Monday, July 25, 2005

Movie Review: Virudhh

An Angry Old Man: Viruddh

Indian cinema is maturing and it’s maturing fast. Along with sex saturated masala flicks we are also getting some very innovative movies. Viruddh is one such movie which is entirely against the norms.

Perhaps that is not entirely true. Amitabh Bachhan started his career with the image of an angry young man. The industry gave him some very powerful roles, often written specifically for him that revolved around the same basic idea – an angry young man taking it upon himself to cleanse the society. Bachhan rose to a larger than life image which has lasted till date. Viruddh is the same basic idea. The place where it is innovative is that now it’s the angry old man and not the young one. Indian industry has rarely, if ever seen an old man in the role of a hero. I was glad to see that Indian audience has become matured enough to accept an old man as a hero. Perhaps it is the magic of Bachhan that has carried it through but it has happened nevertheless.

The film is pathetically slow before the interval. I did not time it but the movie was less than two and a half hours long and it could easily have been shorter. The pre-interval part drags along leisurely in depicting the life of the Patwardhan couple spending their retirement days in contentment. But forty-five minutes of this goody-goody banter between them is too excruciating. After a long wait the story takes its first real turn at the death of John Abraham who is playing junior Patwardhan in the movie.

The second part of the movie grips you from the very beginning. It is dominated totally by Amitabh who delivers a steady volley of great performances. There are some intense moments in this part and everyone has acted with finesse. The climax is brilliantly executed and succeeds in making an impact.

The actors have all acted well. Both Sanjay Dutt and Sachin Khedekar are good. Supporting cast does not falter anywhere. Editing and cinematography is okay.

The one thing which really spoils the movie is a profuse inclusion of embedded advertisements which really gets on to your nerves after some time. The movie is selling everything from Calcium Sandoz tablets and Elf engine oil to Navatan tel and Western Union Money Transfer, all executed in full television style. I mean, come on, the audience does not want to spend its hard earned money on these stupid ads. Perhaps, as long as you have Amitabh Bachhan on screen, it does not really matter what he’s saying – the public will watch.

In all, I’ll call it a good movie. Although it repeats an age-old formula it does not lose its charm anywhere. Rather it is refreshing in these days when Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra have been feeding us feel-good family dramas for a long time now. And for the die hard Amitabh fan, it’s a great delight to watch the superstar in his most familiar guise once again.