Saturday, February 17, 2007

Eklavya : Where is the story ?

Thought I will write this down fast before first impressions evaporate.
If you go watch this movie, you will love the picturesque locales of Rajasthan. You will be swept away by the dramatic forts and the colourful ways of the people. You will be stunned by the dramatic possibilities at the fort complete with mashaals and lanterns.
But when the movie is over, you will sit and wonder : where is the story ?

The story is set in Rajasthan. Eklavya is the guard charged with the duty of protecting the Rana or king and the royal family. (I am just wondering if he was the only guard on duty, though !). The royal family consists of an impotent Rana and the offspring -- a mentally challenged girl and a foreign-based son. It unravels that the guard was also commissioned to procreate the next generation of the raj gharana in view of the Rana's inability to do so himself. This is known to the Rana only at the Queen's deathbed. It is also transmitted to the son via a posthemous letter from dear mom.

Events unfold from here. At least that is what we were expecting. The story was almost like a Panchatantra tale blown up to accomodate myriad characters which would have been an excellent excuse to rope in more star-power. I could count atleast 3 characters as absolutely redundant -- I will not name those here (do not want to spoil the fun for you).
Mr. Bacchhan, as usual, acts with his eyes. The brooding, longing look haunts you long after you have left the hall. The character is well sketched out, is well dressed (a great deal of attention seems to have gone into the turban and beard). The mannerisms, the way of saluting, the language: everything is spot on.
What is not spot on, though, is the rest of the cast. Saif Ali Khan tries too hard to be morose, Vidya Balan does pretty much what she did in Parineeta, Jackie Shroff we will not talk about. Jimmy Shergill has a tiny-tweeny role and before you know what that role is, it is over. Boman Irani somehow manages to bring in a semblence of feeling into the script with his portrait of an insecure Rana. Sanjay Dutt surely has better things to do.
Overall, the "action-packed" movie that was promised in the trailers never happened. The only piece of action (near the railway crossing) was poorly choreographed and moved in slow motion to its death. There was no sense of suspense, excitment or anticipation in it. You would have thought that a story set in the historical forts of Rajasthan would have a more alluring plot than this.

There is one thing that I still am unable to understand. Mr.Bacchhan keeps throwing his dagger at each and every object that he fancies. But, somehow, it is always returned to him without him putting the slightest effort to look for it. And it is always spotlessly clean. Wonder what that was all about !!!