It has all the opulence and grandeur of a certified Subhash Ghai film. But what ‘Yuvvraaj’ doesn’t have is a tight script at its backbone. The movie limps at many points in its long running time of a little less than three hours.
‘Yuvvraaj’ is a film about fraternal bonding. It’s about realizing the importance of family over money. It’s about how people who have been blinded by the lure of lucre undergo a change of heart and mind when they have none but each other to fall back on in the times of crisis. With each frame bearing an undeniable Ghai stamp, ‘Yuvvraaj’ turns out, for the most part, an audio-visual spectacle with a missing soul.
Set in Prague and Austria, the movie tells a tale of three brothers.
Deven ( Salman Khan ) was kicked out from the family of his billionaire father at a young age. He’s a son who rejoices the news of his father’s death – so much he hates his dad. He stands a chance to win a big share of inheritance with which he wants to claim a financial standing enough to marry the woman he loves – Anushka ( Katrina Kaif ), whose eccentric doc dad ( Boman Irani ) won’t let her marry a �galli ka kutta�, as he so eloquently describes Deven.
Gyanesh ( Anil Kapoor ) has been a retard since childhood. An autistic, he’s a child in a man’s body. But he’s the son his father loved the most, so much that the old man named him the inheritor of his humungous wealth before dying.
Danny ( Zayed Khan ) is a spoilt brat with a passion for gambling, planes, and women. His temper rules his head. So when he gets nothing more than peanuts from his dad’s riches, he’s naturally left huffing and puffing.
Since it is a Ghai film, there has to be an evil uncle (Anjan Shrivastava) who has his flickering eye on the entire wealth. With the three brothers divided, he fancies his chances all the more.
How Gyanesh unwittingly becomes central to reuniting his estranged brothers is what the rest of the tale is about.
The biggest flaw of ‘Yuvvraaj’ is that its story belongs to a period when the audiences used to lap up anything tossed at them in the package of mawkish sentimentality. Times have changed, but Ghai’s films have changed only in their outward form. Sure, ‘Yuvvraaj’ has terrific cinematography (Kabir Lal) and a few soulful tunes by A R Rahman . But Ghai’s style of telling the tale is so outdated, that at many times in ‘Yuvvraaj’ you feel you are watching a rerun of ‘Ram Lakhan’ or Taal .
Even if you discount the film’s regressive treatment, it’s hard to overlook the poor performances by its star cast, barring Anil Kapoor. Though Anil does nothing stellar or bar-raising, his performance is the most earnest and most sincere. Salman Khan enacts his part with such flippancy that you think he’s walking his dog in the park. In only two emotion-packed scenes (both have him crying) in the entire movie does Salman show glimpses of acting. Zayed Khan lives up to expectations. Like all his previous performances, he hams like he’s going to get an award for it. