Monday, November 22, 2010

Guzaarish Movie Review: Emotional Manipulation, Mistakes in Guzaarish

Though Euthanasia/Mercy Killing and spinal injury are real problems, Bhansali chooses to distance himself from reality and fashions it with dreamlike opulence for Guzaarish. Save for Hrithik Roshan’s performance and a few poignant moments, there are many reasons why Guzaarish is not a good movie, in its overall context.

Story of Guzaarish: Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan), once a famous magician, is bedridden for the last 12 years, due to a fatal accident while performing on state. His caretaker, Sophia (Aishwarya Rai) has made it her life’s mission to be by his side, and make his life better in every way she could. She also finds Ethan’s company better than her drunken painter of a husband (Makarand Deshpande). Ethan hosts a radio show from his bedroom, that gives hope and a little salt to people’s lives. Out of the blue, one day, Ethan asks his lawyer Devyani (Shernaz Patel) to file a petition for mercy killing; he has a name for it ‘Project Ethanasia’. His loved ones (read the doctor, the lawyer and his nurse) are against this decision and so are many strangers who hear him on the radio show. Despite opposition, he is firm about his fight against the law, and soon his friends come around, understanding his point of view.

Plus points of Guzaarish: Sanjay Leela Bhansali has taken a less tread path of a hero fighting for his death, against the world who simply does not realize his suffering. The director’s forte is evident when he focuses on simple things of life and unspoken feelings. For instance, the part where Hrithik and Aishwarya are in the car en route to the court, they come across a scarecrow, which makes Hrithik reminisce on how that thing has more movement in its arms, than him. Poignant moments, specially between Hrithik and Aishwarya and his own sense of ‘What a Wonderful World’ it is, pervades over every grief and obstacle in his life. The movie is spectacularly shot, with eye-catching visuals.

Minus points about Guzaarish:
1. Somehow one feels that the director has taken the route of emotion manipulation, some scenes look forced to elicit sympathy. For instance, Sanjay Leela Bhansali goes one step ahead by putting one more dramatic turn, making the whole thing look contrived. He had done so in his previous films too, but in this one, it sticks out like a sore thumb For instance, the timing of Ethan’s mother’s death just at the helm of the ‘emotional scene’ of him fighting with the rain drops, look far-fetched.
2. In practicality, even the emotional scenes do not hold water. Yes, you may choke with emotion when you see a lone, helpless Hrithik not even able to bat his eyelids against the water drops falling from the roof overhead. But pray, why is he made to rest on the top floor in that big a house, in spite of his sensitive (or should it be ‘numb’) condition?
3. There is too much melodrama; the emotional appeal could have been effective without going over the top, the ridiculous dialogues definitely do not ease the proceedings. The plot goes nowhere. The courtroom drama is lackluster and banal. Things like the court getting shifted to Ethan’s house look silly and were not needed. Also, Rajat Kapoor,(lawyer opposite Ethan) quite stupidly says that he is of unsound mind. That is funny, he could have said that Ethan has a sound mind, and he should be allowed to live. Why complicate things?
4. The character of Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapur) does not really carry the story forward. Even if his father had a role in destroying Ethan’s life, why will he send his son to Ethan, even if he is repenting buckets? He could have very well, taught magic to his own son(considering Ethan is seemingly not able to do so) and gone to apologize himself.
5. The mentally sharp Ethan could have used every iota of his energy to teach a card trick but we do not see any of that. It is fine to show Ethan’s glory days but at least they should have shown Aditya learning ‘SOMETHING’ from him in front of our eyes.
6. Ethan talks about being positive, offers hope and inspiration but there is hardly any scene that indicates that. Even, one of the early scenes where a lad is so thankful for his helpful puts Ethan in a passive, receptive light.
7. The climax is predictable and long-drawn
8. The film wears a synthetic, conditioned look that takes away the pain and angst from the film. Ethan may be paralytic from his lower abdomen but he has a well groomed beard, hair is conditioned well; while his nurse from the Victorian era wears eye-popping blouse and red tart lip gloss. The film is more hung on the character’s appearance rather than the film.
9. The ‘should I die or not’ question to his listeners is stretched beyond limit, till you want to say ‘Okay enough”
10. Scenes like the trick with the white sheets gifted by the guru Ethan to his enterprising student, is confusing: is it really a trick or a metaphoric statement? Whatever it is, it leads nowhere.

Best scenes in Guzaarish:
1. Hrithik taking on the raindrops
2. Hrithik singing ‘what a wonderful world’ happy and positive, even during a funeral.
3. The conflict of opinions between Shernaz Patel and Aishwarya Rai where the latter says that there are other ways to getting Ethan(Hrithik) killed, rather than going through the petition.

Performances in Guzaarish:
Hrithik Roshan’s scintillating performance in Guzaarish, is simply the best performance of 2010. He has truly charm each and everyone with this role, one of his finest performances. Aishwarya Rai does a good job too, but she ends up more as a supporting character to the protagonist, as was intended. Shernaz Patel is the one to watch out for, though a tad over the top in some of the scenes, she is brilliant. Monikangana Dutta was not convincing even in the two scene role and Suhel Seth looked like he was given to crocodile tears.

Conclusion: An exercise at emotional manipulation, Guzaarish is moving only because of Hrithik Roshan’s performance.


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