Saturday, 20 November 2010

Film Review: Guzaarish

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Screenplay: Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Bhavani Iyer. Producers: Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Ronnie Screwvala. Cinematorgrapher: Sudeep Chatterjee. Score: Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Editor: Hemal Kothari. Studio: UTV Motion Pictures. Starring: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Aditya Roy Kapur, Monikangana Dutta, Rajit Kapoor and Shernaz Patel. Running Time: 135 Minutes.

The reader will please excuse me for what is an abrupt and curt review of Guzaarish. A Bollywood movie with no real distinction from others. At least this is how it appeared to my ignorant perspective. There was singing, dancing, mediocre acting, some characteristic Indian nod/shake head-bobbing and actors with disturbingly light bleached skin. Bollywood movies conform to their own conventions that my Western inculcate mind cannot wrap itself around. The singing and dancing while doubtlessly impressive always appear to be random, over-the-top and disconnected from the main thrust of the story being told. This odd juxtaposition has always hindered me from seeing these movies for what they are: cultural artefacts that are as complex and profound as most Western films, if not more so. A billion people cannot be wrong, but this singular reviewer cannot identify.

The one really alluring aspect of Guzaarish is the landscape of Southern India. The story is set in Goa, a former Portuguese colony founded along the Western coastline of tropical India. A picturesque setting that offers much by way of visual and sensual pleasure. Aishwaria Rai is a resplendent as ever and offers the viewer the strongest dramatic performance is what is a excessively dramatic tale. But then again aren’t all Bollywood movies? Or is my ignorance being revealed in an incandescent bloom that the Bollywood regular will spot from a mile away?

Unfortunately the drama is lost on me. In the same way that a Bollywood marathon undertaken with an ex-girlfriend of mine in the humble setting of Tongaat on the Northern Natal Coast was lost. I would urge all Indian fellas out there, who can stomach all the grandiose dramaturgy of Hindi movies, to take your Wife, you Girlfriend, your Mom, your Sister, or your Niece to see Guzaarish as they will most certainly love the romanticism on display. And I would advise either some ice-cream, a slice of chocolate cake or a good curry afterwards, as comfort eating will be required afterward.

Rating : 60/100

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