Apart from an interesting idea against the backdrop of real estate politics and land grabbing in Gurgaon, Aurangzeb falters. It ends up as a film that is rather poorly executed and by the time we reach the last half hour, it goes haywire and all but derails totally. A classic proof that merely having an interesting idea does not necessarily ensure a good film – after the idea, there’s still the story, treatment, one liner, step outline, screenplay to develop first and then having the finesse to execute it cinematically.
No doubt, there is an effort by director Atul Sabharwal to create a layered and gritty thriller through the complex plot and various characters with their individual motivations, most with their shades of grey. However, the ambitious story takes some of the most done to death elements of the 70s and 80s Hindi cinema putting itself on the back foot right to begin with. Much of its writing (weak) and narrative flow (convoluted) is verbose to ‘explain’ everything thereby falling into the tell-don’t-show syndrome. The key apne-sapne dialogue is milked so often – every major character keeps mouthing it – it ends up feeling like a form submitted to you not just in triplicate, but accompanied by a triple set of photo copies as well. The pace is sluggish, the twists and turns are weak and largely predictable, the key changeover plot points and character shifts are handled rather tackily and often without proper build up – the Vishal-Ritu love story for instance, and as mentioned the last half hour takes us into absurd 70s and 80s filmmaking that even Manmohan Desai wouldn’t buy.
Rishi Kapoor easily comes off best as the villainous cop of the piece but with Agneepath and now Aurangzeb, he is in serious danger of getting type-cast in this innings of his life. Arjun Kapoor still has miles and miles to go as an actor, and this double role seems far more than what he can handle. Still, he’s more at home in the bade-baap-ki-bigdi-aulad avatar of Ajay, while his look and emotional scenes as Vishal fall totally flat. Prithviraj doesn’t look a convincing North Indian cop, but has to be said does a decent enough job with his Hindi, and has his moments in the film. However, the women barring Tanvi Azmi make no impact whatsoever in the film, Sasheh Aagha, is simply not-happening while Amrita Singh, Deepti Naval, Swara Bhaskar and Rasika Duggal are totally wasted. Jackie Shroff is adequate as yes, an ageing gangster yet again…
Barring some fine on-location shooting bringing out the rural-ultra urban contrast in Gurgaon, the film has little going for it technically. And, for a production house, known for its music, the music is rather poor. Overall, Aurangzeb is one of the most disappointing films to come out of the Yashraj stable and has little going for it.
Hindi, Action, Drama, Color