World of India!: Eklavya - not worth your hard earned money e

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Eklavya - not worth your hard earned money

I had the misfortune of watching 'Eklavya' - the latest Amitabh Bacchan starrer. The movie is not so bad as to use the word 'misfortune', but the reason I used it is the money paid v/s value received equation.

Watching a movie these days in a multiplex has become a Rs.1000/- affair for a couple. The tickets cost us Rs.225 each, plus coffee, plus taxi fare and we were at the end of a thousand bucks before we realized it. A few years back, the same movie experience would not have cost more than Rs.300-400. Anyone who says inflation is a mere 6% must be joking.

Was Eklavya worth spending such serious cash? Not by a long rope.

The story in brief: Bacchan is the loyal guard of a royal household. Boman Iraani is the King and Sharmila Tagore the queen. Saif and Raima are their children. The queen dies (murdered by Boman after being enraged that Sharmila keep on mouthing Baccchans name on her death bed) . Through her letter Saif learns that Baacchan is his and Raima's true father. Boman Iraani plans to murder Bacchan, but Saif decides to kill the king to avoid that and save his real father. Bacchan is in the dark of this intrigue and kills the Kings brother and his son, after learning that killed the King. Through them he learn that they killed the King on Saif's orders and confronts Saif. The ending is a let down with Saif admitting to his crime and inviting Baccchan (Eklavya) to complete his 'Dharma' and kill him but Bacchan melts down and everyone lives happily ever after.Hush !

I should have realized the movie would be flawed the minute I heard Viddhu Vinod Chopra bragging about how he spent 8 months just visualizing how Bacchan's beard would look in the film. Its apparent that Chopra has spent all this time visualizing the look , feel and sound of the film- with the result that every frame, every detail looks and sounds good. If Chopra could have helped it, he would also have used technology to spray the smell of the desert in the theatre. Just a few days ago, I saw a report of how a phirang director served the audience food which would heighten the mood of his film at different points of his film. I am pretty sure the film was the pits, if the director felt the need to take the support of good food to enhance the mood of his film. If Chopra could have he would have done this too.

But in the process, the film has lost its soul- the screenplay and its characters. Not that the story line is weak, but the dialogues are so contrived and wishy washy that you are never really into the film and the characters. The aesthetics of the film hold your attention and your breath so much, that you are left too breathless to get into the skin of the characters.

Chopra has indulged himself thoroughly. Count the number of time drops of various shapes and sizes - from blood to water to sweat, fall while the camera dutifully captures not just the movement but also the sound. No opportunity is lost to show digitally enhanced sunsets and the ancient palace and the desert scenery soaked in them. Other characters of the film include wonderful period clothes,a vintage car, sundry knick knacks like the royal seal, handmade stationary and such like. You often end up feeling that the scene was shot to capture these aesthetics rather than the scene itself. The sound effects are amazing. The sound of all kinds of drops, flags fluttering, knives flying around...the phirang technicians hired for the job by Chopra have done what they were paid for. But the characters themselves slip away like water on top of a leaf in the process. The only exception is Boman Iraani who has outshone everyone including Bacchan by leagues. His portrayal of the insecure and unhappy King is worth applauding. Chopra would have done well to gift Iraani the Rolls Royce that he gifted Baccchan. The rest of the crew has done a ok job, except Raima Sen, who is laughable throughout (the curls of her hair falling down the side of her face have received as much attention as Bacchan's beard). Watch her flying the kite on top of the terrace and you wonder what she is upto.

One certainly expected more substance from Chopra, considering that he has produced the likes of Munnabhai MBBS and directed Parinda earlier. Films which hardly had any wizardry but which still held the audience because of the direction and screenplay.

For those of you who still want to watch Bacchan in Eklavya- watch it on a DVD and save yourselves the 1000 bucks.

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February 18, 2007 11:32 PM

Hello,
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Eklava Movie    



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