Guzaarish - Review

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)
quick review:

Guzaarish is an art museum. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is the perfectly chiseled curator and Hrithik Roshan an almost statue. And this once, it’s not his acting I’m complaining about, the script demands him to stay put. You are watching them etched in many exotic, exquisite paintings frame after frame. So, what if the very basis of the story is pointless and there are gaping holes which are difficult to digest.



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As I begin my trip on the wrong side of 35, I think a lot about old age. And every once in a while the thought is punctuated by the passing away of an "aged" person. People might not say it out loud, but that death comes as a relief - not only to the person who dies. Old age with ailments is not anything anyone looks forward to. "Please don’t let me live on like a vegetable," is something I hear from friends a lot more than I’d like, even though it’s only a casual remark. But, what if, you don’t have to wait for old age for this to happen. What if you are hit with this situation in your prime? That’s what happens to Ethan (Hrithik Roshan) in Guzaarish. And Sanjay Leela Bhansali paints such a beautiful picture to bring across the pathos that you almost ignore how silly the basic plot is.

The picture is beautiful not only because you can see the thought gone into composing each frame; but also because the writing has a lot of restraint. Ethan doesn’t go into a spiel demanding our sympathy. He gains it because of the situations he’s in. From the fly he can’t shoo off to the anger he can’t vent out physically, make you feel for his despair. Of course, they had to mess it up in the end but then again, that scene becomes tolerable because it hasn't been used earlier. Yes, it has all the emotional triggers, visually, in speech and in music. Well, it's supposed to be an emotional scene, after all. And Hrithik Roshan had to get the promised amount of screen time, right?

But he, more or less, pulls it off. Often, his head dropped to one side like a mentally imbalanced person - while this got annoying, at other times he showed an unexpected degree of talent. Including the times he got angry. It’s really not his fault that he went into the over-acting zone a la Amitabh-Bachchan-in-Black. When two distinct personalities act with the same mannerisms, the one man who directed both of them is at blame.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan stomps about the Goan mansion dutifully. She is breathtakingly beautiful. So perfect, that I can understand when I hear people say, "she is so beautiful that it's difficult to like her." That doesn't make the statement fair, but then again, it's unfair for someone to look divine too. (Sorry for this side, but throughout the film I was reminded of this comment on Guru's review where the commenter mentioned his servant looked better than Aishwary Rai, I guess Ethan can't even say that.)

I admit, I didn't expect anything in the form of acting from anyone in this film. And I admit, I was mildly surprised. Let alone Ms. Rai Bachchan hell, even Nafisa Ali had a bit of voice modulation going around. I still have to get past Aditya Roy Kapoor's cute smile to decide if I really like his acting or not, but so far so good. He has a refreshing air about him.

A bunch of other characters do their bit. And that's my grouse. Almost all of them come in the second half. I for one, get unsettled when characters and the base plot are set and then a new character is introduced, let alone 4-5 new ones.

Sure, they were there for a purpose. But an ever-lasting introduction to characters, especially when the conflict comes in the first 10 minutes, threw the story structure off the chart. I love experimentation, especially with narrative styles, but this entry and exit of character after character looked like the writers were filling in blanks, "Oye, we need a love interest. Hey, what about family? Hey, where did the enemy go? Oops, we forgot to give Sophia (Aishwarya) a backstory. And so on and on."

And all leading to what? Because of this need to clarify and justify, the meat goes missing. What a wonderful opportunity there was in a story where a person is appealing to the society to kill him, Secondly, the very purpose of Ethan's extra-ordinary character and fight is defeated when he decides to do what you and I would do. His fight seems futile and to an extent the film too.

But, the point is that, Sanjay Leela Bhansali's intentions are clear from the first shot - one lyrical movement by Aishwarya even if it is something as mundane as drawing curtains. You know he's aiming for his brand of grandeur. (And he'll to stick that one grand set, even if the Indian Judiciary system has to shift address.) You know his purpose is to enchant with visuals. And that he does. He doesn't want anything close to real. Somewhere along the side he wants to say a story, but I guess, he must know too, that the plot is not his priority. So, he succeeds there too. It's just that it didn't work for me in entirety.

Meanwhile, it does create empathy. Smokers out there might be able to identify with this one better - what if someone else decided the intervals at which you took your puffs while smoking one cigarette?

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Wife beating and the entire talk is of euthanasia
  • Language: Clean, sexual flirting on and off.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None, but multiple references to sex in talk.
  • Concept: That of the right to die
  • General Look and Feel: Beautiful paintings one after the other

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3.5
  • Story: 2.5
  • Lead Actors: 3
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 3.5
  • Music Director: 2.5
  • Lyrics: 2.5

Guzaarish - Movie Details

Guzaarish - Trailer

Comments (18)

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Professional certified roofing contractors:

I think Hritik Roshan is doing a great job these days.But one thing I must say and that is , he is focusing his attention on roles which are more challenging and requires special efforts.
The concept of the Movie is superb and one should definitely watch the is better if you watch it in a movie hall.


