Sunday, August 03, 2008


Rating : 8/10
Running Time : 160 Minutes
Release Date : May ‘04
Director & Co-Writer : Mani Ratnam ; Co-Writer : Anurag Kashyap; Music : AR Rahman
Starring : Abhishek Bachchan, Rani Mukherjee, Ajay Devgan, Esha Deol, Vivek Oberoi, Kareena Kapoor, Om Puri, Vijay Raaz

This is a fascinating story of three different men and how their lives intersect, quite dramatically, on Howrah Bridge. They are of completely different social strata, have completely different dreams and ambitions, are of very different natures. The only common thing being they all have girlfriends. For a change, this Hindi movie builds the characters well and even more importantly, ties it all up well as well. It doesn’t necessarily choose the happy, predictable path but shows what probably were just rewards for the individuals concerned.

I liked Abhishek’s character, Lallan, the most. Easily the most complex, a goonda / thug who knows only one way to settle an argument. A man who becomes a beast when angry but is goodhearted otherwise. A man who doesn’t know when to draw the line, for whom its always about more – driven by a need for power, money (to an extent) and respect. A man who has no hesitation in casting aside his loved ones, when he feels they are standing in the way of his progress. From the first scene when he is shown playing kabaddi in prison, he is magnetic, gritty and real. I think this movie marked the turning point in his career and deservedly so. His relationship with Rani Mukherjee is best exemplified by the song ‘Thoda Neem Neem, Thoda Sakht Sakht’ and is a nice case of good (Rani & his best friend / chief henchman, Vijay Raaz) vs evil – and thanks to Mani Ratnam’s deft handling we aren’t sure till the end who will win.

Michael, played by Ajay Devgan, is probably the most straightforward character. A student who finds the political system rotting and decides to do something about it. A person who drums up enough support to give the movement muscle and make the established politician (Om Puri) wake up and take notice. A person who is determined to make a difference and is lucky enough to find a girlfriend, Isha Deol (in a small but well enacted role), who supports him.

And finally we have Vivek Oberoi as Arjun, probably the weakest link in terms of casting, playing a rich kid, out to have a good time. He meets Ajay and Abhishek in that dramatic encounter on Howrah Bridge and life is never the same again. His personal life is also in turmoil – he’s been accepted by a US university and is due to go very soon. And he’s met this hot babe (a very very hot, innocent yet naughty Kareena, resplendent in white & other Indian outfits) who is about to get married to someone in Kanpur. I’ve never yet been able to appreciate Vivek as an actor (despite having seen him in Omkara and Shootout at Lokhandwala) and this movie didn’t settle that debate either. But I thought Kareena was magnificient and I love the way she is able to slip into a variety of roles so easily – in this she plays a na├»ve but adventurous college student to the T, making us believe in her. And I loved the relationship they showed between Vivek and his younger brother, a very nice touch.

I think Mani Ratnam deserves kudo’s for bringing this complex story masterfully to life. AR Rahman’s music is great, the songs are lovely (I’ve loved the videos of Fanaa and Anjaana even before I saw the film) and well placed in the film. Its like a very good modern art painting – seems like a jumble sometimes but everything is there for a reason. And when you step back and look at it, it starts to make sense / makes you think….A nice story (apparently inspired by Amores Perros and released simultaneously in Tamil as Aayitha Ezuthu with a different cast), well told.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved watching this movie too.. And yes, I loved Abhi baby as lallan the most. Beautifully woven story..Well deserved rating..Manirathnam is a genius is somthing I believe in.. Great review. Cheers, Bee