Posts Tagged ‘ Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra ’

Shamitabh

shamitabh-poster

Shamitabh
Release date: February 6, 2015
Directed by: R. Balki
Cast: Dhanush, Akshara Haasan, Amitabh Bachchan

Far in the open classroom under the village sun, his teacher asks him who was Mahatma Gandhi’s wife. Braving the ire of his schoolteacher, the young boy has the audacity to answer “Rohini Hattangadi”. Does he know the right answer, maybe. Is he obsessed with the movies, aw-frikin-yeah. Only, this young boy is speech-impaired.

Shamitabh is built on eccentrics, theatricals and (somewhat) satire. Even in this universe, it’s difficult to get top star’s dates to make a film; the stars throw tantrums when they don’t get the attention they think they deserve. The scrawny Dhanush plays Danish, who romances the celluloid with all his senses. He’s reprehended at every step, constantly reminded that a person who looks like him can’t become a proverbial Bollywood Superstar. Even his ‘voice’tells him to have a look at himself in the mirror.

The extremely affable goth assistant director Akshara (Akshara Haasan) plays his support plank. She knows of a particular speech therapy that can help Danish to overcome that one major hurdle that seems to be stopping him from all the potential greatness. In their search for help, they fumble upon a homeless Amitabh (Amitabh Bachchan) who also moved to Mumbai to pursue his acting dreams.

The initial setup of Danish and Amitabh’s wizardry is charming to watch. There are inside references in the form of forced dance item numbers being devised to pull in the ‘masses’ for a film that is meant for the ‘classes’. Also, the film plays out as a self-descriptive depiction of the protagonist to a gathered set of media journalists, who clap even at the snidest of the usual boring condescending remarks which paint them as blood-sucking parasites. This is just one of the many forced narratives of this film.

A clash of egos, which was imminent right from the start, takes place around the halfway mark. Danish and Amitabh share a love-hate relationship right from the start. Instead of making this confrontation of heads seem vicious, it’s all passive-aggressive. Everyone knows what passive-aggressive does. It just carries on and on and on. The innovative technological premise which is used to form the base of all conflict could have been perfectly suitable for a Broadway-esque metaphorical skirmish of the two strong-headed men.

An easy excuse for all the constant-logging of heads could be that how even the bluest of collar wielding underdogs can let fame get to their head. But even that gets tedious to bear with with the developing stagnancy of the film. The film descends into an all out pestering attempt at going into an unnecessary overdrive of emotions. The emphatic individual performances of Bachchan, Dhanush and the surprisingly natural Haasan cannot salvage the overall film.

The dialogue is part philosophical and part witty; out of which Bachchan scores the most ones. But he goes the extra mile with his portrayal too, it’s not just a change of wardrobe and hair here. Dhanush completes the transformation of a young, bhajiya selling film buff to a manipulative, suave megastar without ever uttering a word in his own voice. There is simply nothing to hate about Akshara’s character. How she prioritizes her choices and how she gels the two warring titular characters with her all-black determined gumption.

There are portions which I loved, characters that I adored, and then there is the film that left me feel slighted.

My rating: **3/4 (2.75 out of 5) 

PS: The final rating was indulgently influenced by the beautiful picturization of the Ishq-E-Phillum number.

 

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

bhaag milkha bhaag poster
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag
Release date: July 12, 2013
Directed by: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Pawan Malhotra, Yograj Singh, Prakash Raj, Divya Dutta, Rebecca Breeds, Meesha Shafi, Dalip Tahil, Sonam Kapoor, Nawab Khan, Art Malik

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag starts from a race and keeps building toward another race. Based upon Milkha Singh, a former track and field sprinter, it chronicles his glory days right through thick and thin. The timeline of events in non-linear though.

In the freshly partitioned landscapes of Pakistan, a young Milkha makes his way to India. He’s a tough kid, he gains a street cred by fitting in with the local teenagers. Isri Kaur (Divya Dutta) is Milkha’s much older and married sister who looks after him. Reveling in his cheap tricks, Milkha starts growing up. Beero (Sonam Kapoor) makes Milkha fall in love with her and he wants to straighten his ways just to impress her.

Much later in the army, he sleeps looking at her photograph. His running abilities have got him out of predicaments and all of the memorable situations that made him bhaag (run) are depicted at separate junctures throughout the narrative. One such interesting tale helps Milkha get selected for the defense sports team.

The film captures Milkha’s failures and victories along the way, all building up to a much hyped contest in Pakistan and why he won’t run in Pakistan. That is supposedly the film’s major and prime conflict which doesn’t connect you with his struggle. The intended suspense isn’t unpredictable or unforeseen, and you always have an inkling what is about to happen. And that’s the approach the makers have taken, they’re reaching a known conclusion by simply portraying Milkha’s journey and his outrightly likable demanour.

They play up his inner demons liberally and try to make the film all about it. Reasons for Milkha to run are presented to us and his urge to attain closure are what carry the film forward to its impending end. I usually don’t complain about a film’s running length if it is taut and riveting. BMB with all its heavy drama and beauteous picturization of the running sequences couldn’t warrant a three hour runtime if it hadn’t been for the number of subplots they’ve decided to show.

BMB is heavy on emotions and I am a sucker for them, but the dialogues couldn’t evoke the aimed empathy at times. Was it the writing or the delivery and casting, I gets hard to make out. Art Malik’s part as Milkha’s father was painful to watch for me, the extras were annoying especially towards the end in a press conference sequence. These flaws were more than compensated by Pawan Malhotra and Divya Dutta’s performances. Malhotra as Milkha’s guiding light is utterly captivating to watch.

Above all Farhan Akhtar’s acting grows on you, as you expect a typical loudmouth Sikh from him and instead he delves in his underplaying qualities and therefore helping Milkha’s character to grow. Not to mention his Hercules-like sculpted body. The amount of pain that his character is suffering, the strides in his run and his super sit-ups and push-ups finely accentuate Milkha’s disciplined drive for the sport.  For a period film, BMB doesn’t look particularly detailed. Binod Pradhan instead uses the easily available visuals and capitalizes on their unnoticed inherent appeal.

Is this a masterpiece by the standards of world biopics? No, it isn’t. Rather it grounds the title character. He is not an out-and-out-do-gooder hero, and the same can be said about the film. Bhaag Milkha … isn’t an enlightening lesson in history, it is more of a tale of true emotions and a story that deserves attention, not necessarily in this way.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

%d bloggers like this: