Saturday, 28 February 2015

Dum Laga Ke Haisha :: Movie Review

                                                    
Dum Laga Ke Haisha is a quirky, refreshingly " Hatke " wholesome family entertainer from YRF which is able to hit the right chords with the audience because the movie has its heart and soul at the right place. The movies makes us nostalgic as it takes us back into the 90's era where we had tape recorders instead of CD/DVD players, more of Priya scooters could be seen hovering on the roads and soothing voice of Kumar Sanu could be heard on nooks & corners of the streets. In fact, Kumar Sanu is spirit of this movie so much so that when the YRF title appears, the usual title track sung by the legendary Lata Mangeshkar has been replaced by vocal chords of Kumar Sanu. The protagonist of the movie Prem (Ayushmann Khurana) owns a cassette recording shop in Haridwar and is a die hard fan of Kumar Sanu. Due to family pressure, he is forced to marry Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar) who is a fatso. On top of it, Sandhya is educated and holds B.Ed degree where as Prem is not even matriculate. Now, Prem feels ashamed of taking his wife out in public and maintains a safe distance from her which is not acceptable to articulate Sandhya, hence tussle ensues between both of them. There is a scene in the movie where Ayushmann plays a song on tape recorder and goes to bathroom, Bhumi immediately replaces the cassette and plays a contrasting song & in reaction Ayushmann comes out of bathroom with soap on his body to replace the song and as soon as he goes back to bathroom Bhumi changes the song again......This goes on & on with almost 4 different songs being played. This scene is a treat to watch and it is several scenes like this in the movie that make the movie so entertaining. There is no forced humor or gags inserted in the movie by unwanted characters, instead the humor flows automatically through the witty situations woven in the screenplay. Most of the humor is mouthed through the simple characters of the movie who represent common people living in small towns of India and their mannerisms. It is the way this story has been crafted and narrated that takes this movie par excellence. The director has in a jovial way reiterated the fact that more than looks, understanding and commitment are the characteristics that pave way for an ideal wife. Traditional men generally go in for looks while choosing their life partner where as the key to a successful marital life lies in compatibility and mutual understanding. Also, the director has beautifully conveyed that it is not necessary that love happens at first sight but it can develop gradually by understanding your partner. In later half of the movie, in one of the scenes Ayushmann says to Bhumi that there will definitely be someone who will love you the way you are irrespective of your being overweight and she replies that she was of the view that you are that guy. This scene has been beautifully captured and sets the tone for the rest of the movie to follow. It is movie made by heart about the usual happenings in the lives of common people of small town and it is this sheer reason that makes this movie stand tall in front of the other typical Bollywood movies.

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                                   ::                           The story, screenplay as well as dialogues of this movie have been penned down by Sharat Kataria who is also the director of this movie. Kudos to Kataria for penning down this narrative which is laden with some very well written scenes which are filled with emotions but never go overboard. You will find abundant situations in Kataria's well chiseled screenplay that are a fine blend of genuine wit and humor. And the biggest strength of his screenplay lies in his well crafted characters who give you a feel of all those common people whom you come across in neighbouring 'Galis' & 'Mohallas'. The movie begins in Haridwar where Prem Prakash Tiwari  (Ayushmann Khurana) is sitting in his father's shop and recording songs on a tape recorder. In his self introductory scene, he confesses about his three weaknesses in life namely his father's slippers, Kumar Sanu's melodious voice and question paper of English exam. Cut next and his father, Chander Bhan Tiwari (Sanjay Mishra), mother Shashi (Alka Amin) & Bua Nain Tara (Sheeba Chaddha) force Prem to tie the nuptial knot with a plump girl, Sandhya (Bhumi Pednekar), in spite of his protests. Sandhya is chosen by them because she has a B.ED degree and might add to the fortunes of the family by getting a teacher's job. Prem, however is least interested in her because of her fat figure and cannot accept the fact that he has to share the bed with her. When nothing happens on their first night, the same is conveyed by Sandhya to her mother Subhadra (Seema Pahwa) who in turn insists her daughter to lure her husband by wearing flimsy costumes while playing 'Foreign waali' movies on VCR. The morning routine of Prem includes going to a Shakha for doing exercise. One of his friends from Shakha is about to get married and invites Prem along with his wife to the function. On the eve of function, out of frustration of getting married to a plump girl, Prem drinks too much of alcohol and uses real bad words for Sandhya which she co-incidentally overhears. Being an educated girl, she refuses to stay with Prem any longer and files for a divorce after moving to her parents house. As a legal formality, the court orders the couple to stay together for a period of six months and in case they still don't have a change of mind, they can get divorced legally. As Sandhya comes back to Prem's house, a competition by the name of 'Dum Laga Ke Haisha' is announced in their town in which husbands have to carry their wives on their backs and run amongst manmade hurdles. Meanwhile, Prem also starts to understand the feelings of Sandhya and develops a soft corner for her. Prem is coaxed by his parents to participate in the competition. Will Prem & Sandhya have a change of mind regarding divorce, Will they participate in the competition and win, is what forms the rest of the story.

