Aurangzeb * * * ½

* * * 1/2

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Yashraj Films

Atul Sabharwal

Rishi Kapoor, Prithviraj, Arjun Kapoor, Amrita Singh, Jackie Shroff, Deepti naval, Swara Bhaskar, Sasheh Agha, Sikander Kher, Anupam Kher

Straight off the mark, Aurangzeb is an engaging experience, due to a number of reasons, the first being an impressive ensemble of talented and promising actors of yesteryears and gen-next.  It is sheer delight to see Rishi Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Amrita Singh, Deepti Naval all grace the screen with their acting prowess. Plus, the exciting new talent – Arjun Kapoor and Prithviraj, and the debutante daughter of Salma Agha, who shows promise (and skin!)  in the few scenes she got. Though all the actors are bang on with their acting (even those with miniscule role like Swara Bhaskar) , Rishi Kapoor leads the game undoubtedly. In this second phase of his career, Chintu ji seems to have discovered the hidden shades of grey in him. After Agneepath, this is another exemplary act by the veteran. Close in the heels are Amrita Singh and Jackie Shroff. It is good to see Amrita Singh back on screen, and that she still has got the mojo! In the young brigade, Arjun Kapoor delivers yet again, and proves that his debut was no fluke. However, his comfort level while playing the mean guy is evident, as against playing the good guy. Prithviraj gets equal screen time and gets the language and emotion bang on. After a disastrous debut, this will help him a lot.

With dialogues like ‘Kingship knows no kinship’, Sapno se zyada zaroori apne hote hain’, one would expect the film to be this masala potboiler with a heavy dialogue thrown at every moment, but no, this is seriously poignant and slow drama, which works mainly because of the complexity of and the hidden metaphors in the story. The story integrates the legend of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who brought down his father’s empire by turning against him, into the modern milieu of the fast developing metro in the suburbs of Delhi , and takes a hard hitting look at the real estate mafia in Gurgaon. The strength of the director lies in the fact that despite not having regular fight sequences or item songs or even a lot of dramatic events, the slow and subtle development of the story works well. The production values are top notch, given the banner associated. Music and background score are adequate, and thankfully stays away from unnecessary love tracks or item songs.

Now the problems, which prevent this gritty gangster drama from being a classic, are quite a few as well. The script is perhaps too ambitious for a first time director, as it tries to achieve too many things at the same time – a social comment on the unrestricted growth of Indian metros, a gangster tail with a historical metaphor, a 70s masala action movie featuring twin brothers, or a political thriller. Result – It ends up being all in parts, and hence coming out at the end as inconsistent, leaving so much more to be desired. Sad, since the director actually shows promise, and would have worked wonders if he had chosen to focus on one of the aspects of the story.

Nevertheless, definitely one of the better movies to come out of the Bollywood stable, this is a one-time watch, if only for the nostalgia of yesteryear actors!

2 thoughts on “Aurangzeb * * * ½

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