Sanjay Leela Bhansali comes back with a movie after three years, and after delivering a failed attempt Saawariya. Hrithik Roshan comes back with a movie after Kites, a hyped experiment which had rarely any content backing it. Loads of expectations from the film-maker, more from the actor. Perfect chance for both of them to come back with a bang and make a mark. Do they actually make it there? Does Guzaarish live upto its expectations? Well, it does make a mark on many levels but all those levels exclude the borders of commerical cinema.
Guzaarish continues to invest incessantly in the appearance of each frame and Bhansali again attempts a story that has the protagonist suffering from a serious disability. In GUZAARISH, Hrithik Roshan suffers from Paraplegia,and pulls off what could be one of the most challenging roles of his career and Aishwarya Rai, as his doting nurse. Guzaarish comes with a visual splendour and the viewer can literally feel Bhansali in each frame which is highly inspirational but it is definitely not his best work. Euthanasia is a delicate and controversial topic, almost untouched for Indian cinema although Bhansali borrows heavily from the Spanish movie, The Sea Inside including the underlying story plot. Guzaarish may have a larger than life feel to it, but it rests on a thinner plot than most other Bhansali movies, except for Saawariya. Yet, you cannot write off the effort Guzaarish puts in due to its honesty and the treatment by the director who manages to not let the movie disheartening or plain bore.
There are many instances that work for Guzaarish. My most favorite sequence in the movie is the first time Ethan (Hrithik's character) gets angry and his reaction after that which turns into laughter. It stands out along with the sequence in which Ethan helplessly sleeps all through the night with cold water pouring on him or maybe the sequence of Ethan's magic act going wrong resulting in a fatal accident. Despite earnest performances and Bhansali's attempts, Guzaarish fails outrightly for the common man. The extensive use of English in the narrative will never let it appeal on a pan-India level. The subject matter is complex and the issue may get boring for most who would not prefer sensitive cinema. The writing gets redundant at times which can test the patience of viewers.
Hrithik Roshan stands up to the character and delivers a stupendous performance. The feelings of intrigue, anxiety, helplessness, anguish and romance are portrayed to the T. Hrithik, thrown into a completely unusual role contrary to whatever he has ever done or been asked to do, dives into the character and exhibits maturity in each frame and carries Ethan forward with much aplomb. He is theatrical at times, which may not go down well but that does not affect his performance at all. Aishwarya Rai, for a change, delivers a very earnest performance, exudes dignity, elegance and the perfect sobriety required for Sophiya. The film seduces the viewer with a strong emotional quotient, soulful music and of course, the crackling and wonderful onscreen chemistry between Hrithik and Aishwarya. Aditya Roy Kapoor is a revelation. The guy comes in with his amazing stage experience and plays a pivotal character with a fresh flavor. Shernaz Patel and Makarand Deshpande are brilliant. All other characters are pretty much in skin and give the movie a solid ground based on performances. The music of the film catches on you slowly but stays with you for long. The dialogues and the one-liners win your heart. Special mention has to be made of Sudeep Chatterjee for his exceptional cinematography. Each frame has been shot like never before, giving you the perfect Goa feel, and a lot of thought has been put into creating enthralling visuals straight out of a fairy tale.
All in all, Bhansali takes a huge risk to have the hero of the film entirely on a wheel chair and portraying it with a lot of panache. Guzaarish will not work for the common man and it does not match upto his best works. There is a lot missing in it. Performances try hard but dont cover up for the missing content and the cinematic experience is incomplete due to excessive focus on the visuals. Its a enchanting tale and brilliant piece of art, but not a heart-winning cinema.
Rating - 3/5