Shamitabh: Film Review

”Fear exists where people die. Nobody dies in the graveyard” – Amitab Bachan, Shamitabh

 I had many a tear dabbing moment watching this movie. Bollywood has done it again: Slum dog millionaire, My name is Khan and now this.
Great story telling, done in layers and pulling at almost every human emotion possible.
You truly feel for the protagonist: his victories, hopes, fears and yes, tears.
Shamitabh deserves an Oscar in 2016. I’m not Indian and have no personal interests but I will be rooting for it along with any great Nigerian creation or actor that gets nominated.
With this movie comes the same heady reactions I had to classics like Superman, The Scarlet Pimpernel and A few good men. A cape draping moment replete with Punjab laced music and amazing attention to photographic detail….attention, cinematographers!
Amitabh reprises his status as Bollywood’s best in this movie. Although his character wears old-man -scruffy like a second skin, his lopsided cynical smiles and sarcastic jibes casts him as the main character. Whereas we have watched Amitabh for years and appreciate his deep mellow voice, this is the first time we are forced to appreciate it independent of his looks and his oh so impressive personality.
Amitabh’s jealousy of Shamitab is an echo or the lifelong argument of who is the greatest; the voice actor or the television star? To paraphrase an old 80s song, Did video really kill the radio star? Is there more effort put into video acting than radio? What is an actor without a voice? How best do you capture the hearts of an audience- through mere sound or with a combination of that and video?
Bachan’s Character says they can’t make a movie without sound but once the production is released, it is referred to only as a ‘ Picture’
Whiskey is used as a metaphor for voice while water represents acting.
He says, ‘ no water, whiskey. Whiskey doesn’t need any water.’ To which the only prominent female character in the film screams, ‘ whisky is made from water. Without water, there is no whiskey’
And so the wheels of thought churn to life and this debate continues in one’s mind long after the movie is finished.
Two hours twenty minutes and not a boring moment, for me at least.
My goodness, who wrote this script? It’s the same question I asked after I finished the movie Hot Rod, season one of ‘ how to get away with murder. ‘(Yes, Shondra Rhimes but I knew that before I began the series.)

Classic movie: a mute wannabe actor meets a drunk impoverished never do well actor appreciated only for his voice. Through joint talent their work elicits praise from both local and international fans but only one is the face of this duo and there begins the problem.  But there is more to this story line. It is moved forward by a series of twists and turns that is embodied in the clash of characters and a display of high strung ego cum jealousy that more often than not becomes a companion to fame.
I will say very little about this movie except for the fact that nobody does tragedy like Bollywood: just take a moment, think back… 
In this cocktail of genre’s lies deep the message around team work and the need for joint effort.  The movie description says it us an ‘ode to film.’ I say it is that and far much more.
And just as two started with a meeting in the grave yard, they reunite there, culminating in a bitter sweet ending.

PS: Sorry , wrote this last year but I feel its never too late to review a good movie.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: