This time, the level of engaging-ness in both the films is high. Both are love stories. Intense love stories.
In Kaabil, Hrithik Roshan loves his wife to death, whose death you will know soon enough, and he is ready to go to any lengths to avenge the wrong done to her. The last 20 minutes of Kaabil are so heart-in-the-mouth, you would be advised to hold your bursting bladders until the last drop of blood is shed and avenged on screen.
Kaabil is by far Sanjay Gupta’s best work, more emotional and dramatic than any of the violent sagas he has narrated in the past. Hrithik gives his finest, most searing and passionate performance since Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai and Guzaarish. His intensity of emotional expression is disturbing, haunting.
Raees is also a love story. And it’s got nothing to do with Mahira Khan. Shah Rukh Khan’s character of a man of ill-gotten power and wealth from Gujarat in the 1980s, is in love – with himself! Since I believe Shah Rukh in real life truly loves himself, the merger of the actor and the character is so brutally complete, it’s like watching mirror images of two identical souls — one off camera, the other on it — dressed in very different clothes.
Raees is also about how two heterosexual men can be bonded spiritually even while being on separate sides of the firing line. This is perhaps the first time in his entire career as a leading man that Shah Rukh has found a co-star who is compelling in his own right.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui, when pitched against Shah Rukh. truly defines what ‘The Clash Of The Titans’ means. He does with Shah Rukh what a Rishi Kapoor or Vinod Khanna could never do with Amitabh Bachchan.
Tit for tat.
The two actors keep us ruthlessly riveted to the screen. The movement of the plot is almost maniacal, to match the manic energy and mutinous passion of the two men at each other’s throats.
More than anything else, the two films this week prove what Hindi cinema has known all along. Nothing can replace the cult of superstardom. The mysticism, magic and magnetism that Khan and Roshan bring to the screen, have to be seen to be believed.
Don’t pick one between “Raees” and “Kaabil“. Go see both.
– By Subhash K. Jha