STARCAST                                                                                               ::      Shanoo Sharma, Casting director of this movie deserves a round of applause for choosing the apt starcast as per their characterization in the movie.  Ayushmann Khurana, is one actor who has taken lot of risks by playing diverse characters in all his movies and has not confined himself to any kind of stereotyped roles. He has portrayed the character of Prem to pitch perfection by capturing the finer nuances of his character including the dialect and enacting them on-screen. He has delved so much deep into skin of the character that you will not to be able to locate Ayushmann Khurana in the movie but Prem. It won't be wrong to say that Bhumi Pednekar is the revelation in the movie. Whether it is the shy feeling of her first night, verbal duel with nagging Bua or slapping Prem in front of his friends, she has stood her ground in all these scenes in the most genuine manner. She has ably portrayed the feeling that for a lasting relationship, size and looks does not matter. She gradually charms her way unto your heart by the time movie ends. Sanjay Mishra as Ayushmann's father is a delight to watch. He is one actor who adds substance to every character that he portrays and makes it look as surreal as possible. Alka Amin has given an endearing performance as Prem's mother in the movie. Watch out for the scene where she says " Ab, Humara Prem Syana Ho gya hai". Similarly, Seema Pahwa has portrayed the character of Bhumi's mother to perfection and it is amusing to watch how she educates her daughter on phone about how to entice her husband. Sheeba Chaddha is apt enough as the constantly nagging Bua of Prem. Amongst the ensemble starcast, noticeable performances have been delivered by Sanjeeva Vatsa, Shardul Rana, Chandrachoor Rai, Shrikant Verma and Mahesh Sharma. Also, you get to see Kumar Sanu in a special appearance.  

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                                ::       The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Anu Malik where as lyricist of the movie is Varun Grover. Anu Malik has given surprisingly good music making one feel nostalgic about the bygone era. Another highlight of the soundtrack is that it brings backs the soothing n melodious voice of Kumar Sanu. Some of the songs namely Moh moh ke dhaage, Sunder Susheel stay with you for a long time. The cinematographer of the movie is Manu Anand who has done a fine job of capturing the visuals. Manu, through the roving eye of his lens has been able to capture the essence of 'Galis' n 'Mohallas' of Haridwar & Rishikesh in an enchanting manner. Meenal Aggarwal, who is the production designer also deserves accolades for deftly recreating the nineties era with ample usage of cassette recorders, VCR's, Priya scooters and likes in the movie. The movie has been edited by Namrata Rao who has crisply packaged the movie in run-time of 111 minutes which is perfect for the movie of this genre. As a writer-director, Sharat Kataria has managed to impress and scored all the brownie points in crafting this movie. The best part is that he has made an entertaining movie without adding any extravaganza, excessive melodrama or regular bollywood cliches to the movie. He has ably extracted the best performances not only from his lead pair but also from the ensemble starcast. With this movie, Sharat has proved that he is a director to watch out for in future.

CONCLUSION                                                                                            ::          DUM LAGA KE HAISHA is an out of the box, sweet, simple movie that brings smile to your faces and is an out and out family entertainer. I am giving it 4 stars out of 5.  

