Friday, November 19, 2010

Guzarish: A caricature

A serious matter such as Euthanasia ought to deserve a better tale than Guzarish, a movie by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. I watched the movie yesterday and came out disappointed.    At the end of three-hour extended marathon, Euthanasia came across as merely an excuse to paint an artistic canvas and create lush and the kind of opulent movie sets a cinematographer would love to create to win the the chance for an Oscar. But apart from the way the film looks- which by itself is unbelievable since it looks straight out of an ancient tale- there's very little else the film offers. You don't root for Euthanasia, you don't vote against it, you don't know why we should argue for it or against it.

The movie's central character Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan)- an ex-magician- has been paraplegic for 14 long years after a magic act went horribly wrong. He is looked after by his nurse, Sofia D'Souza (Aishwarya Rai) who dresses herself in long gowns- the kind you'd probably see in period dramas of 1920s and 1930s Spanish / Portuguese movies- bright red lipstick and a rose in her hair , and also by a few housemaids.

Guzarish could have been much more, considering there are many levels of Euthanasia that could have been explored on account of its complexity. The fact that there are dozens of cases pending in courts in many nations around the world, including India, and where the authorities find themselves in dilemma- are we going against nature, is it right for someone to take his / her own life- is in itself proof of its complexity. Performances are average. Hrithik's performance may be one of his best, but he is clearly not one of our better actors. Rai was just okay too. But to see the topic being reduced to an almost caricature- such as the court scene played out at the palatial mansion where Mascarenhas lives and fought by melodramatic lawyers (over-acted prosecutor v/s  melodramatic and teary-eyed defense attorney)- is disheartening. The movie is average at best, but mostly drags on, especially towards the end and it's long-drawn climax. The good part was that I got to see the trailer of Aamir Khan's upcoming production (directed by wife Kiran), 'Dhobi Ghat', in the interval. Now that's a movie I am dying to watch.

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