Much has been written and spoken about YRF’s latest outing, Aurangzeb. Mostly because YRF being who they are are the easiest folks to take pot shots at if you’re the smart-a** know-it-all filmgoer. However, what most these critics are ignoring whilst on their YRF-can-do-no-right campaign is that the production house is in fact finding their foot quite firmly in this new dawn of Indian cinema. Admittly they were lost as to how to maintain their production house’s credibility, please the NRI crowd yet cater to the home grown cinegoers for a good portion of this millennium however its safe to say they’re getter bolder and braver and its paying off.
Aurangzeb is one of those bold/brave steps that pays off, well at least in my books it does. Its been touted as their answer to Gangs of Wassepur by some Kashyap worshipers who are now quick to judge any film on Indian land rights conspiracy. However, firstly the film is hardly a film about land rights conspiracy and secondly even if it was, Anurag Kashyap (whom I have immense amount of respect for) hardly intended to copy right the subject mater.
Moving on from my much needed rant about all that I’ve read and heard about this movie, lets talk about the movie itself!
Debutant writer/director Atul Sabarwal brings onscreen an action packed family drama. The film centres around a family of cops and a family of real estate tycoons who are in fact the reigning dons of the industry. As promised, Aurangzeb is a thematic title given to the film as the film revolves around people who truly believe that kingship knows no kinship! However amidst all the backstabbing family dynamics are some characters for whom the infamous Mughal badshah’s mantra doesn’t hold true. Sabarwal’s debut film is the story of modern day Aurangzebs who fight for AC offices and power of attorney privileges and about those who are struggling in a world controlled by the same modern day Aurangzebs.
I’m a firm believer that a script cannot be outshone by the cast but this script no doubt needed THIS cast. Its refreshing to see Indian cinema return to a power packed ensemble cast. In a time when multistarrers are mostly comedies or where in essence they’re not multistarrers but just various names thrown together to garner star power, it is great to see a script that demands an array of talent from across all dynamics. What is even more amazing is to see directors and casting directors thinking outside the box and going for some unconventional names.
Rishi Kapoor embraces his dark side once again after Agneepath. Perhaps in a more subtle and stylish way than Rauf Lala but no doubt he’s all set to say goodbye to the cute-hero/heroine’s-dad-kinda-roles days and I couldn’t be more glad! Jackie Shroff puts in a rare appearance that has me overjoyed. The man is sheer brilliance and was oh so apt for Yashvardhan’s role. If only Indian cinema wouldn’t keep talent like this sitting at home and wrote roles for such actors more often! Amrita Singh is another delight to see return onscreen. She has a limited yet impactful screen time. Arjun Kapoor delivers a performance that is on par with an actor who has years of experience behind him. Be it with the patience and subtlety in which he brings Vishal to life onscreen or the raw and gritty animalistic nature of Ajay that executes with perfection, he’s brilliant all around. Although hardly promoted that way the film turns out to be quite the Prithviraj show! He’s given perhaps the most central role as the narrator and also the character who goes through the most transformation and through whose eyes you witness the events of the film. A real strong effort was clearly put into his diction and is 99% perfect. A stellar performance that fans of his South Indian fans are hardly going to be surprised by but that ought to hopefully get the right people in Hindi cinema to sit up and take notice. The ensemble cast has only one downfall and that is Sasha Agha. She really doesn’t impress at all!
Aurangzeb boasts of a no-nonsense screenplay, just the kind I like. The film gets to the point within seconds of starting, something Indian cinema is yet to master perfectly. Songs are utilised effectively and you’re never left questioning in the dark. Background score plays a huge part in ensuring the right message gets across. And as brilliant as it was in serving its purpose, did anyone else get a Hans Zimmer Batman trilogy dejavu in some portions?
Given the cast I had high expectations from this one and am happy to report it meets those expectation darn perfectly! Atul delivers a family drama for the 21st century. The rona dhona is to a minimum and much of it is about unsaid love, respect and adoration. From the outside its a well packaged action drama however at the heart Aurangzeb is the story about the delicate nature of relationships. Its about the flawed man’s transformation, the eye opening experience of the blind believer and the fate of current society that will no doubt give birth to many modern day Aurangzebs.