Film, Hindi, Review

All Is Well

A comic caper that fails to evoke a single laughter, even if it is in its own absurdity, is not a very successful one.

I remember being present for a friend’s script reading session with the great Saeed Mirza. Before we started, he asked what the film was about. The lead actor who was to do the reading started talking about the multi-plot story, the characters, the highlights and turning points of the script. Mr Mirza gently cut him off in full flow. He peered through his drooping spectacles and bushy eyebrows to explain what he wanted to know. “This is point A, and this is Point B. The essence of your film is this journey from A to B. That’s it. That’s your film.” Great men, successful men, they are able to simplify a discussion to come immediately to the heart of the matter. They cut out the noise so we can see what matters most, in the shortest possible time. They are great because they are precise, in both thought and action.

Mr Mirza was demanding clarity from us. He was emphasizing the need to understand and remember what the heart of our film is. This journey is a larger thought – it could be anything; the journey of an idea, a philosophy, an opinion, a politic, a character, a villain, a group of protagonists, hell even a propaganda. How faithfully the script, the story, the dialogue, the screenplay, the actors, the DoP, the sound designer, the art designer, the costume designer, the music composer, the editor, the VFX designer, how faithfully all of these stay to this journey will be a measure of how good the film will turn out to be. Filmmaking does not have rules that define a good or bad film, but it does have this principle to guide the director and his team and make decisions that can ensure the final film stays faithful to this journey.

It is what I miss most in All Is Well. At times, the film is a father and son story, at times it is a love story (which is also when the film is at its weakest), at times it is a comic chase caper, and at times it is a coming of age family drama. The directors and writers fail to display sufficient craft to fuse these elements into a cohesive film.

There are many false notes in the film. Abhishek Bachchan needs to find motivation in the roles he is doing. Perhaps he’s playing his usual laidback self, but in this film he looks disinterested and listless. Basic continuity lapses with the hero’s hair styling is a good indication of little attention to detail there is in the film. The opening credits have a song showing Abhishek performing a rock show, and it is pitifully done, having neither energy nor attitude. Rishi Kapoor is several notches higher as an actor, as is the very talented Zeeshan Ayub as a comedic gangster, and it is with them you start noticing how clumsy the writing and the plotting is, because it immediately pulls down their performances.

A comic caper that fails to evoke a single laughter, even if it is in its own absurdity, is not a very successful one. The film’s journey has way to many pit stops and diversions, and the final destination comes at the cost of a ride that is devoid of even a single memorable moment.


Hindi, Comedy, Drama, Color

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