Rating                        ★★★

Directed by               R. Balki

Produced by             Sunil Lulla, R. Balki, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, R. K. Damani, Amitabh Bachchan,

                                      Abhishek Bachchan, Sunil Manchanda, Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor, Dhanush

Written by                R. Balki

Starring                     Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush, Akshara Haasan

Music by                    Ilaiyaraaja

Cinematography    P. C. Sreeram

Release dates           6 February 2015

From the two potent & powerful characters written scrupulously for screen to plenty of interesting ‘Bollywood’ references from real life, there’s a lot to feed your ‘filmy’ appetite in R Balki’s smartly conceived SHAMITABH. Had it also been crispier, less messy & a little modest in its melodramatic approach, it would have been much more than just a worthy mention in the list of movies made in Bollywood, on Bollywood! As of now, let’s just settle the score with ‘a good one-time watch’.

Balki is known to push the envelopes in terms of adopting uncommon ideas for the screen. In SHAMITABH, it is all about two different talents coming together for each other’s good but with their own share of egos and apprehensions making it a difficult ride to step on. A small-town mute with average looks, Danish [Dhanush] is your ‘not-so everyday’ cinema-crazy. As illustrated in the film, he even turns at ‘48 frames per second’ speed [camera technique used for a slow-motion effect]! On the other hand, it is Amitabh Sinha [the legend himself] – a long-struggling actor with rich baritone whose shattered dreams and destructive self-esteem have landed him in a deserted graveyard. Science & technology gives both a golden chance to lend each other a hand in satisfying their urge to become widely accepted & admired. But the question ruins the smooth walk, “Who’s better? Who’s bigger? The voice or the face?”! 

SHAMITABH interestingly takes references from real life and weaves it with the screenplay to make it more intriguing. Danush playing a bus-conductor who makes it to the heights of being a superstar can easily be allied with his real life father-in-law and the megastar Rajnikanth’s inspiring life story. Likewise, Amitabh plays his namesake who doesn’t forget to mention that he once was rejected from everywhere for his very same tonal quality Danish needs and approves of.

Balki also doesn’t leave any stone unturned to make viewers spellbound with the elements of surprise at a consistent interval. In a scene, the ever-gorgeous Rekha gives away the best actor trophy to Dhanush and when Dhanush starts thanking everyone from the stage, of course in Amitabh Bachchan’s ever-mesmeric voice; Rekha’s perplexedly stunned expression could tell you all those said-unsaid romantic notions between the two without saying much. One of the most intelligently envisioned and executed cameos I would say!

 Dhanush though looks a bit shaky and blatantly too confident for the role of an earnest aspirant. His mute act also works more on the entertaining side and not equally absorbing in showcasing emotional outrage within the character. And who doesn’t remember and rejoice Amitabh Bachchan’s drunken acts from his previous superhits?? You will find the legend here practicing more and more of such acts with the same amount of excellence and exactness. Akshara Haasan impresses as a confident go-getter girl who can give it back to you, no matter how big star you play on screen. She calls a spade a spade, Danush a ‘monkey’ for that matter and she means it. More power to women in Hindi cinema!  

SHAMITABH despite being entertaining in parts, having blessed with applause-worthy performances by the leads and a completely fresh & novel plot, puts your interest off after a while. Bachchan’s monologues gets into repetitive mode and some are really superfluous. A slack chopping hand on editing table ends up lengthening the duration of the film anywhere close to 2 hours 40 minutes. Even the melodramatic climax looks strained enough to recreate the one from Kamal Haasan starrer SADMA. At the end, SHAMITABH has Amitabh written all over, and this one name guarantees and deserves a good one-time watch at any given time!

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