ROHIT SHARMA.
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Saturday, 21 February 2015

Badlapur :: Movie Review


                                                    
Badlapur is a noir revenge caper helmed by Sriram Raghavan that despite of being dark, gory  is entertaining enough to keep you glued to your seats till the very end primarily because of brilliant execution and towering performances. When it comes to filming thrillers, Sriram Raghavan is a name to reckon with & he has proved his credentials in the past by making Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar n Agent Vinod. While his last flick Agent Vinod proved to be a damp squib at the box office but he is back with a bang with Badlapur. Badlapur has all the quintessential elements that an engrossing thriller needs ; eyebrow-singeing intensity, perfectly structured plot with several layers attached to it which keep on unfolding with due passage of time, well etched out characters and intriguing suspense. Badlapur is not usual good versus bad tale or a typical revenge saga as there are no set black or white characters in the movie. Though, the movie begins with an African proverb " Axe forgets but the tree remembers " clearly setting the tone for the movie to be a revenge saga but Raghavan has cleverly infused the stress on forgiveness also in the film. From the promos Badlapur seemed like a revenge driven saga with lot of gory bloodshed but the director has cleverly concocted the story in the form of Psychological drama. In fact, the first half of the movie is full of black and quirky humor which mainly flows from the mouth of Nawazuddin Siddiqui and the revenge saga unfolds in the second half. The best part of the movie is its unpredictability which keeps the audience engaged as to what's gonna happen next. And, in making this movie engrossing Raghavan has been well aided by Varun Dhawan & Nawazuddin Siddiqui along with talented ensemble starcast. What works primarily in favor of the movie is its well etched characters as most of them are not what they seem. Badlapur comes with a tagline : Don't miss the beginning which is apt enough because the action that unfolds in first fifteen minutes or so is fantastic and sets the tone for the movie. Two robbers fleeing after committing a bank robbery shatter the life of the protagonist by killing his wife and kid. Badlapur is not only about how far would you go to seek revenge but also about if you can ever judge good and bad in a linear way. 

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                          :: The story of the movie is based on a novel penned by Massimo Carlotto where as screenplay of the movie has been co-penned by Sriram Raghavan along with Arijit Biswas. They have done a wonderful job as they have cleverly concocted a simple revenge saga in a complex, engaging way with enough of twists and turns. They have peppered this noir drama with lot of black humor which further enhances the impact of the movie. Scenes depicting verbal spat between Nawazuddin and other prisoner played by Murali Sharma are a treat to watch. And, the way they have carved out the characters is simply brilliant as each character introduced in the movie adds to its drama quotient. The movie opens with two persons namely Liak (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and Harman (Vinay Pathak) committing a bank robbery in Pune. While fleeing after committing the robbery, they hijack SUV of Misha (Yami Gautam) who is out shopping with her kid. As the cops are chasing them somehow the front door of the car opens and kid falls on the road. As Misha starts to resist, she is shot at by Liak. With cops on the chase, Liak hands over the gun and the loot money to Harman telling him to jump out. Soon, Liak is captured by the police who tells the cops that he is just the driver and the main culprit has escaped. On the other hand, Raghu (Varun Dhawan) is at work when he receives a call that his wife and kid have met with an accident. On reaching hospital, he finds them dead and is devastated to know that they got killed by robbers for no fault of theirs. He tries every possible thing to get even with Liak which includes having forced sex with his prostitute girlfriend Jhumli (Huma Qureshi). Meanwhile, Liak is charged for murder, robbery and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. As the incident begins to haunt him, Raghu shifts from Pune to a town called Badlapur. After 15 years Raghu is approached by Shobha (Divya Dutta) who rehabilitates prisoners with a plea to sign on pardon petition of Liak as he has been diagnosed with Cancer and is about to die in an year's time. But, Raghu is adamant that he will only sign if Liak reveals the name of his partner in crime. Since Liak's mother (Pratima Kazmi) doesn't want her son to die in jail, she approaches Raghu and tells him about Liak's partner. Raghu  becomes a controlled maniac and chases Liak's robbery partner Harman and his wife Koko (Radhika Apte). Firstly, Raghu befriends Koko, than humiliates Koko n Harman by inflicting psychological torture on them, finally sledging them with a hammer before taking Liak's share of loot from Harman. Meanwhile, Liak comes out of jail and is on lookout for Harman to get his share of the loot. On the other hand, a cop (Kumud Mishra) on the verge of retirement gets  hold of some evidence that can nail Raghu for the murders of Koko n Harman and blackmails Raghu to hand him over Liak's share of loot money.  Will Raghu seek his revenge from Liak, Will Raghu be caught for the twin murders he has committed is what forms the rest of the story.   

