Shamitabh (2015)

  • Written by R Balki
  • Directed by R Balki

   Repeat Value : 6 / 10     

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 Jab hum kisi cheez ko bahut, bahut, bahut, bahut, bahut chahte hai na ... toh woh mil hi jaati hai 

a popular dialog from Shamitabh



Shamitabh - Movie Highlights

Amitabh Bachchan was is and will be an inspiration to many generations of Indians and there is not an inch of doubt about it. This man faced many rejections and failures in his life but each time he has risen like a Phoenix. He was rejected for his deep voice at the 'All India Radio' but today it is credited as the famous 'baritone voice' and millions just recognize him by that voice and here is a film whose theme is completely based on his voice. There was a time in 90's, when his films failed but today scripts are written keeping him in mind. There are many such instances were he has fought and come back and today has a superstardom which no other actor of his generation nor anyone in present and future will be able to achieve it. Like his name 'Amitabh' (boundless splendour), HE will continue to stay in the hearts of Indians forever.

Every film maker aspires to work with Big B at least once in his lifetime and R Balki is no exception. After, presenting Big B in two unconventional roles in Cheeni Kum and Paa, Balki comes up with another unusual story Shamitabh exclusively written for him and his voice. The film released to positive reviews with critics praising Dhanush and Amitabh's performances.

The story starts with Danish (Dhanush), a small town (Igatpuri) boy who is a movie buff. He is crazy about films and aspires to become an actor but is born mute. He spends most his time in the local Paradise theatre watching movies and enacts the same scenes in front of his friends entertaining them. After his mother's death, he sets out from his village for Mumbai in the hope of becoming a star. He gets thrown out of many film studios but later finds shelter in the vanity van and makes it his temporary home. He tries to meet many directors but eventually ends up with an assistant director Akshara Pandey (Akshara Hassan) who spots his talent. Akshara tries to help him by showing his video, shot on her phone, to a director but he rejects casting a mute hero. Later, with recommendation from her father who is a doctor, they land in Finland were a highly advanced tech Live Voice Transfer Technology is used and bug is planted in Danish's throat which enables him to speak but in someone else's voice through a Bluetooth. Akshara and Danish return to Mumbai with the equipment but the job is not yet done. They are in search of a person who can lend a voice to him and find a perfect match in that of Amitabh Sinha (Bachchan), a failed actor, snubbed due to his baritone, who lives in a graveyard, soaked in whisky and cynicism. Reluctant at first, he accepts, and signs an agreement not to disclose himself as Danish's voice. Thus both find a chance to relive their dreams with Danish becoming an actor onscreen and Amitabh becoming his voice. They are highly successful and termed as Shamitabh. But each on their own cannot achieve any greatness in the film industry, so when the ego creeps in, the friction between them grows and in a constant bid to prove their superiority and importance, they strain their relationship and public image which shatters the bond destroying everything they have achieved. How they overcome their egos but when they do what life has in store for them forms the crux of the story?

Set in the backdrop of film industry, the film revolves around a very unique plot. R. Balki has been known for his innovative concepts but this out-of-the-box and unusual plot may appeal only to a niche audience. The premise of Shamitabh is fabulous on many levels but the basic storyline is much thinner. And the duration fails it by overstretching it with no importance. While the first half is refreshingly interesting and briskly paced, the same cannot be said of second half which drags at times. Good in parts, the film on paper might have sounded brilliant but is a little unbelievable. It's probably best not to dwell on the lack of logic or the major holes with the technology and just go with it for the sake of the plot. Ego clash between two artists, ode to Bollywood cinema, handicapped guy realizing his dreams are the undercurrent themes running through the film. The audacity with which Balki has given homage to Bachchan baritone is spellbinding and he deserves a special mention for his unconventional concept and direction but blame it on the writing, it gets too indulgent were the screenplay looses the steam. Overall, Shamitabh isn't a groundbreaking film, but is a maturely written film with great characters, tremendous performances and some fantastic moments. Lyrics by Swanand Kirkire and Music by Ilayaraja lend the film with Ishq-e-Fillum and Piddly si Baatein which are fine.

There are a few moments which sparkle:
1. A local teacher asks little Danish in school to enact a scene where his mother has just died and the kid comes up with a mesmerizing performance.
2. The graveyard scene involving all the three of them is the best moment of the film.
3. The predictable face-off between the two provides some of the film's most alive moments. The first interaction and humor created when both of them struggles to get in sync with each other.
4. Drunkard act of Big B which by now has become his trademark (check him out in Satte Pe Satta, Amar Akbar Anthony, HUM etc)
5. Face-off with a Robert De Niro poster.

Performances are the highlight of the film. Dhanush shows what a real actor can do with just body language. Without a single dialogue, the actor impresses with his acting skills. He brings out the varied emotions of the physically challenged Danish and communicates most effectively with his superb body language. He is natural all through and manages to stand his own ground despite the towering presence of Bachchan and wins your heart in the early part of the movie before becoming the Superstar. And making her debut in a film with Big B and Dhanush is no mean task, and Akshara proves to be a revelation. She has been able to make her presence felt and impressively brings her ambitious assistant director to life. The young actor who plays the young Danish is absolutely brilliant. But the film truly belongs to Big B. Forming the backbone of the film; Amitabh conveys the deep-rooted angst and agony of the once-rejected talent with unsurpassed sincerity, even in his sarcasms and digs. His powerful voice creates magic in the film. With his baritone voice and a towering persona, he takes his character to dizzying heights. His camaraderie with Dhanush's character in the film is really something that needs to be seen to be believed. Bachchan is just simply excellent. Both dhanuSH+AMITABH compliment each other and share an excellent chemistry which is the soul of the movie.

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