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Movie Review: 'Aurangzeb' is engaging but overlong

'Aurangzeb' has good performances but stretched climax
By Nikhil Kumar
Fri, May 17, 2013 13:01:57 GMT
 

The ApunKaChoice movie review of Aurangzeb. There’s much to admire and decry in debutant director Atul Sabharwal’s film Aurangzeb, starring Arjun Kapoor in a double role.

To begin with, the film has an interesting plotline, but is populated with such a slew of mercurial characters with shifting loyalties that you expect a volte-face per reel. Some characters are well fleshed out, some left woefully under-etched. Moreover, the dialogues they mouth seem more like ‘thought-for-the-day’ quotations rather than the colloquial exchange normal people indulge in.

Yet, despite the banalities and inconsistencies, Aurangzeb does manage to strike a chord with a viewer because of its breakneck pace and powerful performances. The film is fairly engaging, very watchable, entertaining even.

The story is set in the present day Gurgaon, the goldmine for real estate tycoons. One such land shark is Yashwardhan (Jackie Shroff). With his cunning and sharp assistant Neena (Amrita Singh) he runs an empire of shady dealings and black money in cahoots with the corporate class and politicos. Alas, the heir to his empire Ajay (Arjun Kapoor) is a pampered, hotheaded, clubbing, girlfriend-bashing brat.

On the other side is the family of cops. Ravikant (Rishi Kapoor) is too shrewd to be just a cop. His nephew Arya (Prithviraj Sukumaran) and son Dev (Sikander Kher) look up to him.

The plot thickens when Ravikant decides to bring down the all-powerful Yashwardhan by kidnaping his son Ajay and in his place planting his lookalike Vishal to winkle out all of Yashwardhan’s dirty business secrets. Trouble begins when blood-ties have the better of greed and loyalty.

The story is darn interesting, you see. Particularly the part when you see an uncouth Vishal taking the place of his lookalike in swanky surroundings and with people he can’t afford to make suspicious. So, very rightly the first half of the film zips by faster than you care to pinpoint the flaws and loopholes. Not that there are none. The pace just cushions the bumps.

It’s in the second half that the steam begins to go out and one senses that director Atul Sabharwal is at a loss as to which direction to steer the story. The drama begins to get somewhat predictable and even the twists begin to lose their bite. Thankfully, the director steps on the pedal again and takes the film to a fairly engaging but somewhat stretched climax.

Aurangzeb rides on strong performances by its cast, the most outstanding of them being the irrepressible Rishi Kapoor whose supercharged performance is laced with cunning and charm in equal measure. His dialogue delivery is impeccable, even though the lines given him are at time downright trite.

A close second is Arjun Kapoor. In his second outing on screen, the young lad manages to bring a marked distinction in the two characters (Ajay and Vishal) that he plays. If Ajay is a proverbial brat, Vishal a reluctant, observant snitch with his heart in the right place.

On the sidelines, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Jackie Shroff, Amrita Singh and Sikander Kher chip in well for their parts. Deepti Naval stands out in one scene with Rishi Kapoor where the latter shares his anxieties. Newcomer Sasheh Aagha (as Arjun Kapoor’s girlfriend) is glamorous and evidently game for bold roles but needs to hone her acting skills.

All in all, Aurangzeb isn’t without its flaws. It could have been shorter and crisper. But it’s a fairly engaging family drama with thrills thrown in to boot.

Worth a watch.

Rating: **1/2
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