STARCAST                                                                                              ::     Though, Varun Dhawan has proved his acting prowess in sweet romantic roles but frankly speaking I was a little apprehensive when I read that Raghavan has signed him for such an intense role. Keeping his chocolaty boy image in mind, I was skeptical whether he would be able to pull this one through. But, Kudos to Varun Dhawan as he has not only portrayed the character of Raghu with conviction but also with remarkable ease. His character goes through lot of transformations as the movie proceeds and he portrays them with aplomb. Whether it is the clean shaven Raghu sitting in a boardroom meeting or mustache bearing Raghu sitting in a coffee bar where Yami breaks the news of being pregnant to him or the bearded Raghu who is all raring to seek revenge ruthlessly ; he has looked equally effective in all these avatars. It is definitely the best performance of Varun till date and he is definitely proving to be a dark horse who is here for a long run. Nawazuddin Sidiqqui.....Take a bow. It won't be wrong to say that Nawazuddin is the ace as well soul of this movie. He has truly acted like a chameleon by portraying a myriad number of emotions in this movie. His body language, mannerisms, verbal tone and facial expressions change with every other scene and the character he is talking to. The way he teases and imitates his limping prison-mate, urges Huma to talk dirty with him, pleads for forgiveness in front of Varun Dhawan, dodges cops by stating that he was just a driver in robbery episode is a relishing treat to watch. Huma Qureshi sizzles in the role of Jhimli and proves that it is acting prowess and not the length of role which is important to leave a lasting impression. She is a fine actress and how i wish if she had more meatier part to play in the movie. Yami Gautam looks beautiful and has played her brief role effectively. Radhika Apte looks convincing as the wife who is ready to sleep with Raghu to save her husband from crutches of law. Vinay Pathak once again proves his versatility by enacting the character of Harman to perfection. Amongst the ensemble starcast noticeable performances have been portrayed by Kumud Mishra as a cop, Divya Dutta as Shobha, Pratima Kazmi as Nawazuddin's mother and Murli Sharma as prisoner.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                                        ::    The musical soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Sachin-Jigar who have belted out a descent album. Couple of tracks namely 'Jee Karda' & 'Jeena Jeena' have already become a rage and stay with you even after you exit the cinema hall. The background score of the movie has also been composed by Sachin-Jigar which is excellent. BGM is apt enough as per the genre of the movie and provides further impetus to the on-screen visuals. The cinematographer of the movie is Anil Mehta who has done a fantastic job behind the lens in capturing the visuals. The cinematography is plush and passionate and yet the film's visuals never topples into the kingdom of garish. The movie has been edited by Pooja Surti who has shown her finesse by packaging the action in run-time of 134 minutes. Her editing is crisp and taut giving you no chance to go out for a loo break. A special mention of Parvez Fazal Khan for orchestrating apt action sequences. As a director, Sriram Raghavan excels by bringing out the best from his cast n crew. With Badlapur, Raghavan has reaffirmed that when it comes to helming thrillers, he is one of the best directors we have in the industry today. He has crafted a revenge story in such an intriguing way that it keeps the audience hooked unto their seats with its enough twists and turns. On top of that, he has laden the screenplay with ample dosage of black humor which provides much needed comic respite in this dark thriller making it all the more entertaining. Leaving the box office debacle of Agent Vinod aside, Director Sriram Raghavan has crafted an ace of trump this time through Badlapur.

CONCLUSION                                                                                                           ::     If you have a penchant for hard hitting thrillers, dare not to miss this flick. Title suggests..Don't miss the beginning, I suggest Don't miss Badlapur as whole.  I am giving it four stars out of five. 

ROHIT SHARMA.
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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Roy :: Movie Review



