Staying Alive (Hindi)

Death,or the fear of it,is a great equaliser,says this film based on a real story. After the landmark Mee Sindhutai

Written by Rajiv Vijayakar | Published:February 10, 2012 7:33 pm

The value(s) of life

Producers: Shemaroo Entertainment

Director: Ananth Mahadevan

Writers: Sujit Sen,Anupama Mishra

Cast: Ananth Mahadevan,Saurabh Shukla,Navni Parihar,Sunita,Chandan Roy Sanyal,Sanjay Swaraj,Geeta Nair,Jahangir Khan

Death,or the fear of it,is a great equaliser,says this film based on a real story. After the landmark Mee Sindhutai Sapkal in Marathi,director Ananth Mahadevan returns to Hindi cinema in this hospital-based saga of two heart attack patients,journalist Aditya Roy (Mahadevan himself) and city ganglord Shaukat Ali (Saurabh Shukla).

Shaukat is terrified—this is his first such attack. Aditya is cool,sarcastic—it’s his third. Outside in the waiting room,Aditya’s wife Leela (Sunita) is in control,while Shaukat’s wife Shireen (Navni Parihar) is weeping ceaselessly and son Altaf (Chandan Roy Sanyal) is also desperate.

Inside the ward,Aditya and Shaukat regain consciousness simultaneously,and Aditya recognises the criminal. From here begins a battle of words as Aditya makes Shaukat come to terms with this situation and teaches him home-truths about life. Outside,a strange bond develops between Shireen-Altaf and Leela.

When Aditya suffers a heart attack again on his bed,no one’s more anxious than Shaukat. When the gangster leaves hospital,he vows to start life afresh by confessing to his crimes,and extracts a promise from Aditya to visit him. There was excellent scope for a movie that could have been as moving and instructive as it was funny. But director Mahadevan keeps the script one-dimensional and stretches the proceedings and loses grip in the last 30 minutes.

There are some lovely sequences in the first half,like Leela narrating the story of Aditya’s past affair to Shireen. She also points out that Shaukat is now just a husband who must be saved from death and not the criminal he is for the outside world when Shireen is embarrassed about his “profession.” The Aditya-Shaukat interactions have early sparks that soon peter off. Saurabh Shukla stands out as Shaukat and the rest of the principal actors do well,with a special mention of Chandan Roy Sanyal’s natural act.

Rating: One star for Saurabh Shukla,one star for the rest of the cast and a half-star for the concept.

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