"Split Wide Open" is another typical small-budget, urban and thought-provoking Dev Benegal film about Bombay and its dark and foul face. The story involves Kut Price [Rahul Bose], a water seller who is uneducated, eager to make it in life, and willing to shaft both the rich and the poor in order to get ahead.
Kut Price has an adopted sister named Didi [Farida Haider Mulla], whose disappearance sets into motion the chain of events that is "Split Wide Open". Other characters are a TV show hostess Nandita [Laila Rouass], the US-returned student Leela [Ayesha Dharker] and her wealthy father Shiv [Shivaji Satam]. There is a gay priest, there is child sexual abuse and there is even incest.
Rahul Bose does it every time - another movie, another noteworthy performance; in "Split Wide Open", he effortlessly changes from a ruthless water seller to a protective brother. Laila Rouass' role is similar to her real life career, and she does a good job of being a TV show hostess. Ayesha Dharker has a short role and a mediocre performance, while Shivaji Satam also turns in a pretty good performance. But the best of the lot is Farida Haider Mulla - you'll definitely see her on TV again!
In summary, this film is about relationships between different people. Overall, it's a pretty good movie, with some interesting comments on life in an increasingly media-driven world.This article was first published on 05 Apr 2000.