May 20, 2013
Aurangzeb – Classic Second Half
Aurangzeb is primarily about inheritance of character from parent to child. And the opening underlines this theme with a quote from Roman poet Horace, ‘Deep in the cavern of the infant’s breast; the father’s nature lurks, and lives anew.’What lends its sentimentality a crooked twist is how its premise is relentlessly influenced by the cutthroat philosophy of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Director Atul Sabharwal tackles the conflicting interests of conscience and conditioning with his robustly executed first film for Yash Raj.
Call it the classic second-half gaffe. You have a cracker of an idea, the build up is great too, and then gross lack of imagination turns everything into a mangled mess post interval. We’ve seen it happen too often in Bollywood. Add Aurangzeb to the list.Atul Sabharwal’s debut directorial feature tries reorganising quite a few Bollywood cliches to suit new-age tastes, yet retaining familiar flavours. Cops and goons, long-lost twins, the angry young man, bombastic dialogues and the filmy underworld get a tweak as old-school masala tries blending with mainstream’s newfound fetish for realism.
Any resemblance Aurangzeb bears with Don and Trishul is perhaps absolutely intended. Sabharwal, though, was not out to rehash either pop classic. He merely borrows basic plot points from these films to set up his own tale where violence, emotion, suspense, machismo and deceit jostle for screenplay space.Against the relevant backdrop of land-grabbing in Gurgaon and its deep-rooted network within corporate sectors, political parties and corrupt law and order, Sabharwal weaves an old-fashioned yarn about family — both close-knit and estranged.On one hand there’s a family of cops — Ravikant (Rishi Kapoor), his nephew Arya (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and son Dev (Sikander Kher). The stern, resentful Arya models himself along the lines of the supremely assertive Ravikant as opposed to his long disgraced, defeated father (Anupam Kher).
Meanwhile, Yashwardhan (Jackie Shroff) is a successful tycoon running illegal industries, masked under the impression of his authorised businesses, assisted by the sharp Neena (Amrita Singh). He has given up on making sense of his brash son, Ajay (Arjun Kapoor), the proverbial cad whiling away his time partying with/beating up his annoyingly compliant girlfriend, Ritu (Sasheh Agha).Watch out for Arjun Kapoor, Ishaqzaade was just a sneak peek. In Aurangzeb, Arjun serves up his double whammy well, finely demarcating the character traits of Ajay and Vishal.
He needs more polish with skills of emoting, though.Bollywood gets an add-on in its rank of hotties with Sasheh Aagha, introduced here as the traditional heroine. Salma Agha’s daughter isn’t having a remarkable debut with this film. Her presence is merely meant to tweak the film’s oomph quota. Bikini, bedroom and booty shake are the buzzwords that pretty much sum it up for her. After all, what is a masala action flick without the staple sex kitten.