Amitabh Bachchan’s last movie released on April 11, 2014- Bhootnath Returns. And today, February 6, 2015, Shamitabh released. There was a gap of 11 months in between the releases. It is difficult not to miss him. Though he is 73, we would like him to keep acting. After 2011, in Bbudda hoga tera baap, he has taken a backseat to the main protagonists in the movie. It was the last movie where we saw him in all his flourish. Agreed that it was a bit over the top, but it had everything that we had come to love in Amitabh Bachchan.
Now, for those of us, who were waiting for an out and out Amitabh Bachchan movie to rejoice, we have Shamitabh. It’s a movie that has him in the frames that he isn’t in, thanks to the baritone of his. The leitmotif of the movie is how Amitabh and Dhanush are interdependant on each other and wouldn’t be able to do without each other.
It dwells on their abilities, frailties, their deteriorating relationship with each other and how they make up with each other. Akshara Hassan does well to hold her own against them both. Truth be spoken, she has the easiest role in the movie.
In one of the beginning sequences of the movie, we see a young kid seated in an open classroom and listening to a lesson on Mahatma Gandhi. He is making notes to himself as the lesson is being narrated. He notes down Ben Kingsley, Hero and Oscar. When the teacher admonishes him and asks the name of Gandhi’s wife, he writes down Rohini Hattangadi. That scene and the following scene show us that Dhanush has the passion for movies from his childhood. The kid who played this part was brilliant and it won’t be a surprise if we see more of him in the years to come.
We are introduced to Dhanush in the movie as a man who attained superstardom with his first movie and a lot of that has to do with Amitabh Bachchan. In time, we see that both the people crave their individuality and the situations between them are disasters waiting to happen. They, or rather, with the help of Akshara Hassan keep pushing those issues to the background till all hell breaks loose one day.
The scenes between Dhanush and Amitabh crackle with tension, desperation, humour or whatever be the emotion they are trying to convey. Yes, Amitabh Bachchan is the star of the movie. No two ways about it. Dhanush has the toughest role and he manages to charm most of the people.
There are some brilliant scenes in the movie. Some of the best scenes are, undoubtedly, reserved for Amitabh. The scene where he is talking about the Wood in ‘Bollywood’, the dialogue with the pic of Robert de Niro and the exchange with Dhanush in the vanity van. The exchange with Dhanush come back to haunt him at a later point in the movie.
For those of us used to the ‘manipulative mush’, as said by Akshara in the movie, this movie might not appeal much. The movie isn’t without flaws either. It is very difficult to invest our emotions in any character, because none of their struggles are shown to us.
Amitabh sings in the movie, but that’s sort of wasted in the movie with the picturisation, but in the larger scheme of things, it was probably apt as it has Dhanush wanting to prove a point to Amitabh. Amitabh acts in the movie, but nobody lets him down with it. He will be in running for all the awards in the ‘Best Supporting actor’ category. It is also endearing to see him play a foul mouthed old man who has no respect or regard for others. The scene in the airport where he gives Gaalis in a multitude of languages for every alphabet or the scene where he says not being handicapped is the biggest handicap are pointers to that.
How can we talk about the movie without talking about the Background music in the movie? As with most movies that Illayaraja has composed for, the BGM plays an invisible character in the movie. A lot of people I know din’t like the music in the movie, but I liked most of the songs.
Dhanush is growing with every movie. Probably he would’ve been given a thumbs down if he tried to do this in Tamil, but his obscurity in the Hindi Film Industry helps him well – it allows him to experiment. His performance in the movie is brilliant
Akshara Hassan has a good debut and she looks comfortable in presence of Dhanush and Amitabh. Her fresh face is a help to the movie.
Balki has done good job with the movie. Without trying to be preachy or mushy, he conveys his point. The fact that he has managed to rope in the bigwigs of the industry speaks a lot about the goodwill he has. One more thing that impressed me about him was the credit for Valet’s of the protagonists. It’s a good gesture!
Verdict: Powerhouse performances by Dhanush and Amitabh mask whatever be the shortcomings in the movie. For me, this is much better than the preachy films rubbed on us by more popular and successful directors
Image courtesy: aisakya.in