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Director: Jag Mundhra
Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Naveen Andrews and Miranda Richardson
RunTime: 113 mins
Genre: Drama
Rating: TBA

Aishwaraya Rai – Bollywood superstar, Ms World 1994, Mrs Abhishek Bachchan, and now a mother who torches her husband alive? Hell has no fury like a woman provoked.

The question is: Can beauty queens act? (I mean, other than dumb) While her acting career has less hits than misses (remember Mistress of Spices?), her role as an abused wife has received a fair share of both compliments and criticisms. Based on a true story, she plays Kiranjit Ahluwalia who is sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder. On the other hand, female rightists are determined to win her freedom from the eyes of laws.

To be fair, Aishwaraya Rai does evoke some emotions when her big coloured beautiful eyes tear with desolation. But the makeup unit needs to convince us she is heavily abused. No manner how hard she cries, she still looks gorgeous. We know how hard it is for you to look ugly, but we need to symphatise. Remove the colourful saris, don't be an tai tai, and play the actual factory worker Kiranjit really was.

Provoked may remind many of Water which also discussed about female rights. However, the former lacks clear direction, technical expertise (strange camera works and audio pickup) and well-developed characters. The rest of the cast from the alcoholic husband to the cold-hearted mother-in-law are just one-dimensional. Scold her. Beat her. Don't pretend to.

Towards the end, the potentially strong story drowns into some melodrama with cheesy slow-mo flashbacks. That is more cringe than pain and violence.

Hardly provoking, the strong story and message on the Indian culture can still be enough to captivate its audience. For women who wants to feel better about themselves and Aishwarya fans.

Provoked - Strong story, weak melodrama

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