‘Shamitabh’ – ode to Big B’s baritone, human mortality


Film: “Shamitabh”; Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush and Akshara Haasan; Writer-Director: R. Balakrishnan; Rating: *****

Balki must really stop doing this. This is the third time he has stunned us with his originality and audacity and engagingness. He’s spoiling us silly.

His third feature film is perhaps his most audacious cinematic journey yet. The writer-director takes the voice of Mr. Bachchan (in other words, the voice of the nation) and puts it on Dhanush, that intelligent Tamil actor who is rapidly emerging as the inheritor to Kamal Haasan.

It really can’t any more audacious than this…though admittedly, there’s no telling what Balki would dare to do next.

“Shamitabh” opens yet another door to Balki’s creative resourcefulness. There are only three main characters in the film — the film-obsessed mute Danish; Amitabh Sinha, the autumnal cauldron of discontent who gives voice to Danish’s dream; and the very cute assistant director Akshara (Akshara Haasan), who plays a reluctant and rather frail mediator between the two raging men. She is really not up to the task. But then, life never plays fair.

Given the inventive premise of the plot and the sheer charm of the three principal actors, Balki could have comfortably allowed the narrative to work itself out. Blessedly there is no lazy writing in this powerful film. Almost every narrative twist is cleverer and wiser than it would outwardly seem. At times, you may think the film is trying to act smarter than it actually is and in the process, it may seem as though the narrative is getting carried away with itself.

But no. Every action has a profound cause. There is a grand design behind every seemingly spontaneous movement in the plot. You may wonder why Amitabh, the embittered alcoholic actor with a voice that could move mountains, lives in the graveyard (with an entertaining sidekick-cum-confidante)…A bit of a metaphoric indulgence, you would say. But wait for the film’s stunning finale: death is indeed a grave matter, specially in lives that have seen better days.

Balki’s characters light up the present with their stubborn eccentricities. Not co-incidentally all the three path-breaking characters that Mr. Bachchan has played in Balki’s films so far — in “Cheeni Kum” and “Paa” — have been relentlessly stubborn characters. Going many steps ahead of his vain chef’s character in “Cheeni Kum” and the arrogant progeric boy-man in “Paa”, Big B in “Shamitabh” is a raging volcano of ill-tempered defiance.

CINEMA IN JAMMU (6th Feb to 15th Feb 2015)

1. SHAMITABH (U/A) – 10:30 AM, 01:30 PM, 04:30 PM, 07:30 PM, 10:25 PM.


SHAMITABH (U/A) – 06:30 PM, 09:30 PM.

SHAMITABH (U/A) – 12:05 PM, 03:00 PM, 05:50 PM, 08:40 PM.

SHAMITABH (U/A) – 09:45 AM, 12:35 PM, 03:25 PM, 06:15 PM, 09:05 PM.


SHAMITABH (U/A) – 08:10 PM.

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