Release Date: May 11th, 2007 (Regal E-Walk 13, The Imaginasian and Landmark Sunshine Cinemas) by Eros International.
The Cast: Aishwarya Rai, Miranda Richardson, Naveen Andrews, Ray Panthaki, Nadita Das, Robbie Coltrane, Rebecca Pidgeon.
Directed by Jag Mundhra.
BASIC PREMISE: Kiranjit (Rai) tries to appeal her life sentence in prison for murdering her abusive husband, Deepak (Andrews).
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Although based on a true story, Provoked has a contrived plot with very few truly absorbing scenes. The beautiful Aishwarya Rai (also known as “Ash” by her fans) gives a strong performance as Kiranjit, a Punjabi wife living in the UK who burns her husband to death in the opening scene. After a brief trial that convicts her of the crime without the possibility of pleading self defense or insanity, she goes to prison for life. That’s where she meets a cellmate (Richardson) who also murdered her husband and happens to know a good lawyer who could get a re-trial. Too much of the second act includes flashbacks of Deepak physically abusing Kiranjit, which makes it obvious that she was very much provoked to kill him, so there’s no mystery here. Carl Austin and Rahila Gupta should have included more scenes showing Kiranjit trying to prove that she was provoked, i.e. with longer trials scenes. None of the prison scenes have the realistic look and feel of a prison where a criminal would actually be sentenced to after murdering their husband. The rest of the plot just feels dull, unsurprising and by-the-numbers. Moreover, director Jag Mundhra awkwardly transitions between past and present so that the events both time periods lose their momentum.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: No woman should tolerate being abused by their husband or boyfriend under any circumstances. In real-life Kiranjit’s courage and persistence helped to change the British laws to include murder by provocation even if the abuse didn’t occur immediately before the murder.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Often contrived and dull.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 4
IN A NUTSHELL: Despite a strong performance by Aishwarya Rai and an important message about domestic abuse, the plot often feels contrived with dull characters.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: DVD
The "P" Menu