Jaya Biswas

Film: Guzaarish
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Monikangana Dutta, Suhel Seth
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Rating: Very good
 

Hrithik fans can heave a sigh of relief and finally rejoice, for the actor has redeemed himself with his fantastic performance in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest offing, Guzaarish, after giving a box office dud like Kites.
Guzaarish is one of those films that is not just meant to entertain you, but makes an attempt to shake you by the intensity of its content. Like Bhansali’s Black, Guzaarish too strives to survive on the spirit of a central character — in this case a quadriplegic, whose life depends more on machines than anything else. Yet, the film tugs at your heartstrings because you can’t help but feel compassionate towards Ethan and his lifeless life. It is a simple story woven in a fascinating web of fervent sentiments, superb cinematography and interesting dialogues.
The film sees the return of one of the hottest pair in Bollywood — Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Director Sanjay Leela Bansali is donning the director’s hat after three years, this time dealing with a sensitive subject like euthanasia or mercy killing.
Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) used to be the best magician in town (Goa, to be precise). But a fatal accident left him paralysed and bedridden for life. But Ethan believes in the theory of ‘smile and the world smiles with you’; we see him hosting a radio show ‘Hello Zindagi’ (ironical indeed) where he spreads hope to listeners through his inimitable wit and humour. For 12-long-years, he’s being aided by a nurse, Sofia D’Souza (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), who’s also his companion, caregiver and much more.
On the 14th anniversary of his accident, Ethan decides to make a petition to the court for euthanasia (which he humourously calls ‘Ethanasia’). This leaves his best friend and lawyer Devyani (Shernaz Patel) and Sofia in a frenzy. Meanwhile, a young lad Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor) enters Ethan’s world with an earnest desire to learn magic from him. Impressed by Omar’s dedication to magic Ethan agrees to pass on his legacy to him.
The indoors as well as outdoors add so much to the film. There’s no refuting that cinematographer Sudeep K Chatterjee has created some really enthralling visuals that’s sure to stay with you for a very long time. The first half is breezy and you don’t realise when it gets over. The second half is a bit of a drag. Like Kal Ho Naa Ho, Guzaarish’s narrative is light-hearted with many funny moments. Sample this: Ethan says, ‘God pe bharosa hai, isiliye I am dying to meet him.’ Also, the scene in which Sofia gives Ethan a leg massage is hilarious.
The songs in Guzaarish are meaningful which seamlessly blend with the situations. Tera Zikr Hai Ya Itra Hai is exceptional while Udi is foot tapping.
Now let’s come to Bhansali’s recklessness. The film’s plot has an uncanny resemblance to the Spanish film, The Sea Inside (2004). Based on the real life story of a sailor-turned-poet Ramdon Sampredo, who became a quadriplegic following an accident, the film dwells on his three-decade long struggle to get the government grant him euthanasia. Sampredo, immaculately essayed by Spanish heartthrob Javier Bardem, had two women in his life, a lawyer and a nurse. One only wishes Bhansali had bothered to change the characters in this one. And not just the plot, few scenes where Hrithik is seen on a wheelchair staring at the sea is a straight lift from Bardem’s film. Again, the scene where Hrithik exhibits his magic tricks on stage is an exact copy of Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige.
Also the director must have decided to give his favourite theme ‘blue’ a break and opt for black and red instead, which again we see in opulence — be it Ash’s long frilly gowns, Hrithik’s performance attire or the stage backdrop. We don’t mind it at all!
A unique love story, passion in Guzaarish is expressed with subtle smirks and gentle smiles. Ash’s looks pretty in her classy dresses and aprons. The scene where he burst into a rapturous dance performance in a resto-bar is worth a mention. Suhel Seth as Ethan’s doctor and Nafisa Ali as Ethan’s mom do their parts well. Aditya Roy Kapoor is effortless. After Action Replayy and Guzaarish, this VJ-turned-actor is definitely making his presence felt.
As for Hrithik, Guzaarish is likely to act as the much-required springboard to bounce back.

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