You should watch Shamitabh because it is a courageous movie. No, not like Nebraska or Whiplash. But in Bollywood , it takes a lot to just steer away from ‘a love angle’ and make a film around an ageing actor and well, quite frankly, a non- ‘looker’
But first who should give this film a miss? Anyone who is looking for a tidy little story that will have a conventional ending will be disappointed. By the way, I didn’t care for the ending either. It was too cliché, too literal. Also, anyone who is on a nit picking mission and challenges the technology on which the story is based will have a lot to complain about.
Simply put, logic does not apply. But that is what creative license is about. The meaning of this term was patiently explained to me by Mr Arvind Gaur over an impromptu dinner. We had just watched Tara, his touching play about gender bias and I pointed out that conjoint twins are always of the same sex. He replied that artists were entitled to some liberty to get their point across and now I fully endorse this
The point Mr Balki must be trying to make is that cinema is team work and the actor being its visible face, unfairly walks away with all the accolades. This applies to every creative field and to life in general. And for what its worth, he makes the point well, with some excellent dialogues which retain the wit of his former films (remember ghaas phoos and tangdi kabab from Cheeni Kum). He has assembled the perfect cast who convincingly play out the story. Dhanesh gives a powerful performance which matches Amitabh’s intensity. Kamal Hassan’s daughter is pretty dumb , I’ll retract, she’s pretty and dumb ! But her lackadaisical acting skills make you notice the others more keenly.
The picturisation of the song ‘ piddly si baatein’ is sarcasm at its best. Even the film within the film’Lifebuoy’ is a nice statement on the whimsical side of filmdom and would have jelled had it not been a bit of an overstatement!! And that is the problem with this film. It is stretched and completely stalls at places. I have noticed this happens to most ad -film makers who venture into full length feature films. These creative geniuses are good at telling stories in a short span of time (under a minute) but give them two hours and they’ll go amok, lose track, run out of steam and compensate by overdramatising the end. The brick wall in Parineeta, the horse chase in Jaane tu ya jaane na, the dharna in Cheeni kum , the blood bath in Rang de Basanti are a few that come to mind.
So the final verdict. The movie does not live up to the expectations of a Balki- Amitabh combo . It is good time pass, but probably not paisa vasool . In fact with such blatant product placement and surrogate advertising, we shouldn’t be charged but paid to see the film.