Director R.Balki hit the jackpot straight with his first film, ‘Cheeni Kum‘ follwed by ‘Paa‘ which won him both critical acclaim as well as box office success. Now in his latest offering Shamitabh, he has come up with a funny yet clever story that has enough novel ideas which makes the film feel special and something that truly stands out from the crowd. Dhanush who after conquering the bollywood audience with his impeccable performance in his debut film Raanjhanaa made everyone waiting for his next outing in Hindi and afresh Dhanush gets a meaty role that has enough scope to perform. Remember, he had rejected 33 films after Raanjhanaa before signing this film and it is quite evident when you seeShamitabh for its indulgent storytelling and inventive concept. As usual, R.Balki’s favourite music director Ilaiyaraaja composes music and this film is bankrolled by a host of industry heavyweights.
Shamitabh actually revolves around three individuals – Dhanush and Amitabh Bachchan who come together with the help of an assistant director – Akshara Haasan for a purpose, but the two drift apart due to their ego. What happens next forms the crux of the story. Two individuals that possess different talents. The one with one does not have the other of the other. And the other of the other does not have the one of the one. Dumb boy Dhanish – a movie buff and village conductor (Dhanush) comes to Mumbai to become an actor. He might not have the looks to be tagged a star but he has a talent for intensity who aspires to make it big. All he lacks is a bridge of communication, that is, he can’t speak. On the other hand, Amitabh Bachchan is a failed actor who never even got a chance. He’s a drunken sod who has that magical voice. With the help of Akahara Haasan and a technology, the marriage of Dhanush and Amitabh’s talents creates a magic called “Shamitabh“, the new hero in town. What works very well is the flow of offbeat story that does not deviate from the main storyline even a bit.
Balki happens to go with an unconventional plot development to let Dhanush have Amitabh’s voice. Doctors in Finland discover a way of projecting another person’s voice through a dumb person’s throat using a microchip. If you don’t dig in too much science of this idea, it seems engaging enough albeit it sounds a bit odd. But its also the most novel part of the film. This enables infinite possibilities for a filmmaker to explore new ideas and that’s exactly what Balki capitalises on. Shamitabh has an excellent take on how ego clashes between two people can lead to bitter consequences in our lives. Balki keeps you entertained throughout the two hours and twenty minute runtime except a few uninteresting scenes here and there with the tiring first half which drags and then an overdone climax. Otherwise he made it enjoyable with quirky dialogues with many references to recollect, smart characterizations along with the mix of good humour and drama.
The one area where Shamitabh doesn’t falter at all is its top notch performances. This film displays Amitabh Bachchan and Dhanush’s talent to its peak, for fans of both these actors it’s quite a treat. Dhanush, Amitabh and Akshara Haasan are the three main leads who compete with each other. The characters are flawlessly etched out to portray on screen. Also the casting is spot on with few cameos who make a mark. The idea of Dhanush having Amitabh Bachchan’s baritone is executed with precise sound effects. But the reason you believe that’s Shamitabh talking is thanks to Dhanush’s splendid performance right from the first frame till the end. His talent and on-screen charisma are brilliant. Amitabh Bachchan needs no introduction, he gets the whole film, almost every scene to showcase all that has gone in making him a legend, proves us that he is the superstar of Bollywood. Akshara Haasan makes a sparkling dream debut. Its unusual but very appropriate. She impresses with her body language and minute expressions. The way she managed to enact some of the tough scenes are clap-worthy and a great launch pad one could say. The supporting cast were adequate and gave their best.
Ilaiyaraaja’s music has blended well with the captivating visuals captured by cinematographer PC Sreeram. Ilaiyaraaja’s trendy songs like Sha Sha Mi Mi and Sannata does not ruin the flow of the story and he makes his presence felt with the stylized background score. PC Sreeram does an extraordinary work behind the lens by capturing the Mumbai locations to the best. Coming to the conclusion, Shamitabh is a film unlike any other. Its themes are dark and deep but observations are candid and funny. And then there are some thought provoking reflections on the movie industry world. The film possess a wonderful idea, very original and straight from the heart, just that it could have been almost flawless if not for some unjustifiable slips in between.
Shamitabh is not an ordinary picture, its the phenomenal performances aided with fresh entertainment which makes it a perfect new mixture.