Starring: Abhishek, Aishwarya
Director: Mani Ratnam
The story is one of a young man with humble beginnings who rises to great power and impressive wealth through entrepreneurship. With hope in his heart, boundless self-confidence and immense drive to succeed the young man starts his business in textiles from money received as dowry. He grows the business by leaps and bounds often resorting to bribery and other corrupt practices. The movie certainly appears to have been inspired by Dhirubhai Ambani’s business success, if not his life.
The movie stars Abhishek and Aishwarya. For starters, the movie didn’t really need Aishwarya Rai. The role was one for an innocent village belle who later transforms to a faithful wife. A fresh face could have done a better job. Ash lacks the natural innocence but works hard to fit the role. In the heroine intro’ song, “Barso re” the Director has tried hard to re-create the magic of the film, Roja where the heroine is introduced with the beautifully choreographed “Chinna chinna Roja…”. Unfortunately the results are nowhere close, not to mention Ash’s way to vigorous dance movements.
Abhishek on the other hand plays a role he has never handled before and does a creditable job. Even his dances are bearable for a change.
Almost all the songs appear to have been deliberately inserted — Mallikka Sherawat’s item number being the most blatant of them. In the catchy number sung by Bappi Lahiri, Abhishek looks younger in the song than he did in the scenes leading up to the song!
Some of the scenes are needlessly over-dramatized. The scene were the hero addresses his shareholders in the rain being one and the final court scenes were the camera crew goes completely berserk being the other.
Also, the movie ends abruptly. The characters played by Mithun and Madhavan simply disappear at the end as did one of his trusted employees. It sounds like the Director is justifying the heroes actions, but this makes little sense. If he didn’t intend to justify the hero’s actions, then it certainly doesn’t come across. Perhaps it was deliberately open ended for the audience to decide? In any case the end needed a lot more work/clarification!
Like all Mani Ratnam movies, the technical finesse is apparent in the music, the lighting, the scenes, the background score etc. and is overall very watchable. But this film certainly has a lot more loose ends than most of his earlier films. Increasingly, Mani Ratnam comes across as a talented movie maker seriously lacking in good scripts. Besides, he appears to have become more risk-averse, going in for tried and tested actors and actresses as opposed to fresh faces.