Royal Affairs

The princess of hearts was also a darling of the press,and it was not for posing with disabled children in Angola alone.

Written by Shalini Langer | Published:October 5, 2013 2:23 am

Movie: DIANA

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel

Cast: Naomi Watts,Naveen Andrews,Douglas Hodge

**

The Windsors have not been known to be particularly poetic in love. At the least,though,they have been known to be pretty colourful. Not Diana. “Love is a flower. If you can’t smell it,don’t come into the garden of love,” is the Rumi quote Dr Hasnat Khan whispers into Diana’s ears after their first romp on the carpet.

And mighty impressed she is. For Diana paints the Princess of Wales as a saintly,giggly do-gooder desperately seeking love — betrayed by her own family,the family she married into,and the good Pakistani doctor that she apparently lost her heart firmly and finally to.

However,it’s not passion alone that turns Andrews and Watts into two stilted conversationists. Perhaps it started out as an attempt to show a naturally stiff relationship between two people from very different worlds,but many long minutes into it,the doctor is telling her he gets through long surgeries as,after a point,“it is not you performing the operation but the operation performing you”. “I love that,” she replies.

A very gifted actress,Watts has obviously poured her heart into the role,down to getting the gaze and the posture right. She wears her clothes well and she is also hard to look away from when she enters the screen. But there is also just too much of her on the screen,to the exclusion of the entire royal class that she constantly belittles and,but for one scene,her two sons that she obviously misses.

Rather Diana is built as this slow falling-in-love between the Pakistani and the princess,with the former striking a sour note in comparison. Andrews does surprisingly well in the passionate outbursts that he is allowed,but those are very few and whiny on account of repetition.

Focused on the last two years of Diana’s life,the film reduces the Dodi Fayed episode to a post-script,as nothing but a bid by Diana to make Khan jealous. The problem is this Diana,fully aware of her power over people and how to use it,is not evident at all in this Diana.

The princess of hearts was also a darling of the press,and it was not for posing with disabled children in Angola alone.

shalini.langer@expressindia.com

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