A Crowded Ring

Somewhere in the too-complicated strands of Aurangzeb is a film struggling to cohere.

Written by Shubhra Gupta | Published: May 18, 2013 3:24 am

Aurangzeb

DIRECTOR: Atul Sabharwal

CAST: Arjun Kapoor,Prithviraj,Rishi Kapoor,Sasheh Aagha,Amrita Singh,Jackie Shroff,Tanve Azmi,Sikander Kher,Deepti Naval,Anupam Kher

Rating: **

Somewhere in the too-complicated strands of Aurangzeb is a film struggling to cohere. This is what we have: too many subplots with threads hanging,criss-crossing a main plot that is undercooked and overbaked. A nephew (Prithivraj) brought up by his chacha (Rishi) as he has serious problems with his loser father (Kher). Identical twins separated as babies,now grown into very different individuals

(Arjun). Long suffering mother (Azmi) buffeted between the two. Filthy rich businessman (Shroff) with corrupt practices. Greedy

female associate (Amrita Singh) with sharp claws. Good cops,bad cops. All roiling in Bollywood’s new Wild West — the National Capital Region of Gurgaon.

The trouble with Aurangzeb is not that it isn’t ambitious. It is,and that’s good. Because after a long time there’s a film which invites you to work on unraveling the threads. But right from its too-crowded

epilogue,where information about the characters comes flying out at you,to its curiously impact-less lead player who sparks to life on

occasion,to its long-drawn scenes where sometimes you feel the lines are being said only for effect and not because they have organically grown out of the conversation,

Aurangzeb is trying for too much. This makes the film dense and

uneven: some parts have power,the others are inert.

These locations in Gurgaon haven’t been heavily exposed yet,but this mix of the builder mafia and collusive cops and poor farmers have a familiar ring to it. The view of the ultra-modern Metro cutting across a rapidly growing township which has both the feel of  mall-and-multiplex American

suburbia and empty stretches of agricultural land gives Aurangzeb its distinctive look. You wish more juice had come out of the sharp contrast,though.

This is Arjun Kapoor’s second film,and he is already in a double role. Ajay and Vishal may look alike,but one is nice and sensitive,the other is brash and crass (a bit like his character in his debut Ishaqzaade): Kapoor is more in synch with the second avatar. More effective than him,and in fact all the other good actors in this film,is Rishi Kapoor. As the policeman who will be king,who has not one soft shred in his hard,hard head,and who will kill a close relative rather than be caught on the wrong foot,Kapoor is terrific. It’s also nice to have Amrita Singh back amongst us even if her role is constricted.

After flashing his beautifully muscled abs,Prithviraj has a fully-fleshed part: this is an actor whom

I want see more of. There’s also a debutant with an interesting lineage: Sasheh Aagha daughter of Salma (remember her?),and

appears promising.

There is no doubt that Sabharwal has a voice,which is evident in the less constructed parts of

Aurangzeb. Maybe it will emerge with his second film.

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