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29 October 2014

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Director: Subhash Ghai
Vivek Oberoi, Isha Sharvani, Antonia Bernath.
2hrs 50mins
Film Information:
Contains moderate violence and mild language
21st Jan 2005 Tip Top Video Entertainment
pg cert camera
Kisna poster
Kisna poster
This film belongs to Antonia Bernath in this tale of passion without consummation.

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The turbulent times prior to India's independence forms the backdrop for Kisna.

The story revolves around the love of a deputy commissioner's daughter and the son of one of the locals who works for him.

Kisna (Vivek Oberoi) is a young boy who works in the stables. During his spare time, he writes poetry.

Luxmi (Isha Sharwani) is Kisna's friend. She has been in love with him since childhood.

Then there is Katherine (Antonia Bernath), the daughter of the British deputy commissioner. She is also fond of Kisna.

On the eve of Independence, Katherine returns to India but she becomes a threat to Luxmi who feels she might take Kisna away from her.

Feeling sorry for Luxmi, her grandfather decides to get her engaged to the guy.

But soon, tension rises when the locals revolt against the British. The British deputy commissioner is killed and now they are after Katherine's blood.

Abiding to her mother's wishes, Kisna shelters Katherine from the angry mob. She even suggests that he escorts her back to New Delhi for her safe passage to London.

So what follows next is a series of obstacles for this young couple during their journey to New Delhi.

This includes a prince who takes a fancy to Katherine and wants to make her his own. Then there is the enraged mob led by Kisna's own brother and the conflicts between the Hindus and the Muslims.

Amid the tensions, the director gives us some respite when Kisna and Katherine make a stop over at a friend's place.

There is also the elaborate mujra sequence (performed by actress Susmita Sen) whose standard is equivalent to the Dhola Re number in the film Devdas, but also conjuring up memories of Mughal-e-Azam.

Similar to Pardes and Taal, Subhash Ghai has made Kisna on a grand scale. The story is different from all other Bollywood movies currently being released. The film is visually stunning.

The character of Kisna is played very well by Vivek Oberois but it's our UK based actress, Antonia Bernath who hogs the limelight til the end.

A powerful actress, Antonia is not only beautiful, but her screen presence overpowers the rest of the actors until they become sideline caricatures. She has definitely carved a niche in Bollywood.

Isha Sharvani is a new find by Subhash Ghai. A professional classical dancer, Isha provides an excellent spectacle in between the principal narrative.

Kisna's only downside is the film's length. Certain scenes should have been shortened to add more depth to the movie.

Having said this, the film excels in the music department courtesy of A R Rehman and Ismail Darbar. Coupled with excellent choreography and camera movements, the dance sequences are well worth a watch.

Last but not the least, Kisna, acts as a farewell gesture to the late Amrish Puri. A good entertainer.

Reviewed by Manish Gajjar
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