"ROY" is an unorthodox, well shot romantic thriller which keeps on oscillating between a heist drama and romantic tracks ultimately culminating in no-man's land, leaving the audience a tad confused. The movie is a bang-on when it comes to stunning visuals, style statements, great art direction and good music but all these aesthetics combined together go for a toss when you don't have a coherent story & screenplay, and this is where the movie falters big big time. Also, rarely you get to see a movie whose title is named after a character 'Roy' (Ranbir Kapoor) and the same very character is eerily sketched with his screen presence being very limited in the movie. On a lighter note, the makers should have taken some inspiration from Love Charger Baba oops Love Charzzer Baba (As he spells g as z while singing) whose movie MSG has released along with Roy. As Baba Gurmeet is playing the title role he is virtually present in every scene of the movie portraying his histrionics. Indian audience has seen two back to back releases whose basic premise revolves around bollywood namely Shamitabh that released last week and Roy, this week. Unfortunately, both the movies have failed to live upto expectations although Shamitabh was far far better and expectations from it were much more cause of two big names involved with it i.e. R. Balki and Big B. Now, coming to Roy, the movie was promoted as a heist drama through its promos which gave the feeling of it being a good cat and mouse chase kind of thriller movie. Alias ! it never happens, instead the movie turns out to be a story of a writer-director Kabir (Arjun Rampal) who is going through a writer's block and is on a journey to self discovery. Roy has lot of factors that could have turned the fortunes in favor of the movie : Stunning visuals through effective cinematography, Two handsome leading men including the suave Ranbir Kapoor, Hot sizzling leading lady adding the oomph factor and the biggest factor being that it is not a rip off from some south Indian or Foreign movie. Yet, to see the snail paced movie squander away these advantages purely owing to ineptitude is pain. Roy just does not make the cut. One of the biggest flaws of Director Vikramjit Singh's film is that it fails to have smooth transitions between the different stories he narrates in the movie. 

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                                  ::   The story as well as screenplay of this movie has been penned down by Vikramjit Singh, who is also the director of this movie. Although, one must admit that his writing is pathbreaking n novel with none of the Bollywood cliches attached to it but what could have turned into an interesting heist drama, ends up as an emotional damp squib for the lack of smooth transition from one narrative to other. And, it is this reason that has made Roy, a more confusing film rather than it being an imaginative one. One has to use his brain cells to the optimum level to connect the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle as the movie keeps on getting complicated scene after scene. Vikramjit has created a soup out of what could have been a brilliantly executed script. The movie begins with Cyrus Broacha taking an interview of filmmaker Kabir Grewal (Arjun Rampal) who is not only known for his hit movies namely Guns 1 and Guns Part 2 but also known for his short lived flings. He is so famous for his flings that media remembers them by numbers which at the time of interview stand at count of 22. Cut next, Kabir is at home and his Production head (Shernaz Patel) comes and informs that Producers are ready to finance his next one in Guns series i.e. Guns Part 3. Kabir tells her to go ahead and sign the deal but the hitch is that the script for the same is not ready. Kabir slips into a bathrobe, puts fedora on his head and sits down to write at his desk. Finally, he starts typing on a typewriter. Unlike everyone in the modern era who like to keep back-ups of important documents on hard drives etc., Kabir types into his typewriter and  rubbishes the perishable quantity of ink and paper. Suffering from writer's block, Kabir is not able to finish the script and yet announces that the unit will head to Malaysia to shoot the movie. While in Malaysia Kabir meets independent filmmaker Ayesha Aamir (Jacqueline Fernandez) who is staying in the same hotel where he is putting up. Soon Ayesha becomes his girlfriend number 23. She becomes his inspiration and he begins to type his script paving the entry of 'Roy'. Roy (Ranbir Kapoor) is a smooth operator thief who is proficient at stealing priceless paintings. He undertakes an assignment to find the other half of a priceless French painting which is owned by a woman in Malaysia. So Roy sets off to pursue her and the painting. The woman with the painting is Tia (Jacqueline Fernandez). While it is easily possible to sneak into her house, pick up the painting and leave but Roy decides to add some drama unto it. So he pursues the woman, romances and sleeps with her and then makes a clean getaway after stealing the painting from her. As the story progresses, both men fall in love with their respective Jacquelines. With art imitating life, when Ayesha dumps Kabir, he becomes crestfallen and his inspiration dries up. Also, the death of his father (Anupam Kher) at the same time makes things worse for Kabir. He sits for hours in front of his typewriter unable to complete the script. And as he struggles to write the climax of his movie, Roy is seen floating aimlessly in a sailboat with the painting, waiting for Kabir to decide his fate. Will Kabir be able to complete the script n finish Guns 3, Will Roy be able to leave his past behind and Will Roy n Kabir get the respective loves of their lives is what forms the rest of story. Oops, Did i forget to mention that while all these proceedings are going on, there is one detective D.S.Wadia (Rajit Kapoor) who is in pursuit of Roy but always two steps behind him.

