Mumbai, 21 Jan 2020 16:38 IST
Updated: 28 Jan 2020 19:47 IST
The film has lead actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui's stamp of brilliance all over it.
When a film is titled Roam Rome Mein, it suggests that someone will be roaming in the Italian capital. Then you have a poster in which Nawazuddin Siddiqui is seen roaming in Rome. Hence, you have more than one indication about the film being a travel story based in Rome.
Roam Rome Mein is about Raj (Siddiqui) who works in a private firm in Delhi and stays with his younger sister Reena (Tannishtha Chatterjee) and their parents. He is about to get married to his fiancée (Isha Talwar). Raj’s parents are eager to see him get married soon as he has turned 37 (though the English subtitle showed his age as 39).
Amid this, Reena goes missing and her family thinks she has gone to Agra. But Raj learns that she is in Rome. Worried for his sister, he sets out for Rome to look for her without taking his parents into confidence. His experience of searching for his sister and the struggles he goes through form the rest of the film.
While Siddiqui’s character roaming in Rome is very much what the film is about, this certainly isn’t a slice-of-life saga peppered with emotional as well as light-hearted moments. In fact, Roam Rome Mein is nothing that you might expect.
The initial narrative makes the patriarchal and misogynistic nature of Raj and his father clear. Raj doesn’t like Reena wearing certain types of clothes. He feels insecure when his fiancée decides to go for a training program with her male colleagues. Because of his financial situation, Raj’s father doesn’t let Reena get a proper education because, according to him, girls just have to marry one day. These are just some instances of the mindset of the father-son duo.
In an interview with Cinestaan, Chatterjee had said she wanted a male actor in her feminist film. Her choice of protagonist is bang on in the form of Nawazuddin Siddiqui. His act speaks of his brilliance yet again. The actor has a natural gift for adding an undercurrent of humour while mouthing serious dialogues, which is seen here regularly. On the other hand, Chatterjee herself proves yet again that she is a strong and reliable force as an actress.
When the aforementioned mysoginistic instances start arriving one after another, you are reminded of Chatterjee’s statement and start feeling that the film deals with women's empowerment.
The issue of feminism is certainly present in the film, but what literally stuns you is to realize that the film falls more in the mystery or psychological thriller zone. Chatterjee skilfully brings in the change of genre, if it can be called that, in such a gradual manner that you hardly realize the shift. The narrative also becomes questionable and confuses you at times, but you hope to find answers later on.
The technique of presentation and the rich variety in the background score plays a large part in keeping you hooked. There is one fast-paced tune that literally brings excitement.
In such intriguing thrillers, the crucial part, obviously, is to solve the mystery. This is where Roam Rome Mein is disappointing. After taking us through a series of mysterious and thrilling encounters, the film just ends abruptly and leaves quite a few questions unanswered. You find it difficult to believe that the film has ended. Hence, the positive points also don’t shine that much now.
It is obvious that the filmmaker has purposely kept an open ending for the audience to solve the mystery for themselves. There is nothing wrong with that approach, but even open endings need to have some sort of a conclusion, which isn’t seen here. The film just leaves too much for the audience to guess.
This ensures that Roam Rome Mein turns out to be more of an impressive technical ride than a convincing thriller.
Roam Rome Mein was screened at the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival on 22 October 2019 and again at the Rajasthan International Film Festival in Jaipur on 19 January 2020.
Related topicsMAMI Mumbai Film Festival Rajasthan International Film Festival
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