Shamitabh is an endearing tale of dreams, passion, love and rivalry. It is easily one of the most novel ideas tried in Bollywood for a long time and it works wonderfully because of the amount of heart that each of the characters put in. The director has done well to go ahead with an idea which would give even the most resilient of directors “hibijibies”. The story may feel ridiculous at many junctures and frankly speaking the technology does fall apart but the way Dhanush and Amitabh Bachchan work it out between themselves won’t let even the most scrutinizing viewer complain. The film organically moves from one act to another leaving no breather or vacuum in between. The trailers and the promos couldn’t even show 5% of what this film turned out to be and this review is a call to those who let it go after watching the promos to come back and have a look at the product. You will not be disappointed.
Danish(Dhanush) is a mute but that hasn’t stopped him from dreaming of becoming a hero for as long as he can think. His mother uses her illness as a tool to keep him with her but the boy still dreams of becoming a hero and coming to Mumbai. At the threshold of his adulthood, he loses his mother but she leaves him with some money and the freedom to go finally go to Mumbai. Once in Mumbai, He finds it increasingly difficult to survive let alone become a Hero. But as luck would have it, he finds solace in an Assistant Director, Akshara who not only believes in his ability but also helps him get a unique surgery which would finally allow him to speak. For that however, he need another person who would speak and he could lip-sync the words into delivering them in a way as it would appear to be his own.
In walks Amitabh (Amitabh Bachchan) a disgruntled actor who wasted his life trying to become a hero but was rejected primarily because of his voice. Danish and Akshara convince him to play along after some hilarious situations and then something magical happens. Danish propelled by Amitabh’s voice becomes a superstar. But Amitabh has to stay under wraps. The star inside Amitabh craves for recognition and admiration and in turn becomes easily jilted by Dhanush. The duo reaches a point where they can no longer tolerate each other. What happens next forms the crux of the narrative.
Shamitabh is what it is primarily because of the performances by Amitabh, Dhanush and Akshara. A seemingly unbelievable story is given such credence by the trio that you will have to watch it to feel it. Dhanush plays a dreamy eyed mute with perfection. He is stupendous in sequences where he is shown frustrated and undone by his own limitations. He is totally mad at Amitabh in some many sequences and the audience is able to feel his angst. He is equally potent in the amusing scenes. I wouldn’t call them comic because they are not actually that. In these scenes he is immensely helped by Akshara.
Amitabh Bachchan as the jilted old man who finally finds that his voice, which was his downfall has catapulted a man to roaring success is pitch perfect. There are traces of some situational comedy which comes naturally to him and for the dramatic portions he shows his class. He works up an outstanding understanding with Dhanush and the two share an impeccable timing. Akshara is beautiful. Akshara can act. In short she is the most notable find in the heroine category for Bollywood in years. She is ravishingly beautiful and at the same time has a child like cuteness which will endear her to the masses. She holds her won in every scene dramatic or light and performs at par with the other two powerhouses.
Having its share of dramatic moments and somewhat loud histrionics at some junctures, Shamitabh is still an original piece of work. Flawed but original. What it may lack in logic, it more than makes up for in heart. It is an endearing tale told with a lot of heart and finesse which I believe will appeal to one and all. Go watch Shamitabh if you haven’t already.