STARCAST                                                                                        ::           Arjun Rampal seems to be on a high after his rocking performance in 'Rock On' and has delivered earnest performances after that in 'Rajneeti' & 'D-Day'. Roy is Arjun's show all the way as he is the main protagonist of the movie. He has played the character of Kabir with a certain sense of maturity and has been able to portray the finer nuances of his character. His character required an actor to portray a restrained performance, which Arjun has commendably delivered. Bagging this movie is quite an achievement for Jacqueline Fernandez as she not only got to portray a double role in the movie but also got to romance two of the hottest men in the film industry namely Arjun Rampal & Ranbir Kapoor. She has delivered a descent performance although it's very difficult to differentiate between her two avatars in the movie. The only difference between her two avatars can be gauged by the gloss of her lipstick shades and her hairdo. She has looked stunning especially in 'Chitiyaan Kalaiyaan' song and seems to be improving as an actress with every release of hers. But, it is Ranbir Kapoor who charms everyone with his dynamic role in the movie. He is a natural actor and has portrayed his character with such ease that it seems as if he is sleepwalking in the movie. Watch out for him in a scene where he goes to collect back the painting from the person who has purchased it and a well orchestrated fist fight happens there. Anupam Kher is effective enough in his short stint as Arjun's father. Shernaz Patel too has given a noticeable performance as Production head of Arjun Rampal.

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                                          ::      The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Meet Bros., Ankit Tiwari and Amaal Malik which is one of the highlights of this movie. 'Tu hai ke nahin' by Ankit Tiwari, 'Sooraj Dooba hai' by Amaal Malik and 'Chitiyaan Kalaiyaan' by Kanika Kapoor are already very popular and have made it to top of the music charts. Background music of the movie has been composed by Sanjay Chowdhury who has done an excellent job. The background score of Roy gives out a mysterious aura of a thriller which enhances the impact of visuals. The cinematographer of the movie is Himman Dhamija who has done outstanding job behind the lens. Dhamija has shot every frame with utmost passion, and we can call his cinematography an ace of the movie along with the choice of locations. Keeping the suspense element in mind, Dhamija also ensures that all the scenes blend with the background and extensive use of dark shades gives the movie all the class it needs. A special mention of Vintee Bansal for his effective production designing. The movie has been edited by Deepika Kalra who has kept the run-time of the movie to 147 minutes. Her editing is not upto the mark as the editing of movie of this genre should have been more taut n crisp which is not the case. There are lot of unwanted scenes that should have been done away with, long pauses in the movie and some scenes have been stretched that needed to be trimmed down to make this movie entertaining. As a writer Vikramjit Singh has failed to impress as he might have had a wonderful idea in mind for making this movie but while penning it down, it got converted into a flimsy storyline and shoddy screenplay. But, as a director Vikramjit Singh shows some promise as sparks of his brilliance are visible in some parts of the movie. His movie boasts of technical excellence but is let down by the script. He is one of those new age directors who has dared to make a movie sans bollywood cliches and usual formulaic elements.

CONCLUSION                                                                                           ::          Roy is one of those movies where an original, novel idea got bogged down by flimsy script and narrative making it a non-entertainer. You can give this one a skip.

ROHIT SHARMA.
Follow me on twitter at  https://twitter.com/smgr105
rohitreview@gmail.com   

                 

