Guzaarish: A film from the emperor of self indulgence

Producers: Ronnie Screwvala, Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Aditya Roy Kapoor, Shernaz Patel, Suhel Seth, Nafisa Ali

MUMBAI: Guzaarish is yet another film from the emperor of self indulgence, a high budget film that some people may like to watch for Hrithik and some others out of curiosity. The maker’s fancy to live his life through his films as he averred in the media, does not live up to the audience expectations or box office demands. Yes, this also another pretentious Hindi film in English in most parts.

Guzaarish is about Hrithik Roshan, once a renowned magician suffering from quadriplegia after a fall from height during one of his shows. Strangely, he is seen performing only in his hometown Goa all the time! With Aishwarya Rai to nurse him, Hrithik has been consigned to one room in a palatial but dilapidated mansion since 12 years; why can’t he be taken out in open air or shown the sun once in a while is not considered in the script!

It is probably because you are supposed to sympathise with him. In fact, when Hrithik comes out once to visit a courtroom and basking in the open air, you feel as exhilarated as him after all that dark and drab atmosphere!

A hero in such themes would be expected to win sympathies of the audience by being larger than life. Hrithik runs a popular radio talk show instilling confidence in people on the verge of giving up hope and life, till suddenly he decides to give up his own life and moves the court to allow him to do so. He also starts advocating euthanasia on his radio slot seeking public opinion for his cause! Well, Hrithik manages to do all but gather sympathy for his plight and Aditya Roy Kapoor clowning around him foils whatever little he achieves. Things keep happening which hardly look relevant to the story.

If the story and the narration fail to touch you, performances don’t do much either. Hrithik is tantrum throwing pest at times, perverse at times and funny in his cynic way at others; considering the parameters and ill-defined role, he still manages a decent performance. Aishwarya Rai is all dedication to her ward, shading silent tears for him; is that nursing? But then, that’s the love angle in the film, again silent. She is her usual self. Shernaz Patel seems more determined to set a precedent in annuls of law by winning a euthanasia plea than concerned about her client, very stagy. Suhel Sheth is a misfit as a doctor shading tears for his patient while in real life he is a crusader fighting against all things wrong on various national TV channels. Aditya Roy Kapoor looks too full of life and verve to fit the situation.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali dons many hats in Guzaarish. He is the director, music director, a joint screenplay writer and the producer of the film. He opts for his usual treatment to create an ambience of sadness, an aura of no hope. Yet, he wants his lead actor to be funny and jovial. Even while seeking death, everything comes out as make-believe, superficial. Having decided to score the music himself for the film, he sets his songs to familiar tunes from the past. Some numbers sound soothing but slow down the pace of the film further. Dialogue is peppered with wry humour.

Guzaarish has not been the most anxiously awaited film looking at its poor opening show collections and since the word of mouth is not expected to be in favour, the film has all the makings of a commercial debacle. Not to mention, such theme merits less than 10 per cent of the monies spent here.

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