It's about a movie and I watched it.
But there's nothing you're going to take away from this movie - whatever you think you took away, you brought it with you when you walked into the theatre.
Just a like a mirror holds no content, the movie too is fairly bereft of a consistent plotline (albeit what's borrowed from Quitters, Inc), but merely reflections of reality appearing and disappearing from a multitude of mirrors.
The camerawork and the general feel of the movie is pretty interesting, (albeit the cabaret song) for a bollywood production, but beyond that the movie has nothing to offer but completely unconnected sequences of plot.
But it is our nature to see patterns where are none, built out of our own biases in perception, in a nonpareil effect. The attempts to make sense out of the confused jumble of thoughts presented results in interesting results indeed.
To make things a lot more blurred than they are right now, let me first touch upon my thoughts - and remember that these are my personal thoughts and not the director's. The movie is about consequences of our actions, as we move through life - the ripples adding up to a tidal wave in the ocean that is life.
The movie starts with the standard caricature of a wannabe rebel yuppie (and smoking is his rebellion) with his socialite wife and their marital issues. Starting from a clear-cut real world scenario, the movie diverges further and further into down-the-rabbit-hole land (even literally) without any perceptible movement out of reality.
Then the social contract is presented and there is no escape. And society steers people with consequences - but here the hidden, mild consequences are merely exaggerated. The basic "How much could one more hurt?" excuse of the habit has been tackled and short-circuited by providing rather harsh penalties indeed. To see someone pass out in a gas chamber full of second-hand smoke is somehow more real than the same happening over a couple of years of constant exposure - somehow the quality of effect alters rather than merely the quantity. And then there's the underline of the paranoia put down by erosion of privacy due to constant surveillance.
To me, the antagonist of the whole sequence is the protagonist himself - not the Baba Bengali or the reality altering effects he seems to have. The struggle between good and evil has been very conveniently left out of the entire script - undergoing a metamorphosis into a mere squabble between your needs and wants. To face himself after realizing the consequences his acts have, learning the lessons from the rough teacher experience is, to be offered the choice again in the end - real life is not so kind (and this was being cruel to be kind).
The basic mode of coercion of an individual to be a building block of a society with rewards and consequences comes out of the seemingly random treatment of the character(s) and the plotline...
The jigsaw puzzle that the movie is perhaps unappealing to a critic who expects a coherent movie. But what you enjoy out of the movie is synthesising the story out of the jigsaw peices you are handed, not analyzing the plot-holes in depth - and that takes effort. The Hindustan times review of the movie was acidly critical and downright mean (and the director failed to show any maturity with a completely Ad Hominem response).
Perhaps you'll find another reviewer talk about this movie as one of individuality or about smoking as peer-induced (Abbas), yet another talking about the religious slants on the concept of the soul & its journey independent from the body's journey (to quote "Athma hai tho shareer ishwar hai, athma nahin hai tho nashwar hai"). And then there'd be the ones who carry an open mind into the movie and carry it rather empty out of it - walk in with your preconceptions & prejudices and you'll find that there's a movie playing.
In short, if you're hoping to be entertained, don't show up till the Bipasha Basu dance sequence :)--
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
But you are eternity and you are the mirror.
-- Kahlil Gibran