Sunday, November 21, 2010


Rating : 3/10
Release Date : 19th Nov, 2010
Time : 135 minutes
Director, Writer & Music : Sanjay Leela Bhansali;
Starring : Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapur, Shernaz Patel, Suhel Seth, Monikangana Datta

Imagine a collection of beautiful still photo’s featuring the same people in different settings. Now set them on slide show. Add some music in the background. Could you now call it a feature film ? That’s my biggest issue with Guzaarish…

I’m struggling hard to articulate all the things I didn’t like about this film politely. The fact that it’s a senseless film masquerading as a pseudo-intellectual one ? Or its picture perfect in terms of sets, camera angles, lighting at all times (even in court or while brushing teeth, anytime, anywhere) ! Or all that humbug about it teaching you to love life (it most definitely doesn’t) ? Or the fact that it desperately tries to manipulate you emotionally, leaving no tear undropped during the film ? I think every character in the film sheds a tear or two, even if they come for a couple of minutes only…I mean everyone ! That must be a record of sorts ?

Even the acting prowess of India’s best looking and most electric screen lead pair is not able to redeem the film. The music is nice (a bit too jazz-ish, a bit too heavy at times) but its nice. And as mentioned before, its stunningly picturesque – every production set designer should learn from this film on how to spend money by building lavish sets, colour coding everything etc.

Hrithik is a quadriplegic for the last 12 years (some confusion on whether its 12 or 14 but let that pass) ever since a magic trick went wrong. He used to be the worlds best magician and now, thanks to damage to his spine, he cannot do any physical function apart from controlling his neck, even though his mental faculties remain intact. Aishwarya is the devoted nurse who looks after him, taking complete care of him. Hrithik seems to have coped well – he’s written a book, given speeches on how to live with dignity and also runs his own radio station. One day, suddenly, without any catalyst or reason, he decides he wants to die and appeals for euthanasia. Most of the film is about this ‘fight’, the battle to choose his own death.

Other sundry characters include Suhel Seth as a simpering doctor who alternates between huge grins and sad faces with moist eyes, Shernaz, as Hrithiks lawyer, who alternates between feistiness and sad faces with moist eyes, and Aditya who comes out of the blue as Hrithik’s student for magic and alternates between inane jokes, silly behaviour and sad faces with moist eyes. You get the idea ?

What gets my goat is that its un-intelligently made. With a little bit of more thought, less creative push, it could’ve actually been an interesting film. Most galling is the lack of character development. What is the paraplegic thinking, what goes on in the nurses mind ? Why are the doing what they’re doing ? Most things in the film, Hrithik’s behaviour, Aishwarya’s actions, Shernaz, Suhel even the lawyer and the judge, never make sense or we have no way of knowing their motivations. And since we cant understand any of it, the film drags, like a Chinese water torture (shown in the film), it dulls the mind, scene by excruciating scene. And the dark colours of the film aid and abet depression.

I really think that no one in the industry moves better than Hrithik. There is a grace and ease of movement about him, a fluidity while dancing or even just shimmying around, that places him head and shoulders above everybody. This is aptly demonstrated once again in the film. I really do believe that Aishwarya remains the most beautiful woman on screen. And her emoting has steadliy got better. Again, this film does everything to convince you of the same. Apart from that its tough to find a single redeeming feature

This is a storyteller who, possessed by an idea, didn’t bother to flesh it out properly. Either that or I’m one of those dumb idiots who just does not get it, who cannot recognize a thing of beauty if it waltzed right in front of my eyes.


Vikas said...

my exact feeling was .. WTF just happened !?
i SLB is a hollywood wanna be..tch tch

yves said...

Well at least it's a relief to read that Mrs Bachchan does her job well, even though somehow it's annoying: how come she doesn't get hired by a good director to make a landmark movie?

Anonymous said...’s what I thought of this movie. I saw each character (especially that of Ethan Mascarenhas) more as a concept than as a character per se. And each concept angled towards the much broader and universal concept of ‘individualism’ and ‘life’. Ethan Mascarenhas and all the other characters around him epitomized this by simply proving that:
An individual (Ethan Mascarenhas in this case):
• Has the sole right and authority over his life. And he ought to appraise his own existence logically and independently, without contradicting the facts of reality
• Choose his course of life and decide what’s best for him, thereby seeking (genuine) happiness, and
• Take a firm and bold stand and have the courage to turn his decision into reality.
Was it necessary to explain all this with a quadriplegic protagonist? Well maybe yes, because that’s what gave the creator a strong plot to justify such intense concepts...I mean, how else could they have explained that “Living life is not the same as avoiding death”? And wasn’t Ethan justifying this exactly? It was his love for life, for living his life, his love for his independence and happiness that he was fighting for. And Euthanasia was just the last leg of this very long and bold fight. Euthanasia wasn’t an overnight decision for such a person. Well maybe the movie did not categorically state this in as many words. I don’t think it was required either.
Perhaps you came out questioning ‘what was he/ she thinking?’, while I came out only with some answers about ‘how one ought to appraise life and his own existence as an individual ’. And these answers came directly from the plot and the dialogues of the movie. I did not make any extra attempt to dig them out of the movie. Whether it was the home-court scene of ‘Who has a right on Ethan’s life or his death for that matter’ or whether it was the constant dialogues between the lawyer friend and the nurse about ‘Deciding what’s good for Ethan and his life’...and how beautiful were those dialogues where a mother accepted the fact that as a mother ‘You may give birth and life to your child, but you don’t give him the right to live. Because that’s something that he must choose for himself’!
Yes, maybe there were emotions (and tears) attached to most part of the movie, but none of them was irrelevant or in any way exaggerated. The smiles and laughter were as much deserved as were the sobs. The plot demanded each emotion, irrespective of whether the audience asked for it or not...because the movie wasn’t made for audience appreciation in the first place, it was made to justify the plot (and the concept) behind it. And thankfully the only emotion that did not sweep in was ‘sympathy’ or ‘pity’...and that was what made the movie worth every penny that I spent.
I have never liked Aishwarya (neither as an actress, nor for her face value), nor have I ever enjoyed Hrithik’s performances. But this movie/ plot made me watch the duo three times in a stretch of 2 weeks. Perhaps what caught my eye was the effortless effort that would have gone in for a ‘greek-god’-dancer like Hrithik to use only his face as a means of communicating with the audience and for a dame-doll like Aishwarya to keep her face value all aside while portraying the characters.
Actually, I don’t remember appreciating an SLB movie before this either.
Somewhere in your blog you’ve mentioned Ethan as a paraplegic...he was quadriplegic in the movie.