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Feb 06, 2015 03:35 PM 14170 Views
(Updated Feb 06, 2015 03:40 PM)






STATUTORY WARNING: Normally this reviewer does not delve too much into the story of the movie, reckons a one line description will do just fine. But in the case of SHAMITABH, the unique story makes a strong case for a glorious exception. For filmophiles who have suffered for years at the hands of sadistic reviewers including yours truly, all SPOILERS are at the end i.e. are only for those already done watching.

STORY:  If you thought Balki’s last movie PAA was, for lack of a better word, different wait till you see SHAMITABH. Without giving away too much, let me just say this. Imagine that you woke up one fine morning and discovered that you had the baritone of Bachchan. What would you do? Now hold that thought.

INTRO: One cannot recall the last time a film gave you not one, not two but half a dozen good reasons to look forward to. SHAMITABH does just that. With the one and only PC Sreeram behind the camera, Akshara Haasan, the youngest daughter of India’s greatest actor taking a plunge, music by the iconic Ilaiyaraaja and the eccentric Balki directing the way only he can what more can one ask for? Add to the mix national award winning actor Dhanush in his first Hindi outing since his much loved performance in RANJHANAA which itself is worth the price of a ticket. Seeing a drunk, dishevelled full bearded Bachchan lending his voice to a melodious ditty in the unfathomable confines of a western closet clinched it.


Hemanti  Sarkar’s editing is pretty good yet pales in comparison to the soulful background score by Ilayaraaja which is less of a musical score and more like a character in SHAMITABH. P.C. Sreeram ‘s camera captures the zany soul of the film perfectly. The award acceptance speech scene of Dhanush where Rekha(guest appearance) gets startled upon hearing his rich baritone is the best example of this. It is surreal and tongue in cheek in equal measures. The songs in SHAMITABH are also full of this irreverence be it the flashback song, ISHQ FILLUM, the almost absurd picturisation of PIDDLY SI BAATEIN(taking a pot shot at the Yash Chopra films literally using toilet humor) and there is even called STEREOPHONIC SANNATA which takes after Dhanush’s role in a film.

Balki’s razor sharp wit which was evident even in his last film PAA( Bachchan ‘s character had memorable lines in it) is in full force here. The comparison between the two leading men using whisky and water is brilliant and clap worthy even. Balki also uses fantastical scenes to take some subtle and some not-so subtle digs at Bollywood and its egoistic ways.( Bachchan talking to a tree, the whole LIFEBUOY episode) The only grouse one has with SHAMITABH is that every once in few scenes, Balki gets a tad over indulgent as a result of which some scenes fall flat. All said and done, this is Balki’s bravest film by far. I mean how do you make a film which is basically a tribute to the baritone of Mr Bachchan? The story, script and screenplay for most parts take the average Hindi movie buff out of his comfort zone and to places he has never gone before.  That in itself is no mean feat.

Akshara Haasan seems a little over whelmed and under prepared for the role but to be fair to her she suffers also from having to share screen space with two actors at the peak of their creative talents. Awkward and gawky she is but misfit she is not. She can only get better. Bachchan has a author backed role of a drunk, bitter failed actor plays it loud and has shades of his character from BLACK(the part before he gets Alzheimer’s) That Dhanush plays a deaf mute character and yet stands his own in scene after scene with the legendary Bachchan is testament to his unbelievable talent. Every scene of his one-upmanship with Bachchan’s character is a joy to behold.

But the true hero of the film is the voice of Mr Bachchan. For, long after you have left the cinema halls, his booming baritone keeps reverberating in your ears. And there in lies the victory of the writer, the director and above all the fan, Balki.

Miss it at your own peril.

RATING:  4/5

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