Guzaarish is about a Quadriplegic's plea to be granted the right to die. "Euthanasia" a highly debatable issue. Hritik Roshan plays the famous ex-magician who is now crippled and requires his nurse Aishwarya Rai to do everything for him. He is incapacitated and beyond repair. His Doc "Suhel Seth" has given up on him and his Lawyer friend "Shehnaz Patel" is fighting in the courts for his right to die.
SLB is truly a big vision director. His vision is always grand. So, we have Hritik living in a Grand Old Palace in Goa with huge sweeping windows, 20 foot curtains, white sheets and walls full of black and white photographs. Aishwarya wears black dresses with scarfs and blood red lipstick for the startling contrast. The camerawork is exceptional, the use of light, darkness, shadow etc is impeccable. Infact in pure cinematic terms, the movie is extremely strong. But so was "Raavan"!!! Fortunately Guzaarish is much more.
SLB's biggest plus is his dedication to the cause. He does not dilute the issue by going into unnecessary subplots or delving too much into the magicians past. The references are when the protagonist reflects on his haydays. The music is not something that remains with you, but it compliments the visuals perfectly. The conceptualization of the song sequences themselves are a strong point.
Since SLB loves theatrics, the performances are over the top. Hritik goes from Quadriplegic to Mentally Retarded in a few scenes, but considering the difficulty of his role, he has done a more than decent job. Positioning his hands and legs in a rather obtuse angle, losing oodles of weight shows his dedication to the cause. Suhel Seth does decently, while Shehnaz Patel rides mostly towards the edge, tipping into histrionics occasionally.Aditya Roy Kapoor shows restraint and looks a good prospect for the future. Surprisingly, the one who takes the cake, is Aishwarya Rai. She is in top form throughout and does not put a foot wrong. She gets into the skin of the character of the beautiful disciplinarian who is in love with her boss. What I loved most was to see her play the imaginary drums and the air guitar in the song "UDI". That song has a touch of Magic in it and SLB + ASH contribute equally to it.
But the movie is not perfect, far from it. SLB gets carried away and throws away a superb build up by complicating the end. 2 new characters come into the fray "Hritiks Mother" and "Ash's husband" unnecessarily to give some Mellow-Drama. Infact the last 20 minutes ensure that you do not step out with that "Awestruck" feeling. The impact is lost. Also, the most powerful scenes are those which show Hritik's helplessness without the use of Dialogue ( Chinese Torture Scene) and not the dialogue ridden courtroom scenes.
Guzaarish may be inspired, but SLB's vision is not inspired. The film has the Bhansali feel to it. He has a certain rhythm to his direction. Its like a musician is behind the camera. His vision, his technique, his perfect weighing of each scene, his pacing of each scene are a delight for students of cinema. Indian Cinema needs a Bhansali. But somewhere with genius comes complacency / self-righteousness and Bhansali forgets the audience. If he somehow finds that balance, we could have a perfect movie.
Guzaarish is a rather heavy movie. But it has a certain maturity to its characters, the relationships, the direction. Its not gloomy, its not quiet about hope either. Even if the subject doesnt, the journey tires you out. And the biggest problem is SLB does not capitalise when he has the audience in his clasp. He drags the misery and loses them. I would say this is a movie that people must see. But should they go to the theaters and pay 250 bucks for it? Well, that's a completely different question altogether, coz its not quiet magic afterall.
Rating : 6.5/10 - (A strong '1' just for Aishwarya for really surprising me.)