@shruti unfortunately, the official site doesn't have the particular scenes i'm talking about.

@G-10 The basic plot is "a person who is tired of his physical ailments and wants to end life is making an appeal to the court" My problem - "people who want to kill themselves, do it. They don't go about asking for permission."

The smaller issue - I didn't mind the no backstory, in fact as you have noted i have an issue with the number of characters introduced.


This sounds like a grander version of 'Sukhant' A Marathi film... where Atul Kulkarni fights with the system (on behalf of his mom) for Mercy Killing...

I like your review style. Keep it up..


@Shiv so i am told. haven't seen 'sukhant'. Thanks, I do hope to keep it up.


@G-10 aah, the legal battle. that didn't quite work for me either. The last one's location was just way too distracting.

side-characters: 4-5 in the second half (not the end). 1 or even 2 in the second half would have been acceptable. but 4-5 in the second half with 2 in the last 15-20 minutes was a bit much for me.

evenly addressed content: the only consistent thing i can offer is my opinion, one movie at a time. i can tell you what worked for me, and what didnt. And like with any review, you decide if my justifications (not the opinions that are justified) work for you or not and decide accordingly. More on that here


@G-10 that's a tough one, you know. I think this is my evaluated, validated view. There were things that bothered me and I mentioned those. I didn't trash the movie because of those things, because there were other things that compensated for it. Sure, there might be a movie that has just that one thing that bothers me so much that the rest of the film doesn't matter. And so on.

connect indya:

This is the third movie Iam Watching from the direction of Sanjay Leela Bansali. Very Neat.
Hats off to the entire crew. Each and every frames are painted. The Long shot of the Villa, the balcony, the pond inside the villa, climax set... list cont...
Locality of the plot GOA gives a huge support to make and watch the film in Hollywood feel.
Narration is awesome and its the strength of the film. Before the release critics were there like its a remake or copy of hollywood movie Prestige. But there is nothing compared to it, except the profession of the hero.
Scenes I like :
1. The teasing b/w hrithik and ash while she gave towel bath.
3. Rain drop disturbing hirthik sleep.
4. Court scene in home.
5. Climax dialogues.
6. Not to miss the Udi song.

Sanjukta Basu:

Very well written review, you almost said everything that I felt was wrong with the film. Except for the grand sets, exotic designer costumes, Aish's chambor lip color there was no other substance in the film. The subject needed research, court room dramas need much more attention to details... quite a lot of disappointment actually in many fronts.


After my tryst with sawariya I decided to go in with zero expectations but absolutely louved it!!

here's what i thought


@Sanjukta thank you!

@Raj individual department scores = above avg or excellent: correct.
sum average of its total = marginally above zero: how?

I might like individual departments, but the film as a whole might still not work for me. That's the whole point of the rating schema.


Watched it yesterday, the court scenes were definitely stale. The emotional scenes were mostly good, but the movie felt undercooked. Here was a novel idea (at least for mainstream bollywood) but it was not developed further. The performances (apart from the doctor - I didn't like him at all) were good.

Nonetheless, it was a good watch. Could have been a lot better though.


@Samir sometimes i find myself in a no-win position with my readers. Right here, is a prime example. :D oh well. Like I said the movies visuals and some of the things Ethan didn't do made me like the film. I didn't love it, i didn't hate it, so the incisive feel is missing, i guess.


On the whole it’s a lot better the SAAWARIYA!! But might face tough competition from GOLMAAL 3. Now it boils down to the audience and their mood.


@minesh1963 "mood" that's the word!

@Raj aaah. i thought you were commenting on my mathematics :D


@abhay agree with some and some i don't. For example, this is where i disagree -
Point 2. I know many people who are living in mansions but can barely afford it. they are doing it with donations, selling jewelry, artifacts, etc. Also, one can be full of like on the outside and depressed inside.


@abhay all very arguable and a never-ending argument it will be

@raj chill, it's cool. as long as the discussion is healthy, opposing view hardly matter


so finally I watched this movie but missed the end..and I must say I was happily surprised with it for the part that I watched.
My biggest problem with SLB's movies is that his sets are out of here..he making it non real but he is claiming that it is the current century!

anyway, if I ignore all that, and think of this as a play with exaggerated sets then the acting was pretty decent. The screenplay was not bad.. and once I again think that he should be in theater and not in movies!


@ligne now there's a thought! you describe it perfectly.

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