ONE ARTY FARTY GUZAARISH
Before I start commenting on the movie at all , indulge me and allow me an aside. This has been gnawing at me , from like 5 minutes into the movie , and I don’t know how important it is in the overall scheme of things , but I need to get it out. So here goes. This entire film looked as if – and I am talking about the actual visual effect here , there are no other metaphorical underpinnings J – it was shot through a tinted glass. There seems to be an everpresent darkness , that just seems to refuse to leave the sets. Let me not use the word gloom here , as it wont be literal , and I promised no metaphors. It was as though the entire movie was filmed , after the sets were covered in a huge shroud and the lights were dimmed. Even what were supposed to be real bright , sunny and cheerful days , seemed to have been darkened a little. For instance , the scene where Hrithik Roshan and the others are driving down to the courthouse , and then there is ofcourse the clichéd breeze and the even more clichéd children playing in the fields , that I thought was your usual clichéd bright and sunny morning. But , even that was darkened a little , so that one could not really see the brightness for what it really was.
Now , I don’t get it. May be I am not good with the metaphorical stuff , like what the genius of a director is trying to tell us , like the darkness is indicative of the gloom that is integral to the life of the character that Hrithik Roshan tried so hard to portray in the movie. Yeah , am not good with directorial touches like this one. But I still don’t get it. And what’s with the sets ? And the characters that seem to people these sets? Where exactly do they live? Which era are they from ? And the décor ? SLB (short for Sanjya Leela Bhansali) , somehow always tries very hard ,to transport us into a parallel universe , where we are left gasping and trying to get our bearings .And after a while , we give up , because we understand there is no use , and the parallel universe , whatever it lacks in , does not lack in grandiosity and a certain magnificent bleakness. So it is with this movie . The sets are huge . The sets are gloomy. The sets are unreal. The sets are magnificent. And the sets are pointless. And after a point the sets come in the way , of making the characters real and relatable. And once you get bored of gawking at the sets and try to look around at the characters that people them , and the story that threads these characters together , you unfortunately have very little to go on. Imagine a magnificent castle with absolutely no history . Once you are done gawking at it , what do you do? And perhaps that’s the whole problem with the movie.
Once you move on from the sets , you realize that the sets were the only thing the director was sure about. The rest seems to be a confused tangle. The director wants to tell us something , but you are not sure what. Is it about magicians and their trade? Well , there are asides to it , but no its not completely about that. Is it about quadriplegics and their plight and their struggle , their hope and its loss? Well , then again , there are asides but not quite that too. Is it about Euthanasia , and a social commentary on it. ? Well , it was handled too trivially , to qualify as that too. Is it about the dedication and love of the nurse to this patient , or that of friend to a friend , or that of a doctor to such a patient? Well then again , not quite. It looks as if , SLB tried everything , was not sure what to do , and brought all of these samples together. And , somewhere , after two thirds of the film is over , the director doesn’t know what to do , and these samples get revisited , one by one. The director’s inability to get the story going is almost palpable here , and I think this where I fell asleep for a full five minutes. When I woke up , to my horror , I realized I hadn’t missed much.
Unfortunately , such trivial handling , makes none of the things touched upon in the movie , relatable. You don’t feel for the character that is Roshan , you don’t share his frustration , you don’t find yourself riled this way or that about mercy killing , your heart doesn’t go out for the dedication of the nurse , nor do you get to admire the magician’s trade. You are just left empty and bored . In the end , if anyone needs mercy killing , it is the audience . The movie becomes an unspeakable and never ending ordeal.
Howz this for trivial handling.- The Roshan chap , tries to get support for his mercy killing , through his radio station. All he gets are negative responses. There is one TV show , where Prahlad Kakkar , , seems to be the only person supporting it . And that’s when the lawyer decides it’s time to move the court again!!!! And suddenly , there is a welter of support for the Roshan chap. How did this turnaround happen ? We are not told. Also , why did mother die all of a sudden? If not for that protracted scene , of the raindrops , which is ofcourse SLB’s way of showing us the plight of the Roshan chap. Too convenient eh?
The performances are equally forgettable. To Roshan’s credit , he seems to have tried. He does have a unhealthy look about him. It does seem as though , he did put in some work , however little in preparation for this character. Apart from that , that perhaps , is the best thing that can be said about him. He tried. And by the way , am not sure , if quadriplegics , talk wheezily , so I will let it go at that.
Aishwarya Rai , well , she never tries. She is as plastic as she always was , and will always remain. She cant act .Luckily for her , no director seems to have caught on to that fact yet. Her every movement , every gesture , every dialogue delivery is affected and fake. So she has stayed completely true to form in this movie. And the lesser said about her attire and makeup the better.
There is ofcourse this other guy , whose name I don’t know. He comes to learn magic from the Roshan chap. He tries to act all cheerful and breezy and sunny . He is supposed to be the comic relief. He ends up being very irritating.
Lets not even talk about the other characters.
I guess , this is what happens , when the director’s expertise lies not in the art of telling a story , but in erecting huge , pointless sets and when pretensions replace real story telling.