wogma rating: Watch when on TV/online (?) - Unless you are an Amitabh and/or Dhanush fan - then go for it!
A tribute to a baritone, Shamitabh serves well for the voice's fans. Unfortunately, stretches imagination and its length a tad much making it repetitive and tiring.Read more
As much as I look forward to the next Amitabh Bachchan film, a film with his name in the title makes it a turn-off, just like Bol Bachchan did. You wonder what kind of an act in narcissm this is going to turn out to be. But then you watch the trailer and you sigh a sigh of relief.
It turns out the film is not milking the star, Amitabh but is using his very copyright-able baritone. So, this voice is going to be used with a fresh face. When two artists combine to bring about fame, clashes of ego are inevitable and that is what Shamitabh is going to play on. A very interesting premise indeed.
After Raanjhanaa I am certainly looking forward to Dhanush's next film too. Seeing him hold his own in front of a superstar of four decades is charming. That combined with the freshness that Akshara Haasan brings to the mix has piqued my interest for sure.
Bollyspice - "I was very disappointed with the soundtrack to Shamitabh."
glamsham – "3.5/5"
Milliblog – a 200 worder! "Trust Balki to take Ilayaraja national again, and how!"
Music Aloud - "7/10"
- meeta, a part of the audience
Once again a Hindi film makes me refer to a Marathi essay I wrote in my ninth standard. After a six-page long journey by the solider in my “Autobiography of a Soldier”, he was abruptly released because the captors got frustrated with his silence, or like my teacher put it, the writer got bored of writing. Shamitabh's second half suffers on similar grounds, more so the climax. In addition to the technical mumbo-jumbo in the first half, even if short, is just too convenient. So, despite an attempt at a storyline different from the routine, a lot of the writing comes across as the writers got bored and had to do some patch job to get from point A to point B. A baritone as wonderful as it is, and performances that keep you interested, make Shamitabh a just about decent watch.
Shamitabh lingers a little too much, and not in the artistic, let-the-audience-take-it-in kind of a way. To the contrary, the extra moments it stays on say Rekha's face when she hears a familiar voice, actually seem to be asking the audience, “Get it? Get it?”In fact, there was a point early in the film, where I was amused by how this old man Amitabh is being disciplined like a child by the twenty-somethings, almost like they were his parents. And lo and behold, there was a scene later in the film, that makes sure you get it.
A few other Bollywood real life references, from Amitabh Bachchan's dislike for the nomenclature Bollywood to a bus conductor rising to stardom, R. Balki sprinkles the film with nods to the industry. It is cute while it lasts, but, like always references like these divert your attention from the film's story to the fact that it is a film. Same goes for product placements, as “justifiable” as they may be, are only blatant.
With two struggling actors and a struggling director at the center, it is inevitable that Shamitabh point at at least some things wrong with the industry. From rigged award ceremonies to actors who speak for and against those depending on whether or not they got the award to actors taking control over other aspects of film-making, Shamitabh does its bit.
External references and advertisements aside, techinical glitches and forced writing aside, at its heart Shamitabh is a war of brittle egos. Amitabh Sinha, the old, haggered and cranky failed actor from four decades ago is unsurprisingly wonderfully played by Amitabh Bachchan. It stumps me every time, he comes on screen two things happen – he chews the scene and yet all you can see is the character he is playing, in this case the arrogant, drunkard.
It is commendable indeed that both Dhanush and Akshara Haasan hold their own in his presence. Even so, Dhanush's talent seemed under-explored and Akshara was good when she had to play herself – a young, aspirational, assistant director. The moment she is asked to do something “filmy”, she slips and so does the scene. The guy who plays Amitabh's chaperon has a screen presence of his own too.
Unforunately, the theme of ego clashes between voice and face, man and man, one being incomplete without the other seems like a side. As is evident with what I felt like bringing up first about the film, the things that bothered rather than the concept that is rich by itself but is left unexplored.
While I am a huge fan of the voice and was rapt every time I heard it; while I am a huge fan of the man to an extent that he is one of the few people I think who has earned the right to be arrogant; while I think if there is a personality whose career deserves a film, it is him – I'd like to see it in a documentary or a film that is blatantly about that. Not in a film that is masked as a story about how incomplete the voice is without a face while clearly being overwhelmed by the voice.
- meeta, a part of the audience
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