Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush, Akshara Haasan
Director: R. Balki
What’s Good: Shamitabh is a novel idea and needs to be credited for its out of the box idea and presentation. If marveling an interesting plot was any less, Shamitabh raises the bar even higher with stellar performances from Dhanush and Amitabh Bachchan. The film comes with a much-needed fresh script in times of cheap South-Indian masala remakes, once again bringing back our faith in honest and thoughtful writing.
What’s Bad: In the second half the film stretches into a dull plot that touches the mediocrity levels with unwanted twists. The addition of certain dramatic elements which bring high predictability in the plot spoil this otherwise brilliant effort.
Loo break: Depends on your urgency!
Watch or Not?: Shamitabh is definitely a one-time watch for its efforts to stand out in the industry that thrives on remakes and haphazard biopics. The film is a treat for all Amitabh Bachchan as well as Dhanush fans since the film in its true sense is a mixture of their solid excellence. I would say watch Shamitabh for the idea that it is built on and of course for the flawless performances.
Amitabh Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan) is a chronic alcoholic who enjoys his drink in his 500 rupee rented hut in the middle of a graveyard. Once come to Mumbai with the dream of becoming a Bollywood star, Amitabh after facing rejections due to his non-heroic voice eventually drives himself the alcohol lane.
Danish (Dhanush) on the other hand is a deaf and mute guy who is smitten by Hindi cinema right from his young days. The small town boy harbors a dream to become a mainstream hero and sets out for Mumbai to chase his dream. After struggling to meet directors, Danish meets the kind-hearted Assistant Director Akshara who is impressed by Danish’s talent and decides to help him. She is the mediator between the two.
As Amitabh becomes the voice behind Dhanish’s face and papparazzi makes him ‘Shamitabh’ – the star, the budding ego clashes between the two create rifts.
Will they hold on to their fame as Shamitabh and work like a team or go against one another for their egos is what’s left to see.
Shamitabh Review: Script Analysis
While most directors shy away from experimenting, R Balki is definitely someone who like to portray novel ideas. With Shamitabh, he builds an enticing script with two lead characters who have a lot in common and yet are constantly pitting against one another just to satisfy their egos. The real deal of this story is its simplicity and novelty. Dialogues are brilliant and considering Amitabh Bachchan gets to flaunt his gifted voice with them, it is a treat. Starting with the good things, the script does best with the sarcastic and whiny dialogues of Amitabh’s character. His drunk antics are enjoyable. Also blending the songs very well into the film, specifically the picturization and concept of the song ‘Piddly’ is highly entertaining as it takes a dig at the current Bollywood songs which have absurd lyrics and execution.
The moment in the film where actress Rekha has been cast into was quite a hyped one and I have to say it is a smart capture by Balki. The problems with the film is that the script has some loopholes too; such as after becoming a successful star, it is practically impossible for him to keep conveying his speech to Amitabh via messages in order to match the lip sync. Also after a point the belittling and putting each other down antics get a little too stretched in the story and that results in dull moments.
Shamitabh Review: Star Performances
Amitabh Bachchan seems to be getting better with his age and this time the actor enthralls us with his grim and drunk character. His personality speaks volumes already but that baritone voice is even more impressive and even Rekha seems to agree with that in the film!
Dhanush once again proves his acting mettle with a riveting performance of a deaf and mute person. He is exceptional in each frame and it is impressive how tall he stands in spite of having a legend like Amitabh Bachchan in the same frame. The actor looks completely comfortable doing the dubbing acts and is flawless with his body language which is the key element for his character. This is certainly a remarkable performance for him.
Akshara Haasan debuts with this film and she makes quite a strong presence. As a feisty, tom-boyish assistant director, she fits the bill perfectly. Other than working on her accent a little since she has a South-Indian touch to it, it will be interesting to see her take up more challenging roles in Bollywood. Amidst the two biggies, she holds her character with a good grace.
Shamitabh Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
For me, Shamitabh was interesting right from its trailers and since R Balki takes the director’s seat, it made me even more impatient. Although with the expectations that I went for the film, it turned out a little disappointing. Balki builds the plot beautifully in the first half where he introduces us to his leads Dhanush and Amitabh and how their confluence results in Shamitbh. Just when you are appreciating his quality to come up with an out of the box plot, the director seemed to have hit a roadblock in the second as he takes a side track that is dull and drag.
The editing is not tight enough and hence the monologues in the second half run really long and lose the interest completely. An unnecessary twist in the second half spoils this story. The driving force for Balki in this film is his cast. Stretching over two and a half hours this film minus its commercial and dramatic second half is a delight for its fine direction and cinematography.
Shamitabh Review: The Last Word
Shamitabh may not appeal to the masses for its unique storyline and is more so for the niche audiences. The brilliant performances by Dhanush and Amitabh Bachchan and an emotional climax make up for this faulty plot that drags post interval. For its novel ideas and stellar showcasing of acting talents, I am going with a 3/5 for this film.
Shamitabh releases on 6th February, 2015.
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