Rajeev Masand

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Weak brew


Coffee Bloom

Rating: 2

March 06, 2014

Cast: Arjun Mathur, Sugandha Garg, Mohan Kapur, Nandini Sen, Ishwari Bose-Bhattacharya

Director: Manu Warrier

It’s not often that a man gets closure in his life and in relationships through coffee, but Dev Anand Cariappa, the tortured protagonist of Coffee Bloom somehow manages this feat. Directed by debutante Manu Warrier, the film is set in the plantations of Coorg, as Dev approaches his ancestral home to bury his mother’s ashes.

It’s difficult to get involved with a drifting, angsty loser, and Dev (played convincingly by Arjun Mathur) is hung up on several issues – a failed love affair with lingering bitterness, his inability to hold a job, and his rash decision to sell off his mother’s beloved coffee plantation. Ironically, the estate is now owned by his ex-girlfriend Anika (a nicely understated Sugandha Garg) and her annoyingly cheery husband Srinivas Panicker (Mohan Kapur, loud and energetic). The past comes alive when the ex-lovers meet again. Meanwhile everyone holds their breath for the delicate coffee shrubs to bloom so they can all get on with their lives.

Warrier sets up an interesting premise, but cripples it with a deathly slow pace. Coffee Bloom has a silly turning point involving a marauding elephant and a gunshot that make way for a farcical, half-baked investigation. The emotional outbursts between Dev and Anika, and their touching final scene, fare better in holding your interest.

Unfolding against eye-watering landscapes of Coorg, the film nicely conveys a sense of life and simmering feelings in a sleepy corner of India. There’s also a sloppily written character of a Bengali prostitute, who speaks in broken English. The typical hooker with a heart of gold; she provides the film with some comic relief in the heavy-duty emotional scenes.

With tighter editing and writing, Coffee Bloom had the ingredients of a good drama. I’m going with two out of five. It is sadly a weak brew; adequate, but nothing to write home about.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

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