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Shamitabh :: Movie Review

                                
Shamitabh is technically brilliant, novel, out of the box ode to cinema by R.Balki which is taken a few notches higher by the acting prowess of two giant of actors namely Amitabh Bachchan and Dhanush. These days innovation in Bollywood has almost become a passe as most of our filmmakers have fallen prey to commercialization in lieu of entering so called 100 crores club. As a result, in the recent past we have witnessed ample biopics and southern remakes with gravity defying stunts being churned out in hordes. Thankfully, there are still some filmmakers who still make movies with their hearts and make their presence felt by dishing out something new whenever they helm a movie. And, R.Balki is one of them. If his 'Cheeni Kum' was an unconventional love story with a big age difference between the main leads, His second offering 'Paa' took unconventionality to newer heights with its innovative subject. Just like his previous flicks, R.Balki is back once again with a new novel concept of an ego clash between the face who acts and the person who lends voice to that face, decorated with towering performances of legendary Big B and star in the making Dhanush in the form of cine spectacle called, Shamitabh. R.Balki's Shamitabh deals with a story about ego clashes between two men who can't live with each other, but can't let go of each other too. The idea behind Shamitabh is avant-garde which has been further propelled by its lead actors who revel in playing their parts to perfection. While Amitabh Sinha (Bachchan) is a big time alcoholic who once aspired to be an actor, there's Danish (Dhanush), a mute guy, who dreams of becoming a Bollywood hero. What he lacks in vocals he makes up with his spirited approach. What Bachchan has is his rich baritone. With help from a friendly assistant director (Akshara Haasan) and technology, the two combine and re-christen themselves as Shamitabh. What works in their as well as movie's favor is their bond that is laced with ego clashes of one-upmanship. It's entertaining to watch their verbal duels, especially Amitabh who never misses an opportunity to belittle Dhanush with taunts like " It's not your face they love, but my voice. Ye aawaz to ek kutte ke munh se bhi achchi lagegi ". He even points that danish's weight (59Kgs) is lighter than his voice. The blows come fast and powerful but Dhanush ducks them with impressive earnestness. Ego can make even the giant-est of giants bite the dust and it is one thing that should never get in between your personal or professional life. And in case you are dependent on another person for the position you have reached in life, then you must definitely kick your ego flying out of the window. A scene in which Akshara makes the two leading men with big egos, sit down in a nursery room and draws their attention towards the hazards that their ego hassles are causing will make you smile big time. Although, the dialoguebaazi between the leading men or even monologues of Big B are a delight but after a certain time they become too much and ruin the flow of narrative. Had the movie duration been cut short by more crisp editing by say around 20-25 minutes, it would have made a big difference in the commercial prospects of the movie.

STORY & SCREENPLAY                                                  ::      The story as well as screenplay of the movie has been penned down by R.Balki. Undoubtedly, Balki has woven a storyline which is unique and has a novel concept keeping Cinema in mind. Right from the beginning, it becomes clear that Balki is paying tribute to Indian as well as Western cinema. When a teacher draws GandhiJi on blackboard and asks young Danish some questions like Who was Gandhiji's wife and what did Gandhiji get, his replies are that his wife was Rohini Hathangidi and he got an Oscar obviously refereeing to the movie 'Gandhi" much to the amusement of other children present in class. The teacher scolds him and sarcastically says that this mute kid wants to become an actor and asks him to showcase his acting skills. Young Danish writes on blackboard " Scene Kya Hai or what is the script". This sets the tone for the movie with the message being loud and clear. Such is the impact of Cinema that it can even inspire a vocally impaired person to dream about becoming an actor. Shamitabh is peppered with many of such observations with the script and dialogues being fantastic. Alias, same is not the case with the screenplay which has lot of glitches. Some of the dialogues in the movie are too good like when Dhanush says to the media persons, " Aap media wale shakal aur awaaz ke beech mein bhi nafrat paida kar sakte ho", referring to the insecurities non good looking actors face in the film industry. The movie begins with a film party where Shamitabh alias Danish (Dhanush) is introduced to the media on the release of his movie 'Lifebuoy". Hereafter, the movie begins to oscillate between present and past portraying the tale of a mute boy who becomes a Film hero overcoming his handicap. Danish is crazy about acting even as a kid in spite of the fact that he is mute and wants to run away to Mumbai but can't do so because of his mother's illness. After years, he arrives in Mumbai after his mother passes away where no one takes him seriously because of his handicap. But Assistant Director Akshara (Akshara Haasan) sees the potential in him and recommends him to the director she works for who refuses to give him a chance because of his speech problem. Just the, Akshara's doctor father (Uday Tikekar) gets to know of a advanced medical technology in Finland which could help mute people speak. Danish is flown to Finland where an ear piece is given to him which has the ability to store the words spoken by another voice with a similar ear piece. Now, begins a hunt to find suitable voice for Danish. Danish & Akshara come across Amitabh Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), a drunkard who once aspired to be an actor but has the perfect baritone voice. After lot of persuasion, he agrees to become the voice of Danish. Amitabh Sinha, who at all times has to be in close proximity to Danish, is introduced as Danish's walet "Robert". Danish is signed for a new movie and his name is changed to 'Shamitabh'. Shamitabh becomes a superstar with the huge success of his very first film and Robert resents all the adulation being given to Shamitabh as he feels his contribution to the success is much more than that of Shamitabh himself. Soon, ego problems develop between the two and the things starting to get worse between both of them. Do they resolve their differences and if so, how ? This is what forms the rest of the movie. 

