Akhilesh Jaiswal’s Starfish, an adaptation of Bina Nayak’s acclaimed novel Starfish Pickle, attempts to explore the depths of human emotions but unfortunately, the cinematic voyage encounters turbulent waters due to a choppy narrative, impulsive editing, and a screenplay that feels lethargic at best. (Also Read: Farrey review: Alizeh Agnihotri’s debut is an exam hall heist that scores a distinction)
From the directorial helm of Jaiswal, the film kicks off with a promising narrative dive, introducing us to Tara, played by Khushalii Kumar, a diver ensnared in the undertow of her own past. However, what begins as a compelling exploration becomes plagued by a choppiness that disrupts the flow. The initial chapters offer a glimpse into Tara’s world, only to be interrupted by impulsive edits that hinder the audience’s immersion into the storyline.
The film, akin to a diver forgetting the rhythm of their strokes, encounters a momentary dip in engagement, disrupting the overall viewing experience. While the narrative attempts to regain momentum during pre-interval portions, the effort feels like a struggle against a cinematic tide that refuses to be tamed.
Jim Edgar’s cinematography, though a saving grace, becomes a victim of the film’s impulsive editing. His stunning visuals, capturing underwater scenes with exquisite artistry, are at times overshadowed by abrupt transitions and a disjointed narrative. The underwater sequences, which could have been the film’s highlight, lose their impact.
Set against the enchanting backdrop of Malta, the film’s exploration of Tara’s life as a diver and her struggle with PTSD is hindered by a screenplay that seems to meander lazily through the thematic depths. The conflicts between moving on and confronting past wounds, which could have been powerful elements, feel diluted and fail to leave a lasting impact.
The relationships Tara forms, first with Aman (Tushar Khanna) and later with Neel (Ehan Bhat), suffer from a lazy screenplay, offering predictable arcs that fail to evoke the intended emotional response. Milind Soman’s entry as Algo, while attempting to introduce mystery, becomes entangled in the film’s overall lack of direction.
Despite Khushalii Kumar’s commendable performance, the film struggles to rise above the challenges posed by its choppy narrative, impulsive editing choices, and a screenplay that feels like a missed opportunity. The cinematic voyage, instead of smoothly sailing through emotional depths, becomes a bumpy ride that leaves the audience grappling with the film’s untamed currents.
In conclusion, Starfish falters in its attempt to deliver a compelling exploration of human emotions, primarily due to its choppy narrative, impulsive editing, and a screenplay that lacks the finesse needed to navigate the thematic complexities. While Jim Edgar’s cinematography remains a highlight, it becomes a victim of the film’s overall lack of cohesion. For audiences seeking a seamless and immersive cinematic experience, Starfish may feel like trying to find direction in a sea of cinematic confusion.