Eklavya poster


wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)

quick review:

Eklayva has some great performances and was shot very beautifully. But, there are too many holes in the story which keep you from enjoying the experience. Overall, I was disappointed. I didn't like the way the story was narrated. The style gave away what was to come next and that was anti-climatic. The last 15-20 minutes were just unbearable and unacceptable from this banner.

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Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Running time: 110 minutes
Genres: Melodrama, Thriller
More Movie Info

It is amazing how so much ground is covered at such a slow pace in less than two hours. More movie-makers need to learn this trick. And it is all with a lot of style. But, as a thriller, it fails. There are no major twists in the plot, given the situation you know exactly how the said character is going to react. And the last scene is painfully silly.

However, if the technical aspects like the action and stunts, the cinematography, the camera movements interest you; it is certainly worth a watch. The unique treatment of the titles grabs attention. The first 15-20 minutes raise curiosity but are what I call ‘over-produced’ - dramatic entries of characters, too much background music, and the urge to do something “different” in every frame shows.

The actual story unfolds gradually and during the interval you are thinking, “it’s okay so far, let’s see how it goes”. And then come the dialogues repeated for impact - okay, I am exaggerating - only one dialogue is repeated…but, thrice. To my credit though, it was not just me, the whole auditorium gave an exasperated “ohhh”, the third time. And the word “dharm” is heard one too many times. The unique characteristics of Amitabh Bachchan’s character are repeated till you learn them by heart. And then comes the climax where I said almost blurted out, “You gotta be kidding me! The maker of Parinda and 1942 – A love story ended his movie like this?!”

The performances are awesome. Once again, you forget that this is the Amitabh Bachchan on screen. He looks and feels the character. The screen presence he has in some scenes, by just standing there without a single line to deliver, is just amazing. Everyone else has done their job to perfection too. But, if I want to watch a recent movie of Amitabh Bachchan in a serious role, I would watch the second half of Babul again. If I want to watch Saif Ali Khan as an angry character I would rather watch Omkara again. Sanjay Dutt, obviously does well as the comic relief, but if I want to laugh with him, I will watch Lage Raho Munnabhai again and again. Ditto for Vidya Balan, who with full grace, takes care of the mandatory romantic angle.

The flaws in the screenplay are too many and end up distracting you from the visual treat. Same story with a lot more detailing and by a Vidhu Vinod Chopra from ten years ago - we might have had a better experience.

- meeta, a part of the audience

32 reviewers(?) - 13 yays 10 so-so 9 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Akshay Shah, All Bollywood : ...The visuals in this movie are some of the most enticing, exciting and picture-perfect I have ever witnessed,... full review

Thumbs up, by Amit, Amit's Blogosphere : ...From the start itself the movie draws the viewers attention and grips him in its tentacles for those two odd hours... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjay Ram, Business of Cinema : ...Eklavya marks the birth of creating cinema converging with grandeur... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...Vidhu Vinod Chopra shows us that a good scene needs no words.... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ... the marriage of technique and content is splendid.... full review

Thumbs up, by Indicine Team, Indicine : ...Eklavya is a action thriller which is worth the price of the ticket... full review

Thumbs up, by Sreeram Ramchandran, M TV : ...The movie works on a very abstract plane, and you will enjoy it if you can connect to that plane.... full review

Thumbs up, by Vijay, MovieWalah : ...Tinu Verma shoots an awesome edge-of-the-seat dramatic action sequence involving a passing train and hundreds of camels... full review

Thumbs up, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ...What unfolds is an action thriller which is worth a watch.... full review

Thumbs up, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...The suspense in the pre-climax comes as a bolt from the blue.... full review

Thumbs up, by Arthur J Pais, Rediff : ...Chopra has staged quite a few well-edited and hair-raising scenes... full review

Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...one is more than likely to get caught up in the terrific treatment -- and miss the larger point of the film... full review

Thumbs up, by Shrikant Shenoy, Shrikant Shenoy : ...he does not stretch the movie for the sake of it... full review

So-So, by N K Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...The movie is visually hypnotic. But that is where the irony lies. The technique and aesthetics overpower the content... full review

So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...Because Eklavya is a myth, we don’t care that the characters are archetypal... full review

So-So, by Rachel Fernandes, Bollywood Mantra : ...One expects a shocking climax but it turns out to be disappointing in its impact.... full review

So-So, by Aprajita Anil, Express India : ...It’s crisp, outright and to-the-point.... full review

So-So, by Abhijit Mhamunkar, indya.com : ...ou get to see picture perfect frames but not enough drama complementing it.... full review

So-So, by Sarita Tanwar, MiD DAY : ...a subject that’s sombre and devoid of any masala.... full review

So-So, by GaRaM, Now Running.com : ... Especially three scenes in the film are its highlights... full review

