Rajinder Singh Cheema
Videsh - Heaven on Earth is a beautiful film directed by a renowned director Deepa Mehta. The film has a beautiful concept and a very nice story. The film is a mixture of spousal abuse, submissive daughter-in-law, violent husband, cruel in-laws, packaged with mythological elements.
From a small town in Punjab, the happy-go-lucky girl Chand (Preity), strangely enough, is sent all alone to Canada, to marry Rocky (Vansh) whom she has never met. There her husband Rocky and his very traditional family await her arrival. Everything is new to Chand everything is unfamiliar including the quiet and shy Rocky who she meets for the first time at the Arrivals level of Pearson Airport. The jobless mamma's boy & Chand's husband Rocky (Vansh Bharadwaj) is highly frustrated person who has no sexual interest in his wife or rather no human feelings at all, except anger, which erupts in physical violence.
Chand approaches her new life and her new land with equanimity and grace, and at times the wide-eyed optimism of hope-her first snowfall is a tiny miracle of beauty, and the roar of Niagara Falls creates the excitement of new beginnings. Chand soon realizes life as a non-resident Indian is not all it's made out to be.
Disheartened Chand who brings along her mom's narrated poems and folktales seeks solace in reciting her mom's narrated myths of the holy snake 'Sheshnaag' (who is considered to take form of any individual). Rocky and his mom's insulting behaviour increases with Rocky often brutally beating Chand up. But then one night, her ''snake god'' from her backyard comes to life and enters her bedroom in the form of her husband Rocky.
Trapped in a world she cannot comprehend and unable to please her husband, Chand is desperate. Hope comes in the form of Rosa (Yanna McIntosh), a tough and savvy Jamaican woman who works alongside Chand in a factory where immigrant women from all over the world clean and press dirty hotel laundry. Rosa sees past the make-up that covers Chand's bruised face. Realizing Chand has nowhere to turn, Rosa gives her a magical root advising her "to put it in whatever the bastard drinks." The root is supposed to seduce the one who takes it, making them fall hopelessly in love with the person who gives it to them. Chand's attempts with the magic root lead to surreal incidents and her life gradually begins to mirror an Indian fable involving a King Cobra. As the lines between fantasy and reality converge, Chand and Rocky come face to face with each other and themselves.
The basic plot is interesting but Deepa Mehta has made a complete mess of it. The snail-paced movie has mystifying black and white portions. Too many close shots also don't work in film's favour, at times it irks you.
Performance wise, Priety Zinta steals the show. She has done a fabulous job in this film. Her expression and emoptions are top notch. She has played her character magnificiently. Hats off to Priety for this film. Rest of the cast is fine.
On the whole, Videsh is a fair work by Deepa Mehta. Having seen her previous thought-provoking films like Fire, Earth & Water this film falls dreary or a little dull. But overall this is a fair film.