Guzaarish - Movie review


Guzaarish
U/A; Drama
Dir: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Monikangana Dutta, and Shernaz Patel


Rating: 3/5

What it's about: Trust Sanjay Leela Bhansali to think out of the box even when he takes two superstars to play the lead roles in his film. His new offering, Guzaarish, doesn't aim to address the problems faced by paraplegics or promise to make their lives better, or to even make people sensitive to their problems. If you are hoping to see a film about all that, you would be disappointed because Bhansali's take is something else. This is the story of Ethan Mascarenhas (Roshan), once a famous magician who is now bedridden for the last 12 years, following a fatal accident on stage while performing. Sophia (Aishwarya), his caretaker, has devoted her entire life to taking care of him. Ethan hosts a show for a radio station from his bedroom, where he takes calls and helps people find solutions to their problems and fills their lives with hope and happiness. Then one day, out of the blue, he asks his lawyer Devyani Dutta (Shernaz Patel) to file a petition in court for mercy killing or as he calls it, 'Project Ethan-asia'. His nurse, lawyer and doctor (Suhel Seth) are all against this decision. His fight with the law and the people around him to let him have his way forms a large part of the film.

What's hot: For starters, Guzaarish is nothing like Bollywood fans have seen before. It's admirable because Bhansali treads the dangerous path by daring to make a film with his 'hero' fighting to die. The director's triumph lies in handling a sensitive subject with a lot of care and caution. Although the fear of death hovers over the entire film, the treatment isn't maudlin, so the film is neither grim nor depressing. It is a movie about conversation and simple observations. Ethan's character, with his irrepressible wit and dry humour, is endearing. Hrithik Roshan fits the role comfortably and adds his own nuances to it, making it larger than life in its own way. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan delivers a sincere performance but her character isn't consistent. What also works against her are her hairstyle and costumes. You just can't help constantly thinking that she is wearing clothes borrowed from Penelope Cruz in the film, Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Despite the inconsistencies, the best part of the film is the relationship between Ethan and Sophia. Their interactions with each other, the fights, arguments and the banter touch the right chords. In terms of setting, the film is spectacular -- the music and dialogues serve as perfect embellishments.

What's not: Here's a man who wants to die, who is so unhappy with his life that he is fighting to be allowed to die. But there is not one wet eye during the entire course of the film. Guzaarish is clever and relevant without being moving. It is bit too calculated to make the emotions really ring. Bhansali has ample scope to enhance his screenplay and spruce up the emotional quotient without getting melodramatic. The second half of the film is tiresome. The courtroom drama is dull and predictable. The track of the other jealous magician (Ash Chandler) is forced and unnecessary. Even the character of Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapur) seems incomplete. Ethan's mother (Nafisa Ali), appearing out of nowhere, only to die 10 minutes later adds nothing to the story. Monikangana Dutta is wasted in two scenes, which are barely there. Makrand Despande is grossly miscast as Sophia's husband. Instead of an ensemble piece, Bhansali ends up making a film that is focused on just two characters.

What's that: Why is Ethan kissing his assistant/girlfriend while on stage? There is so much emphasis on him going out for the first time. He has the means and the help so why doesn't Ethan step out more often? And considering his physical condition, why is he housed on the top floor instead of the lower level in that big a house?
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