SHAMITABH brings to light the weight of sound and the brilliance of voice modulation. SHAMITABH also marries technological impulses to creativity to bring out a subject that is sensitive in nature. In short, R Balki brings into sharp focus the genius of Amitabh Bachchan.
Having said that, Balki could have made this film much more impactful had he not lengthened the melodrama and shaved off over 25 minutes. Methinks the script was meandering in no man's land into the second half when all that the protagonists had to do was call a truce. The scene in a nursery class as well as the 'drunken encounter' with Robert De Niro was something that Balki could have done away with. Ditto a few other scenes that dragged the script. Cheeni kum tha
, Mr Balki, as opposed to your earlier films!
In a small town of Igatpuri lives a dumb boy, Daanish (Dhanush), who knows nothing other than films. He eats, breathes and lives movies. He tries to run to Mumbai, the city of dreams, but comes back because his mother ensures that she keeps him home by feigning illness. But after her death, there is no stopping Daanish who boards a bus to try out his luck in Bollywood.
The initial scenes when Daanish comes to Mumbai and lands at a film shoot, brings to mind the struggles of Mithun Chakraborty well chronicled in film glossies down the years. There's also a reference to south superstar Rajnikanth as Daanish gets a conductor's job. Also Read - Amitabh Bachchan: I would want to learn from Dhanush
The lad has intensity and an Assistant Director Akshara (Akshara Hassan) notices this spark when she finds him being shooed away by the security guards. By a twist of fate, her doctor father connects with his friend in Helsinki, Germany, where they are experimenting on a voice box to be fitted near the larynx. Daanish is the lucky recipient.
Next is to find a voice that will carry weight. They find that in Amitabh, played by Amitabh Bachchan, a Bollywood reject who lives in a cemetery.
The two make music. The movies are a hit and soon Daanish is the blue-eyed boy of the industry. But with success and fame comes pride which proves to be his undoing.
The first half is captured beautifully where Daanish's rags to riches story unfolds on the screen amidst adulation. You wonder how a dumb boy is able to speak and reach cult status. Balki satisfies that questioning mind soon enough.
In the second half, when a problem arises between Daanish and Amitabh, Balki drags it to a point where even you as an audience want to get up and patch the two together. The end however compensates for this lapse. Also Read: SHAMITABH Music Review
Watch Amitabh Bachchan's action speak louder than his words in the last scene. After a long time, one gets to see the Amitabh of the 80s that made him the rage that he was. A classy performance with intensity in the eyes to match. Brought back memories of AGNEEPATH where he carried the film on the strength of his voice alone.
Well done, Sir.
Dhanush (after RAANJHANAA), gets even better. This lad without six packs or a fair complexion or any of the necessities in external appearance required to make it big, laps up the scenes with his performance.
Akshara Hassan who makes her debut and who gets the pride of place when the names roll, is a class act. Subtle, gentle, cool, confident and innocent all rolled into one. She holds her own in her own sweet way standing between Amitabh and Dhanush to steal key scenes. Also Read - Amitabh Bachchan: I have a lot of flaws
A few smart dialogues are worth applauding. ''Aap media wale shakal aur awaaz ke beech mein bhi nafrat paida kar skate hai,
'' replies Daanish to a question throwing to light the insecurities most actors face in looking good.
''I respect the dead not the living,'' says Amitabh, full of sarcasm thinking of how he was shunned when he knocked on their doors 40 years ago and how the same industry is now lapping up his voice.
SHAMITABH is a film that tries to be different and is refreshingly cute.
If you are an Amitabh Bachchan fan, this film cannot be missed. Not at any cost. The four-star rating is especially for the 'Don
' whose 'Naseeb
' sky-rocketed after he broke the chains in 'Zanjeer
'. This is Amitabh at his vintage best.
And if you happen to be a Dhanush fan, it's all the more reason why this film should be seen.