1971: India is on the brink of war with Pakistan, but the timid Parsi bank clerk Gustad Noble (Seth) has his own problems. Forced to live in an unhygienic Bombay apartment, he's tortured by a rebellious son and the mysterious disappearance of his friend Jimmy. When Jimmy gets in touch, however, things only get worse. Adapted by Sooni Taraporevala (Salaam Bombay! ) from the novel by Rohinton Mistry, the film takes some time to loosen up and shed its hobnail boots. Seth is astonishing. Those bags under his eyes suggest Gustad is a man who does all his dreaming in the daytime, forever retreating into a gilded past. Also excellent is Shah as the doomed Jimmy, who morphs from a political spider into a fly. Visually, the film becomes curious, then curiouser. The first hint comes with Gustad's dreams, which swish along to overwrought music. Gradually, Canadian director Gunnarsson allows a surreal sense of urgency to seep into the present, creating sights for our sore eyes that are both woozy and crazily colourful, both magical and real. As journeys go, this one's entirely confounding.