Cinevista : Overdone but underplotted

Rabindra Pokharel


The punchline “race against time” gives you the impression of a sci-fi film but if that is what you are looking for, beware of a terrible mistake! ‘Waqt’ is a social parable where an affectionate father races against time to make a responsible man out of his irrationally indulgent son. However, from the different planes they’re perched on, both the father and son seem to be involved in an undecided race against each other at first. Well, so much for the title of the film. Emotional extravagance set aside, this sort of social drama should be a welcome deviation from the cheap flicks dished out usually to audiences. Once again picked from a Gujarati play (Shah’s films are more often than not based on Gujarati theatre) and scripted by Aatish Kapadia, the storyline of ‘Waqt’ hinges on the simple premise of the relationship between an over-affectionate father and his negligent son. Ishwar Sherawat’s (Amitabh Bachchan) unrestrained affection towards his son Aditya (Akshay Kumar) turns the latter into a frivolous good-for-nothing. While both Ishwar and his wife Sumitra (Shefali Shah) are very well aware of their son’s weaknesses they fail to bring him back to his senses. In the meantime, Aditya finds his lady love Mitali (Priyanka Chopra) and gets married after some minor family hassles. Mitali becomes pregnant soon after their honeymoon trip. Aditya still makes no sign of changing his “libertine” ways of life. Then the father takes the momentous decision of sending his darling son out of his house with his pregnant wife ostensibly to live on their own.

Aditya’s consuming passion in life is to see himself as a film star. His only hope is to succeed in a talent hunt. But at the same time it’s difficult for him to meet the daily responsibilities of a good husband and father of the yet unborn child! He’s somehow able to sustain the family as a stuntman. What follows eventually moulds a responsible man out of the capricious Aditya. Sounds like something you’ve already heard of before? Identified with one of the characters? Well, the movie makes no pretensions about having anything “novel” about it. And that’s where its beauty lies. In fact, the film is, perhaps, conceived from “the outsider” phenomenon happening in developing countries worldwide. This actually implies the genesis of self respect and free spirit among young adults who live outside their parental household following their parents sending them to distant places, often abroad, for work and study, post-1980s. The twist, here, is that the father, and not the son, is keener on the son achieving autonomy and identity. In that respect, the film is often underplotted and undermade as it fails to cash in on a number of possibilities and subtle nuances that rise from the situation.

Though the film promises to be a tearjerker, it is not without blemishes. Pre-intermission, it stretches endlessly with the father pampering his spoilt son. Anu Malik’s music seems to simply drift past the audience’s ears! It fails to make any particular impression, the songs slotted in discordantly after each sequence in the first half. Some sequences are overloaded with emotion. However, post-intermission, things take a turn for the better! Boman Irani’s light humour brightens up the dialogue and serves as a perfect foil for the overly contrived and often tense verbiage.

‘Waqt’ is Vipul Shah’s third venture with a fabulous set of luminaries. With the stellar presence of Amitabh Bachchan, you can hardly expect something less than overwhelming. But even Akshay Kumar seems to have learnt a great deal working together with Big B. Akshay’s performance throughout the movie is impressive. Vipul Shah seems to have discovered the striking combination of the duo since their irresistible performance in

‘Aankhen’. Even Priyanka Chopra (the daughter-in-law), who usually seems happy playing the coquettish belle, here plays a sober woman of the world. She manages to look gorgeous than ever, though, with her maturing performance. A decent movie aimed for the family audience.

‘Waqt’ is on at Kumari Cinema since April 23. (Movie Waqt, Cast Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra, Shefali Shah, Boman Irani, Director Vipul Shah, Music Anu Malik)