Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Waqt and Dreams 

Waqt: The Race Against Time

Though one did have expectations from Vipul Amrutlal Shah after the fairly gripping Aankhen, it’s not he but Amitabh Bachchan who lets one down. It’s not that his performance is not up to the mark – it invariably is—but that he should even be excited with this mediocre melodrama, when there is no dearth of offers for him.

Based on a Gujarati play, Waqt: The Race Against Time is an outdated family drama with artificially created conflicts and embarrassingly desperate attempts at tear jerking. Not to mention the pathetic comedy track involving a dim-witted servant (Rajpal Yadav)—this character being a stock jester in Gujarati theatre—and a boastful eccentric played by Boman Irani (who manages to salvage the role with his comic flair.)

Ishwar Thakur (Amitabh Bachchan) has spoilt his son Aditya (Akshay Kumar) rotten. So instead of looking after his father’s toy business, he squanders money and wants to be a film star. The mother’s (Shefali Shah) warnings fall on deaf ears, till drastic measures are needed to reform Aditya. Ishwar has cancer and has a few months to live, so within that time, he wants his son to shoulder the responsibility of his wife (Priyanka Chopra) and unborn son (that it might be a daughter doesn’t occur to anyone, such is the inbuilt patriarchy of this genre of cinema).

Aditya is not told about the cancer with the flimsy excuse that it will shatter him. Instead, Ishwar throws him out of the house without a cent. To feed his pregnant wife, Aditya has to resort to doing dangerous stunts in films. The guy, supposedly an MBA, can’t find any other work to do?

The climax is cringe-making, as a wheezing Ishwar is taken to the venue where Aditya is about to win a talent contest, and its time for a soppy speech and a prolonged death scene.

For Amitabh Bachchan the role is no big deal, Shefali Shah (too young to play Akshay’s mother) does the rona-dhona as required. Akshay Kumar turns on the faucet too, but he is not cut out for these roles. Priyanka’s bland part could have been done by any actress. A couple of songs, like the Holi number, are well choreographed and shot, but the music is not good enough.

Loud sets, garish costumes, over-the-top scenes and forced humour mar Shah’s effort to please the kind of audience that made films like Baghbaan click. Who knows, the four-hankie brigade might even take to this film, but as socials go, one has seen better films in the past. Plus television thrives on domestic discord, though with stars like Amitabh and Akshay and a generous budget, the scale of Waqt is much bigger.

Dreams: Sapne Sach Honge

Aashish Chanana had his shot at stardom way back in the late eighties and resurfaced how as producer, writer, director and lead actor of Dreams Sapne Sach Honge.

In the acting department, Chanana takes his inspiration from Rajesh Khanna, and a director, he aspires to be Guru Dutt, attempting a modern-day Kaagaz Ke Phool, and not getting anywhere close.

He plays Shekhar, a successful filmmaker, who is smitten by the tragedy of a girl he meets by chance and wants to make an offbeat film on her story, which involves monstrous parents and an escape from a life worse then hell. He even casts the melancholy Pooja (Neha Pendse) in the lead role and falls in love with her, though another sexy actress (Arzoo Gowitrikar) is chasing him.

Everybody advises Shekhar against this suicidal step of making such a film with a new girl – though glimpses of the under-production films look anything but offbeat. When nobody gives him finance, he mortgages his house to complete the film. It turns out to be a hit, and he now has to fight off her greedy parents and rapacious secretary to get to her. Though why her desire for a career should come in the way of marriage to the director in today’s day and age is not clear—any number of married actresses continue with their careers.

The film is a tedious piece of self-indulgence that tests a hapless viewer’s tolerance to the extreme, going on and on long after the logical climax has taken place.

The story belongs to the fifties, and Chanana doesn’t even get details of the film industry’s functioning right. He’s not too bad as an actor, though not talented or charismatic enough to be in every frame. The screechy Neha Pendse, trying to ape Urmila Matondkar is not ‘heroine’ material at all.


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker