‘Hawaizaada’….Khurrana dreams as audience sleeps!

MUMBAI: Hawaizaada is a biopic and depicts the life of a school dropout but a gifted instinctive scientist, Shivkar Bapuji Talpade, a scion of a zamindar family from Mumbai, who builds a plane called “Marutsakha”. The problem with making a biopic on Talpade is that there is little information about him and his achievements on record or is endorsed. Whatever is available is from family sources and the near and dear ones though the claim is made that among those who witnessed his plane fly was the Maharaja of Baroda State.

Ayushmann Khurrana plays Talpade, a guy who failed eight times in fourth class and finally ended up with his nephew as his bench mate in the same class (while the records say he was a scholar in Sanskrit and Vedas, which he is seen quoting at random in the film despite having been depicted as a failure in education). He can even correct the quotes from Vedas of his Guru, Pandit Subbaraya Shastry, played by Mithun Chakraborty; Mithun is supposed to be a scholar who is said to have authored a book, Vaimanik Shastra, and under whose guidance Khurrana has designed his aeroplane.

Khurrana is seen doing a lot of things on rote. One minute he is in school, the next he is a member of the band which plays on occasions like weddings. Despite a traditional Marathi family background and a strict father, he is a wayward man in the film. He gets drunk with his band mates, mistakes a theatre hall for his home and having done that, falls in love with a tamasha dancer, a Maharashtrian form of dancing enjoyed by shahukars (feudal lords) as well as lower strata. As a result, Khurrana’s character swings like a pendulum; even his interest in designing a plane looks cursory.

Producers: Reliance Entertainment, Vishal Gurnani, Rajesh Bagga

Director: Vibhu VIrender Puri

Cast: Ayushman Khurrana , Pallavi Sharda, Mithun Chakraborty, Jayant Kriplani, Naman Jain

Mithun Chakraborty spots the genius in Khurrana and asks him to join him in his research which, for Khurrana, is convenient since he has been thrown out of his own house by his father, Jayant Kriplani. Khurrana and Mithun are enthusiastic but have no funds to work on their project. A Maharaja helps them and they are on again. However, Khurrana’s attention is divided between his project and his lady love, Pallavi Sharda, the tamasha girl. The social taboos, the girl knows, won’t let her marry Khurrana so she leaves the scene to spend time with the Nizam, leaving the field open for Khurrana to design his aeroplane!

When Khurrana finds his lady love again, she has given up tamasha and has taken to making a honest living: she now cleans cotton for making beds! But she is not doing too well and her landlord is making passes at her. Khurrana steals Mithun’s tome on airplane designs and sells it to British rulers who do not want an Indian to hog credit for any inventions! He redeems Sharda with that money. But, Mithun dies of shock when he learns that the man he trusted has betrayed him and sold the only thing he loved in his life. It is now for repentant Khurrana to fulfil Mithun’s dream, obviously.

Hawaizaada is one heck of film. Described as a biopic, which it is not, the best description it fits is weird. There is no consistency in the narration, it takes sudden jumps, maintains no continuity nor establishes a sequence. It starts going haywire from the very beginning and continues to do so all through its unnecessarily prolonged 157 minute of running time offering no respite. Direction is hackneyed. The director’s idea of depicting the 1890s British era, with one studio set of dark blackish hue (more suited to a horror film) and using lowlight, is a total put off. Also, his idea of depicting the men and women of that era like they are today shows his lack of study. The film is full of songs that are not required at odd places, none of which are hit home or are hummable. Rest of the aspects of the film follow the same routine.

As for actors, it is negative for all of them. Khurrana does not fit the character of a Marathi of that era though he keeps uttering Marathi phrases on and off. Nothing is expected of him and he delivers nothing. Sharda is a let-down. Mithun decides to go overboard in the absence of a defined role. The film has been exempted from paying entertaining tax in UP, which will hardly be of help.

Hawaizaada is a very poor film which fails as a biopic as well as an entertainer.

‘Rahashya’….Taut thriller but….

