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ASEES (Punjabi) - Wish just noble intentions could ensure a well-made film too. (Review by Bobby Sing)
23 Jun, 2018 | Movie Reviews / 2018 Releases

To begin with, there was a completely different, positive buzz among the viewers as well as the trade before the release of ASEES. And it was all because of its unconventional or out of the box trailer, having some emotionally moving visuals representing the loving bond between a mother and her grown up son. The promos certainly had some rare, likable vibes and the project was also eagerly awaited since it was the debut directorial venture of writer-actor Rana Ranbir, the renowned entertainer, serving Punjabi theater, TV and cinema since last two decades. So the stage was all set and the ground was already there for ASEES to win over the eager, receptive audience with its unique and novel content.
However, where the viewers were more than ready to praise an emotional family drama, the film was not any same delivering the expected content, being far away from the one portrayed in its impressive trailers. 
In fact, whatever striking visuals were there in its promotional trailer, they all appear in the film’s opening 30 minutes itself without making any highly emotional or desirable impact. For instance the son carrying her mother on his back and then they both covered with mud embracing each other, actually turn out to be fun loving moments between the two instead of any heart wrenching emotional ones. So the film honestly loses most of its impact right there due to the unexpectedly opposite portrayal painting a completely different picture.
Further, it isn’t able to gain any ground back in the next hour or so due to an entirely predictable and clichéd storyline missing the promised novel feature. After a while, even the mother-son focus of the film gets lost making way for other sub-plots in the script that again are not able to make any kind of impact due to the ‘lack of novelty’ factor. And then the film ends in a typically routine manner, clearing the misconceptions within the family (with the usual flashbacks), boldly replying the society and the betraying characters.
To be fair with the team, ASEES certainly has been made with a noble objective moving ahead of just comedies, romance, rivalry or religion, exploring some relevant social subjects in Punjabi cinema. The intention was no doubt great, thoughtful and appreciable. But somehow the vision was not to be found, missing the power and solid impact capable of transforming the viewers.
As I strongly felt Rana wanted to make a film about a grown up son (with limited thinking abilities) having a strong emotional connect with his mother. The character was more or less modeled on Anil Kapoor’s autistic role in EESHWAR (1989) which was in turn based on Kamal Hassan’s portrayal in SWATI MUTYAM (Telugu/1986). Instead of the wife, here the protagonist remains more attached to his mother and can do anything for her in a split of second, without giving any second thought. ASEES actually seems to be written around this very thought.
Unfortunately the humble intentions couldn’t get transformed into a great, meaningful film majorly due to its writing and execution on screen. The script unnecessary keeps trying to incorporate too many things into the storyline, taking the focus away from its major plot. And then the presentation entirely remains loud and theatrical throughout, missing the cinematic feel. At times the characters look like speaking in a too loud pitch (actually apt for a stage performance) even in a one to one conversation (like in the special cameo scene), which seriously affects even the sincere performances by Rana himself and Rupinder Ruppi playing the mother. The same also diminishes the impact of Kuljinder Sidhu, who otherwise has a strong screen presence and a powerful dialogue delivery playing the negative characters. On the other hand, both Neha Pawar and Pradeep Sran remain calm and likable in their short subtle acts.
Stating its biggest unexplored merit, ASEES has a great plot of a son legally asking for his mother in a property dispute (instead of the main property) and taking it in writing from his other brothers and sister. That was a winning stroke indeed, which sadly couldn’t be highlighted as impactfully as it should have been in the film. The potential plot gets messed up with several unimportant things in the narration that were not required. 
Besides cinema is an entirely different medium of expression than a loud, meaningful stage play to be honest. If truth be told, ASEES seems to be directed from a theatrical point of view, where the audience even get impressed by the character’s name repeatedly mentioned in the dialogue with a specific purpose. But that doesn’t work in cinema to be honest. For instance, tiringly long interactions between just two or three characters, names such as Ram Allah Singh or Singh Kaur (!!!!) and actors deliberately saying sacred Gurbani verses work perfectly in a stage play but not in a film, particularly in the present scary scenario of too restless audience. ASEES frankly suffers a lot due to this questionable 'stage feel'
The film’s soundtrack has some well-written and rendered songs bringing back the traditional sound. But they would have certainly made a much better impact, had the film done the same with its overall content. On the other hand, background score yet again remains the most neglected (and hurriedly recorded) feature of our present Punjabi films….as usual. 
Here I would also like to mention a strange flaw in the dubbing of one of its key sequence too, wherein a Gurbani phrase (tuk) is said twice in succession by two different actors (male and female) in continuing shots, with a notable difference of pronunciation of their last words. Wonder why nobody picked up the difference or why the editor didn’t point it out while joining the scenes together during the final edit?
In all, I would certainly like to praise the daring, off-beat attempt made by both the producer and director of ASEES with a noble aim of breaking the set pattern of Punjabi Cinema playing a big gamble. But I really wish the attempt was made with a much focused, polished and cinematic vision, staying on the core subject. 

Ratings : 2.5 / 5 (Including major additional points just for the brave, socially relevant effort made by the team.) 

Tags : ASEES (Punjabi) Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Punjabi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, Punjabi Meaningful films, Punjabi Off-beat films Reviews by Bobby Sing
23 Jun 2018 / Comment ( 0 )
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