STARCAST                                                                   ::           The biggest highlight of this movie is the performances from its starcast especially the leading men. Amitabh Bachchan essays the role of Amitabh Sinha, who is an extremely frustrated man, owing his failure to be an actor. It was real enticing to watch Mr.Bachchan play a character of a frustrated drunkard man who is known to be very docile and calm. The best part is that he looks so natural that one doesn't feel like if he is watching Big B on screen. His wayward walking, his wobbly tongue while he talks, makes it very believable as if he is quite drunk literally. It is a real treat to watch his action speak louder than words in the last scene of the movie. A classy performance with the intensity in the eyes to match, brought back the memories of AGNEEPATH where he carried the film on the strength of his voice alone. Dhanush, after Raanjhanaa, gets even better. This guy without six pack abs or fair complexion, laps up the scenes with his earnest performance. Dhanush - the man might have small frame but he roars on screen. He has played the central character of Shamitabh, a struggling actor who wants to become big in Bollywood despite being mute with utmost conviction. Without mouthing a single dialogue, he portrays sheer magic in the film. Eventually your heart would go to him especially after the ending. To make Amitabh's voice look graceful on himself, was quite the challenge which he has done literally well. Dhanush is one actor who has been able to make his presence felt in the industry only cause of his sheer talent as he has the most unconventional looks required to be a Bollywood hero. Akshara Haasan who has made her debut with this movie looks promising. Subtle, gentle, cool, confident and innocent all rolled into one. The best part is that she has been able to hold onto her own and make her presence felt whilst standing between Big B & Dhanush which is not a mean achievement by any standards.She doesn't seem to shudder even for a second, when she is alongside superstars like Big B & Dhanush. She seems to have inherited acting skills from her talented actor parents namely Kamal Haasan & Sarika. Amongst the ensemble starcast noteworthy performances have been given by Uday Tikekar, Asif Ali Beg, Ajay Jadhav, Karim Hajee & Ivan Rodriguez.         

TECHNICAL FINESSE                                                           ::          The soundtrack of the movie has been composed by Ilaiyaraaja who seems to be a favorite of Balki like Big B as this is the third film of the trio together. Ilaiyaraaja has charted out a fairly descent album with the title track 'Shamitabh' as well as 'Pidley' standing out amongst others. The background music for the film has also been composed by Ilaiyaraaja and the maestro has lent a magical touch to the same. The first half an hour of the movie where young Danish enacts a scene of grieving over his dead mother and his passion of cinema is stolen by Ilaiyaraaja's background music. The BGM of this movie elevates some particular scenes especially the monologues to an altogether different level. The cinematographer of the movie is PC Sreeram who has done an outstanding job behind the lens. His cinematography is a treat for eyes. Each of his frames are wallpaper material and capture the proceedings from a different perspective. He has brilliantly used different color palates according to the characters and scenes. While he has used dark and subdued tones around Big B, the color palates get more vibrant when Dhanush & Akshara are on-screen making it a visual delight. A special mention of Urvi Ashar & Shipra Rawal whose production designing with enough props and posters of movie stalwarts has ensured that the movie seems like an ode to Cinema. The editor of the movie is Hemanti Sarkar who has kept the runtime of the movie to 154 minutes which is a tad too long for a movie of this genre. Had the movie been more crisply edited and been shortened by say a duration of around 25 minutes especially in the second half, it would have been a big benefit to the commercial prospects of the movie. As a writer-director, R.Balki has once again reaffirmed that he is not only apt enough of penning down some novel ideas in the form of storyline but also has the vision to translate them on-screen with his directorial skills and crafting abilities. He has woven an original plot centered around three main characters and made an entertaining film out of it. His direction is first rate but had he done away with some of the recurring clash scenes between the leading men and too many monologues of Big B in second half, the movie could have been more entertaining. I am not saying that the movie is bad, it is really good but it could have been better.

CONCLUSION                                                                                   ::           Shamitabh is definitely a good one time watch for its really novel concept which is an ode to cinema plus the towering performances of (DHANU)SH-AMITABH.       

ROHIT SHARMA.
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