After the disaster that was Saawariya, one would imagine, Sanjay Leela Bhansali would have opted for voluntary retirement. But the movie maker instead chose to make another film, Guzaarish with slightly mixed results. This one deals with the rather controversial topic of Euthanasia – mercy killing.
Hritik is Ethan,a quadriplegic former magician who after a fourteen year battle with his body has finally decided to depart the physical world. Surrounding him are an ensemble of people who have varying opinions about his decision. Sofia, his caretaker and nurse, played by the Bachchan Bahu, Aishwarya Rai; Omar, Ethan’s bumbling but kind hearted magician protege, played convincingly by Aditya Roy Kapoor; Devyani, Ethan’s long time friend and lawyer played by the very talented Shernaz Patel and finally Dr. Naik, Ethan’s counseling physician as well as friend, played by the charismatic Suhel Seth. Appearances by others include Ash Chandler as the man responsible for the accident that put Ethan in his current state, Makrand Deshpande as Sofia’s abusive husband, Rajit Kapoor as the Public prosecutor opposing Ethan’s plea and the ageless beauty Nafisa Ali as Ethan’s mother.
As always, Hritik gets under the skin of the character he portrays, which of course is no surprise. Aishwarya does manage to match his game in some scenes but falls flat in some. And what is with that stiff dance in the song “Udi Udi”? Shernaz and Suhel’s stage background is apparent as they flawlessly portray their respective characters. Additional Kudos to Shernaz who looks absolutely stunning even without much makeup! New-comer Aditya Roy Kapoor will probably need to work on his afro if he intends to do other roles, but otherwise manages to play his part well.
Set in Goa, the movie weaves in the ethnic background quite well into the story telling and the story itself. The scenery of the holiday state have been used as picturesque backgrounds in multiple scenes. SLB is known to use visual aides to highlight specific emotions in a scene. Although very few compared to his other movies, the same technique is visible in many portions of the movie. Although these do help in the story-telling, at times it is cumbersome to interpret some of them, unless of course you are a theatre major!
I have never been a very good judge of hindi music, so it would be unfair for me to rate the gaana-bajaana of the flick. All I can say is that the lyrics have been penned with considerable thought as they do convey the underlying emotions quite effectively.
The movie has some sub-plots which felt unnecessary while some that were just left hanging. At the end I felt that the movie didn’t truly convey anything of value or substance. Sure, I felt sorry for the plight of the once magnificent now quadriplegic magician which is heightened when he is unable to do trivial tasks like swatting a fly. But that’s about it. There were no emotions stirred for or against the topic of euthanasia, nor was I wowed by the story of this man’s petition for the said mercy-killing. And when the movie ended it felt abrupt and just overtly preachy.
All in all, the movie may not be a BLACK but it is worth a dekho for the performances from the cast, especially the protagonist.