Rahashya is inspired by the infamous double murder case in Noida of Arushi and her domestic help, Hemraj. Aruhsi, the only daughter of Dr Talwar (Ashish Vidyarthi) and his wife (Tisca Chopra) along with the family servant, Hemraj, was killed in her own house. The story took many twists and turns as accusations flew, pointing to domestic help and even to her own parents. The case has been dragging on and no final conclusion has been reached yet though her parents are the prime suspects and convicted and are now in appeal.

Though the film was censored on 14 January, it releases only now after facing litigations post censorship. The accused, Talwars, had tried to stop the release of the film on the grounds that the film’s story bore many similarities to the Arushi murder case, which delayed the film’s release.

The story location of the film has been shifted to Mumbai and told in the Agatha Christie style as, in the end, the CBI officer in charge, Kay Kay Menon, gathers all the suspects in one room and identifies the killer.

Producer: Monica Vimal Maluka

Director: Manish Gupta

Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Tisca Chopra, Ashish Vidyarthi, MIta Vasisht, Ashwini Kalsekar

The film has been given some gloss having been shot at a posh Mumbai duplex penthouse owned by a doctor couple, Ashish Vidhyarthi and Tisca Chopra. A family maid discovers the couple’s young daughter in her bed with her throat slit. The parents are the instant suspects as the case seems to be that of family honour and not of robbery. But there are no immediate conclusions in such a case.

The intentions seem to be honest as all those who share credits give their best. The script is taut with no gimmicks or songs to hinder its pace. Direction is excellent with total control on the happenings. Background music (Ranjit Barot), cinematography and editing back the effort in perfect harmony.

Performance wise, Tisca emerges the best of the lot, usually in control. Ashish Vidyarthi is good too while Kay Kay is okay. Meeta Vasisht, Ashwini Kalsekar, Vinit Kakar and Manoj Maurya are good in support.

Rahashya may be a taut and gripping thriller but its potential can be realised mainly on DVD circuit with no great expectations at the box office.

‘Chal Guru Ho Ja Shuru’….A non starter

Wanting to cash in on the negative image of the god men recently with a few of them cooling their heels in jails, Chal Guru Hoja Shuru is a satire on the theme with its target being Asaram. It revolves around a newly founded sect made of ex-goons and frauds, which they claim to be their entry into the ‘Guru Industry’. The film’s star cast consists mainly of comic or bit role players from films and TV who are not much in demand nowadays but are familiar to the audience.

Hemant Pandey is Hariya Baba, who runs an ashram with Vrajesh Hirjee as his second-in-command and Rajendra Kala as his right-hand man and confidante. They set up the business of playing guru. The business is lucrative and resembles a take on a bearded Baba arrested from Gujarat languishing in jail now.

Producer: Himalaya Dreams

Director: Pravin Bhardwaj

Cast: Hemant Pandey, Chandrachur Singh, Vrajesh Hirjee, Sanjay Mishra, Mithilesh Chaturvedi, Brijendra Kala, Tiku Talsania.

The major activities of the ashram are delivering a sermon every evening, seeking donations and selecting a girl for the night by throwing a banana or an apple prasadam at her. The prasadam sort of mesmerises the girls to seek further personal blessings from the Baba and walk into his abode. The film’s script is based on hearsay of the stories of real life babas. But, anything goes in the name of cinematic liberty.

There are the usual factors of modern day media as TV journalist from BBC of all the places, carries out a sting operation on the nocturnal activities in the Ashram and, along with a PR person, settles the issue of not releasing the disc to media. The PR keeps blackmailing Hariya Baba on regular basis. All this while, Tiku Talsania wants to expose Hariya Baba and his ashram because he has literally lost his wife to the sect. She has become a mad follower.

The film has no running script as such but depends on gags. It is more like a farce where the actors on screen seem to be enjoying the film more than the viewer.

Chal Guru Hoja Shuru is an also ran. (The film has been exempted from entertainment tax in Uttarakhand for whatever reason!)

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