Watching this recent film starring GOAT's favorite actress, Shabana Azmi, one gets the impression that she took the role as a favor to a friend. She completely elevates the movie, which would hardly have been noteworthy without her.
Shabana plays Swarnlatha, a carnatic (a South Indian classical style) singer who, on the way to her first public concert, is in a bus accident and loses her son and her best friend. She withdraws in her grief, and never sings or even leaves her village again. Twenty years later, Swarnlatha's friend's son Abhinay (Prakash Rao), who has grown up to be a popular musician with grandiose dreams of reinventing Indian music, re-discovers her and convinces her to sing again. Joining their band is Pinkie (Perizaad Zorabian), a young woman whose life turns out also to be intimately connected with the accident that changed both Swarnlatha and Abhinay's lives so many years before.
Morning Raga's story had some potential, but the film simply wasn't well-executed and consequently didn't live up to its promise. The script and the acting were amateurish and clunky; the rest of the cast failed to hold their own against Shabana's skilled touch, so that rather than lifting them to her level, she only made them look that much worse. The film should have been all about the music, but the music isn't anything special, just garden-variety synethetic pop-fusion. In the end I found Morning Raga a decent enough time-pass, but I am Shabana's biggest fan-girl, and for me she saved the film.