Every time you shake and look through a kaleidoscope, you see a different and beautiful pattern. Thus, in general, you repeat the process a few times and pamper your visual senses. But, if the repeat mode exceeds the required loop, will your visuals be still as entertaining? Will your mind, still absorb the beauty or register the differences between two successive formations?
'Shamitabh', the movie, is a brand new and excellent concept, captured by an excellent team, with an amazing first half, but half baked and mindless iterations in the second half, and an unnecessary sad ending.
Danish (Dhanush) is a born dumb but not deaf Maharashtrian lad from Igatpuri. Since childhood, cinema is everything to him, and his only dream and ambition in life is to become a big Bollywood hero. Ironically, though his handicap in no way barricades his favorite activity i.e. watching any cinema on any medium, it definitely acts as a stone wall for fulfilling his dream. And this is exactly what he realizes after coming to Mumbai, post his mother's death.
Soon, Akshara (Akshara Hassan), a young and feisty assistant director, enters his life as the fairy Godmother. She not only realizes his potential, but also provides the means to showcase the same. She introduces him to a new Finland based technology, wherein implantation of a microchip in Danish's throat and wearing of Bluetooth type ear-devices by both Danish and an actual speaker, and coordinated speaking by the speaker and lip syncing by Danish, will make appear, as if the voice is coming from the latter's throat! It does not need saying that, as of now, this technology is a fiction.
Post the implantation, the duo's search for the right speaker ends at Robert aka Amitabh Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), a drunk old man with loads of attitude, but a strong baritone voice. Ironically, around forty years back, Robert himself could not make it big as an actor, as the film industry found his voice unsuitable!
Together, Danish and Amitabh create 'Shamitabh' i.e. Danish's screen name and presence. Akshara plays the able moderator between them, as well as between them and their first director. Together the 'Shamitabh' duo touch an altogether new height in the film world, till their day-to-day minor bickering, take the form of gigantic ego clash, wherein the voiceless actor and faceless speaker, refuse to abide by or bow down to each other, with each striving to become the primary beneficiary of new impounding limelight and recognition. Surprisingly, none of them is bothered about the money part. It is left to see, who will win out of the two and what has fate got stored for both of them.
By sixty, most actors, either retire or shift from main leads to character roles. Thanks, to R. Balki, Amitabh Bachchan is still playing the main lead, and that too with dignified success (Cheeni Kum, Paa). By now, the director, R. Balakrishnan aka Balki is very well versed with Amitabh's physical and theatrical extravaganzas and limitations, and he has used this knowledge to the 'T'. Hats off to him, for working on a super fresh and unusual script and carving out an interesting outcome out of it. But, since he is an ad man (Chairman & CCO of ad agency Lowe Lintas) by first profession, he has vastly used his movie canvas as ad films for products and services, like - Lifebuoy, Amazon etc. It may be a smart financial move, but such, on the face, advertisements cannot go down well with serious movie enthusiasts. Latter half of the movie, focuses a lot on ego clash. Unfortunately, to support the same, neither Danish appears thanklessly robust, nor Robert seems the one with the unfair deal. Also, with his impeccable reputation, international recognition and designer clad appearances, it's a tad bit difficult to imagine Amitabh Bachchan thriving and kicking for recognition!
Both of Balki's earlier movies were unusual, well appreciated and both showcased a demise towards the end. This one follows the same trait. Now, whether this is done to maintain the so-called superstition for hit movies, or, to appeal better at international film festivals, unlike his previous movies, this one does not create the aura of hope and good life towards the end.
The movie has six songs and cameo appearances by various celebrated personalities of Bollywood, including Rekha! 'Sha sha sha mi mi mi' and 'Piddly Si Baatein' tracks are nice. The latter is voiced by Amitabh Bachchan himself and its picturization is full five minutes of toilet humor! Barring, Amitabh's performance, the remaining movie transcends considerable dosage of South Indian sensibility. The movie also draws a lot of similes from its lead actor's lives. Like rejection of Amitabh Sinha for his voice vs. Rejection of Amitabh Bachchan for his voice, by All India Radio; Danish working as a bus conductor before becoming a hero vs. Dhanush's father-in-law aka superstar Rajnikanth practicing the same; etc. Art Direction is very good. Whether it is the swank new and themed urban apartment of Danish, or graveyard situated and rupees five hundred rented dump of Robert, there is distinct beauty and harmony in both the establishments.
Amitabh Bachchan is superb in soliloquy, as well as action-reaction scenes. Crossing seventy and with evident wrinkles, this great personality still manages to look quite a debonair, even when he is dressed in rags. In this film, arrogance, mirth, humor, nonchalance, despair, going into oblivion, and every other possible shades of emotion have been rolled into one and only Amitabh Bachchan. Dhanush, is again a different shade card with his own rich plethora of different shades. He simply stands out in the scenes, wherein he emotes frustrated arrogance, and that too in a speechless mode. Not for a single second, you as an audience will happen to miss the voice of his dumb character! Managing to stand tall in front of Amitabh is no mean feat, and Dhanush has successfully achieved that. Akshara, the debutante, appears a combination of Riya Sen and Kareena Kapoor, from their respective debut movies. She looks very young, boyish, genuine and strong minded. However, she will be required to work over her South Indian dialect. Rest of the cast is good as well.
In addition to, such great concept and execution, only if there was more humor, less altercations, and that too packed in lesser duration, the movie would have emblazed on an altogether different level.