Aurangazeb, who kills everyone but…


The movie ‘Aurangazeb’ raises expectations with three things going for it—Yash Raj films, Arjun Kapoor and an ensemble cast.  But the movie never really takes off. It meanders pretty much like a failed run chase in a T-20 cricket match, with a few sparks here and there, but eventually falling short of the target. One can smell this very early on, when the first ten to fifteen minutes are devoted to narration of two sub-plots by the lead characters, an ominous sign of the writer dominating the director.

‘Aurangazeb’ is written and directed by Atul Sabharwal, that draws inspiration from several films like ‘Copland’, ‘Pride and Glory’, ‘LA Confidential’, ‘The Devil’s double’ , ‘The Man with the iron mask’, ‘Thakshak’ etc. It is essentially a double-role film with an Arjun Kapoor each in two families–cops and mafia. While is the cop family is down right corrupt with a few good men, the mafia family has an ailing don (Jackie Shroff) and his mistress(Amrita Singh) at the helm of affairs.

Arjun Kapoor plays two roles, Vishal and Ajay. Vishal is the docile adopted son of a cop (Anupam Kher) while Ajay is the belligerent heir of the mafia don. What the head of the cop family (Rishi Kapoor) wants to achieve from Vishal taking the place of Ajay? Why Vishal takes up the mission in the first place?  How does the foster brother of Vishal (Prithviraj) choose to redeem himself? Will both Ajay and Vishal make it to the finish line? Writer-director attempts to answer these four questions during the course of the movie and struggles to keep the rest of the sub-plots interfering with them. The girl friend of Ajay (Sashaa Agha) and her involvement with Vishal, and couple of songs serve as strategic time outs, nothing more.

All the elements of movie making–production design, music, movie tone(DI), etc–oscillate between the product of a Govind Nihlani/Anurag Kashyap and that of a mainstream director. It is this struggle that mars the potential of a story that could have worked otherwise. The lead cast bring their might to the table, dialogues sparkle once in a while, and Arjun Kapoor tries his best to deliver an inspired performance, but they are not enough to take the movie to its logical conclusion.

Overall, the movie disappoints. But the audience will look forward to the next outing of Arjun Kapoor.



Dravid: The quintessential in-between artist

An in-between artist in an animation project draws the intermediary frames between two key frames provided, to create the illusion of motion.

Usually, when this process is manual, it is the senior artists who draw the key frames while the juniors or the less experienced, fill in the gaps.

When describing Rahul Dravid, I would like to extend the meaning of inbetweening/tweening to many gaps—let it be a failure and a success or two successes and two failures or in cricketing parlance, the stance and the strike. And, by no means, he is a junior or inexperienced at that.

The real Rahul Dravid, in my opinion, is all about that back ground person who strives and thrives in those gaps, thus making all his endeavors and their outcomes, very personal. This in a way, makes him almost untouchable by the vagaries of success and fortune. But old fashioned success comes to him in some form, as the adage goes –‘Kashte Phali’ (loosely translating to ‘Those who strive, thrive’)

Striving and perspiring, in the pursuit of excellence that shines as the learning for anyone in any field. In my opinion all greats have this in common, who end up winning admirers not just for themselves but also for the field they are in.

Let it be a SVR who wowed the audience with his acting skills or an Ilayaraja who made his background score popular as movie songs or a Chiranjeevi who transformed movie dance into a popular art form, or a Steve Jobs who designed the digital future,  they have one thing in common with Rahul Dravid. They raised the bar of their game which in turn created respect not only for themselves but also for their game.

Rahul Dravid will soon move away from IPL  and T-20, after years of toiling and leaving a mark with his leadership and cricketing skills.  But, I will keep a close watch on his in-betweening exploits and attempt to reverse engineer the learning.

Related link: Rahul Dravid on Achiever’s club