So-So, by Vivek Kumar, Passion for Cinema : ...Now I realize why thos Rolls Royce gimmicks had to be resorted to... full review

So-So, by Full2Faltu, Passion for Cinema : ...Whatever the movie is, its a spectacularly shot movie.... full review

So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...it's the overriding bleakness of the tenor that works against the film.... full review

Thumbs down, by Cybernoon, Cybernoon: ...By diluting Elkavya’s nobility in the end, Chopra also misses making his point, the last scene is unforgivably trite.... full review

Thumbs down, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...how about narrating a story that doesn’t lose itself in the folds and fustian of style?... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...his screenplay doesn't have that "grab value" that's required to hold your attention.... full review

Thumbs down, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Chopra keeps the real excitement away and constructs the film in a series of lengthy semi-profound dialogues between characters... full review

Thumbs down, by Gaurav Malani, J.A.M : ...the royal secret that the guard wants to safely protect from the world is unveiled to the audiences in the opening reels itself... full review

Thumbs down, by Movie Talkies, Movie Talkies : ...a weak storytelling effort, and all the colour and style in the world cannot save this strange film... full review

Thumbs down, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ...Some stories are better left unsaid. "Eklavya" tragically seems to belong to that rare genre of stories that lose their relevance in their rendering.... full review

Thumbs down, by shitij, Passion for Cinema : ...(it will surely put you to sleep…Thank God its only 12 reels)... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 0 yays 1 so-so 0 nays

So-So, by Fan

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Warning: this section has some details that could distort your experience while watching the movie. I strongly recommend reading this only after you have seen the movie or if you have decided not to see it.

Plot Summary

Eklavya (Amitabh Bachchan), like his ancestors, is the guard of a royal family. He considers it his duty to protect the current "Rana" (Boman Irani) and his family (Sharmila Tagore, Saif Ali Khan, and Raima Sen). This family has its sercrets. What secrets? You have to find out on your own.

What Worked

  • There's this shot in the first 15 minutes where you feel like you are in a vehicle and it turns out that the character is in a helicopter. Cool cameramanship.
  • The romantic scenes between Prince Harshawardhan and Rajjo. Great chemistry!
  • The scene where Prince Udaywardhan kicks Eklavya - the kick makes sand go in the air. It is just for a couple of seconds, but has been done beautifully.
  • The way Jyotiwardhana is killed.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • It is unclear how Rana Jayawardhan came to know the big secret. Just because Rani asks for Eklavya while dying?
  • The pigeon and bells scene would have been much better without the extra “drama”
  • Why did Prince Udaywardhan kick Eklavya while his dad was shooting Rana Jayawardhan? To attract attention?
  • The logic behind Eklavya wanting to kill Prince Harshawardhan. Does his ‘dharma’ ask him to take revenge? Isn’t Prince Harshawardhan the new Rana? Isn’t Eklavya’s “dharma” now to protect Rana Harshawardhan?
  • Which “pooja” is going on in the last scene? What is so important about it that the whole village is attending it even though it is being performed by a chauffer’s daughter (or were we supposed to assume that Rajjo is now the queen?)?


This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • Was wondering, where in India and when was this movie set? Rajasthan or Gujarat, most likely. Would have been nice to know, since it sets the context.
  • The previews showed Amitabh Bachchan shouting, "Eklavya". What was that about? It is not in the movie, why was he calling out his own name?
  • Raima Sen is shown flying a kite. Where was the reel?
  • Where exactly was Rana Jayawardhan shot? His arm? He died because he got shot in the arm? Where were the holes that the bullets made in his jacket?
  • Those were some really long trains!
  • Eklavya who is wrinkled through the movie suddenly has rosy pink cheeks in the last scene. Looks like he is one happy man!

Eklavya - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Music Director:
Running time:
110 minutes

Comments (9)

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Read your review, Amit and have linked it from my "To Each His Own" section. I didn't like the way the story was narrated. The style gave away what was to come next and that was anti-climatic. The last 15-20 minutes were just unbearable.

Thanks for visiting and come again!

Slightly off the mark here....wanted to know if you got my email?


!!!WARNING: This comment has spoilers!!!

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for being a part of my readership! I really appreciate the time and effort you have spent in listing these questions for me. Here are my point-wise answers:

1. Eklavya was certainly stylish and it was an attempt at a thriller. I chose the word thriller because it felt the audience was being given one piece of information at a time, which is typical of a thriller. I say attempt, because for each piece of information a hint was given that gave too much away. So, when the actual information was said out loud, it was too late.

Concrete example: Piece of information - Harshawardhan is Eklavya's son. The audience is supposed to know this only when it is disclosed in the letter from Rani to her son. The way Jayawardhan keeps saying, "sirf tumhaara hi naam le rahi thi" mostly looking at Eklavya, it is pretty clear, that Harshawardhan is going to turn out to be Eklavya's son.
Similarly it was obvious that Harshawardhan was going to get involved in killing Jayawardhan given the fact that the latter killed his mother and Jayawardhan is not his father.

