Reading Time: 5 Minutes

– Anshul Jain (Zen)

As I had just one day before the results are announced to write a review for this PAF, I will be covering some of the aspects in brief.
Script and Direction
It is never easy to deliver a tight script on an issue / real life story which is known to everyone. I really feel that script was the best part of this PAF. It could bring out the story very well and in a manner which could hold the audience at every point. They were bound by the facts and had to maintain the seriousness of the issue. Hence I really appreciate the way they handled it given limited scope to play around with it.
As far as direction is concerned, there were many things I wasn’t happy about. The first scene showing military operation at Golden Temple could have been much better. It could have been directed in a much powerful manner. Towards the end of the scene I could see people dying without any bullets. (Was it a heart attack? :P) The effort to bring humour during the discussion of “Samosa” prices in Government canteen was futile and not required. There were certain parts where I felt that “Rajiv” was deviating from the character, primarily to bring some humour. The news reading scene just before “V. P Singh’s” press conference was too mundane.
The execution of the PAF was not up to the mark. There were so many evident errors. One needs to have a good presence of mind to cover up the mistakes and not make them obvious to the audience. Why do people have to run to fix up a prod when they know a scene is going on right in front? Why can’t they take some other route or wait for the scene to end? Why did one of the journalists come and place his chair during the scene when he had no dialogue in that particular shot? Why did the video guy have to experiment with the video (switching it on and off) on the screen? Can’t he have a look at the placard which he places in front of it to block?
However, I really liked the video showing the commando attack in Pakistan. The last 10 minutes were really outstanding with some brilliantly written script backed by a photo-story and powerful music.
Acting and Voice-over
Most of the screen time was shared between “V.P. Singh”’s & the two “Rajiv”s and they did a good job. However, at some points I felt that “V.P.Singh” actions were exaggerated and looked unreal. Body language of the commandos in the opening scene could have been better. Other actors were average or probably had too less screen time to showcase their extra-ordinary acting skills.
Voice-overs, on a general note, were good. Voice-over of “V.P.Singh” was really good. However at many places voice-overs and acting had a mismatch. I also noticed mistakes by the voice-over team at certain places. Overall, good effort by the acting and voice-over team but had some scope for improvement.
There were some big issues with the prod team in terms of usage. The bar was not even inaugurated. The big structures made to cover up the main stage in the first scene, had some brilliant FA work and detailing but then I don’t know why they were there. Also the two looked completely disjoint. I liked the gypsy and the tank used in the first scene. Also the 3-D golden temple was good. The main stage prod was good but it looked weak and a little untidy. The paintings / portraits on the first floor were not even in a line. The left side prod where the interview was going on was also average. The “door-darshan” board looked like a last minute thing. There were glitches with the Prod as well. The upper left wall fell down. The “Congress Mukhyalaya” became “Congress Mukhya”, though it made sense as it was Rajiv Gandhi’s room :P. However, the secret room to monitor commando’s attack was good and was fairly well executed.
This PAF had one of the best background scores that I have heard in PAFs. It supported the screenplay in an amazing way. A lot of credit for all the intense scenes, especially the climax, goes to the music team. It was hard to figure if the track played for the first two dances was live or recorded. Overall, a commendable show by the music team.
The dance team of this PAF had the best synchronization as opposed to any of the other PAFs this year. Samant and Ruturaj were too good in all dances. The first dance was good and was nicely executed. I liked the idea of central dancer’s costume being divided into red and black. The dance sequence which was fused with the screenplay showing how Rajiv starts taking up responsibilities was impressive as a dance but I feel they should have put in some more effort in the choreography to make it relevant. Just an idea, they could have kept the central dancer in plain shirt and pant initially. Then as the screenplay progresses, they could have added a waist coat, a tie etc. so as to depict the build-up of Rajiv’s personality.  This might be a very small thing but could have made this dance much more relevant. Both these dances when looked at individually had some great choreography and sync but they really could not gel themselves with the script. The next sequence in black clothes was average. The last sequence was very good. The execution of dance with lights on the palm was great. The sketch created towards the end was amazing as well. Overall, impressive dances but choreography for some of the dances could have been better.
Lights were poorly handled. Handling of Moon was also bad and there were many obvious mistakes. The last scene, where Moon was needed the most, it came pretty late. Also, if the team could see that there is some issue with the Moon, why couldn’t the quadrangle lights come in for rescue?
The costumes were appropriate for the dram part. Costumes for dances were good especially for the second sequence (waist coat and tie).
Overall, I was very impressed with the way things were shown in this PAF. Script and music were almost successful in saving the PAF from all the execution putches that were occurring in almost all departments like lights, video, prod etc. The PAF had a good overall impact on the audience especially because of the tight script in the second half. Cheers to the team.
Now the question is again on how a PAF will be rated for an overall standing. Will the overall impact overshadow all the individual departments of PAF? Or will the judges look at how the PAF has fared in different aspects. Not much time has left before we get to know all the answers. But in any case, PAF 2012 was a huge success. Cheers to each and every one for a fantastic season this year. I am sure everyone thoroughly enjoyed all the performances and we really appreciate the hard work behind everything, small or big, put up in all the PAFs. Keep up the enthusiasm and all those who suggested that PAFs should be reduced to 3 – THINK AGAIN!!
Anshul Jain (Zen)
Script: 9 / 10
Direction: 8.5 / 10
Acting: 8.5 / 10
Voice-over: 8.5 / 10
Prod: 8 / 10
Music: 9 / 10
Choreography: 8.5 / 10
Lights: 7.5 / 10
Costumes: 8 / 10
Overall: 8.25 / 10

This year it is gonna be real close and too hard for the judges. May the best team win.
Best of luck to everyone !!