Everybody Says I'm Fine

on September 12, 2001 by Chris Wiegand
   An uneven oddity from Rahul Bose, one of Kaizad Gustad's “Bombay Boys” who was recently seen in “Split Wide Open,” this comedy fantasy uses a similar gimmick to “What Women Want” with rather less successful results. Xen (RADA graduate Rehaan Engineer) is a handsome Bombay hairdresser with a hidden talent: He can hear the innermost thoughts of his clients when he touches their hair. Grown accustomed to the peculiar gift he has held since a childhood accident, he is intrigued when he finds himself unable to read the mind of the beautiful Nakita (Koel Purie), one of his female customers. Is Nakita simply a vacuous airhead or is something more mysterious going on?

   Writer-director Rahul Bose--who also appears as the extroverted yet disillusioned actor Rage--has fun with his witty concept for the first part of his film, as the sensitive Xen hears the first pangs of teenage crushes and plenty of other intimate information during his days at work. Bhose also manages to charismatically convey the culture of the hairdressing salon, with its polite small talk, occasional snobbery and idle flirtations. At times, “Everybody Says I'm Fine” plays like a Bombay soap opera, dipping in and out of the lives of the customers, and a subplot about a woman who has separated from her husband and has fallen from grace, yet struggles to continue to keep up appearances at the salon, is particularly well handled.

   However, the film simply tries to cover too much ground and quickly loses its way as Xen becomes further involved with Nakita and Bhose steers the plot toward darker subject matter and an eventual murder. For the most part, the film is oddly reminiscent of Fina Torres's magical “Woman On Top” and it could have perhaps achieved a similar success had the director concentrated on the breezy, comic tone of its opening and trimmed the thriller elements.    Starring Rehaan Engineer, Koel Purie, Pooja Bhatt and Anahita Uberoi. Directed and written by Rahul Bose. Produced by Viveck Vaswani. No distributor set. Drama. English-language, with some Hindi. Not yet rated. Running time: 103 min.

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