Charles Dickens’s ‘Great Expectations’ gets the Bollywood treatment in this handsome adaptation of the classic Victorian novel. The plot is transposed to present day Kashmir, Delhi and London with the dubious addition of some tuneful songs. Working-class kid Noor (Aditya Roy Kapoor) works for the super rich Begum (Tabu), an eccentric opium-smoking bitter spinster. When he meets her adopted daughter Firdaus (Katrina Kaif), he is smitten. Begum sends Firdaus away to London. Years later, and with the help of a mysterious benefactor, Noor is now a successful artist in Delhi. He is reunited with Firdaus who is cold and distant towards him.
Director Abhishek Kapoor stays true to the complex plot and the novel’s themes of social alienation and moral redemption are especially resonant to Indian society today. Sadly, he is let down by his two attractive leads who fail to bring the depth required to these tortured souls. Often shirtless, lead man Kapoor is a vacant ‘Pip’. Kaif fares better but is unable to drop her trademark one-note lip-glossed expression. It is veteran actress Tabu in the Miss Haversham role who brings emotional complexity and dignity to the proceedings. Worth seeing but go with low expectations. Nice to see Time Out London featuring in a key scene, even if Poland is outrageously passed off as our capital!