made on the Mata Indio dig site in the northern Lambayeque region, archaeologist Luis Chero told state news agency Andina.
Archaeologists believe the tomb belonged to a noble Inca based on the presence of “spondylus,” a type of sea shell always present in the graves of important figures from the Incan period, which lasted from the 12th to the 16th centuries.
The tomb had been broken into multiple times, possibly in search of treasure. But despite evidence of looting, archaeologists recovered items including vases.
The tomb also had unique architecture including hollows for the placement of idols.
Chero said the findings “demonstrate the majesty and importance of this site,” located 1,000 kilometers north of the capital Lima, and 2,000 kilometers from Cusco — capital of the Inca empire which stretched from southern Colombia to central Chile.