Yes, it was slow, but that did not bother me. However, I do think it would have worked better if instead of repeating some things, they would have spent more time on Rana Jyotiwardhan, Udaywardhan, Rajjo, and Nandini's characters (in that order).

2 and 3. Like I said, it is an attempted thriller because of the way in which things were disclosed to the audience. I felt there were no twists in the plot because, they did not come with a bang, you knew what to expect. Aren't murder mysteries supposed to be thrillers?

4. Oops! I am caught red-handed! I think except for the story everything else involved in movie-making is very technical. Sorry didn't name all of them in here, just wanted to name a few that were in mind when I left the theater.

I think story is the most important part of the movie but is not technical in nature.

5. I apologize. I meant the close-ups, use of wide-angle lens, the aerial shots. This was purely my inability to express myself and lack of appropriate vocabulary. Can you tell me or refer me to some place that can give me the exact words to describe these things?

6. A well-shot movie for sure. Tried to thrill, but could not do so, therefore failed as a thriller as a result of which it failed as a movie.

7. No-no..."na khoon baha, na koi dard" was used appropriately. Not the sonnet either.

It was the sanskrit shloka which was then explained in hindi, something to the effect "dharma wohi hai jo mati ko sach lage, jo buddhi ko sach lage, jo dil/man ko sach lage, jo aatma ko sach lage". It was repeated thrice - each time first in sanskrit and in four different ways in hindi.

8. Good!

9. When I said "characteristics of Amitabh Bachchan’s character are repeated till you learn them by heart". I meant the fact that he could not see but could hear very well - this fact was hammered on to the audience too many times.

I had a problem with the use of the word, "dharm" and "adharm" too many times. We get the point. Why do you need to keep saying, "ye mera dharm hai", like we will forget what was said 20 minutes ago. And then he lets go off his "dharma" in the end anyway.

10. The father-son scene was alright. I had a problem with the whole village scene in the end. Which "pooja" is on in the last scene? What is so important about it that the whole village is attending it even though it is being performed by a chauffer's daughter (or were we supposed to assume that Rajjo is now the queen?)? Why are the villagers showing Rajjo papers concerning their land? Do they know Harshawardhan has killed her dad and she was considering not being with him anymore?

Pannalal coming and doing the whole, "bahut bura hua" thing. Especially when the suicide note was already announced when Eklavya tells him what he thought was the truth about Rana Jayawardhan's death.

11. Yes, predictably silly.

12. I liked the climaxes of Parainda and 1942 A love story better. Eklavya's ending was too lame.

13. Yes, the performances certainly rose above the screenplay.

14. I would take off 15-20 seconds from each scene, take away all the repetitious dialogues (whether they are in one language or two) E.g. "taiyyari hai meri *pause* I am ready".

Why would I get you wrong? I sincerely appreciate the effort you have taken to understand my review.


Hi ricky,

Inconsistencies is something that I would hate to have in my reviews. Could you please take the time to point out what you found inconsistent. Thanks!

I don't mind watching the second half of Baabul for Amitabh Bachchan's acting (and Rani Mukherjee's for that matter). Willing to ignore the other stuff, that as you rightly pointed out, could lead to a death by torture.

Hi anonymous,

I can "sit back and enjoy" only in movies that are obvious comedies. The rest - very difficult for me to do.

Also, if I sit back and enjoy how can I answer questions like, "if its not a thriller in the first place then how does it fail as a thriller?" :-)

Yep! I usually do "search" for things that I don't know the right word for, didn't do it this time and was found!

Keep the comments coming!

Sakshi received your e-mail and responded. Thanks!

Thanks for stopping by Jay! Read your review. Pretty detailed indeed!

Warning! Spoilers in this comment!

Hey morph,

Good to see you here again!

Granted a character driven drama to you could be a thriller to me. But what when the makers think it is a "edge-of-the-seat dramatic action thriller". And I do not quote from some gossip column, it is right from the official website. Click on "THE STORY" link, it is the first line of the last paragraph.

I thought the point of the movie was to narrate a story which was supposed to be a thriller. And did not deliver.

It was certainly wanting to be a thriller. Otherwise why would they not show Prince Harshawardhan approaching Rana Jayawardhan? Also, why would the fact that Prince Harshawardhan was behind it all, shown in pieces, first to Rajjo and then Rana Jayawardhan yelling at Eklavya in the train scene.

Let's continue the discussion...


Eklavya had a strong line up of actors. And the setting was magnificient to watch. But once again the weak story line played the villain. Vidhu Vinod Chopra has this penchant to write short stories and then spend money to convert it into films. Unfortunately he is not a great story writer.

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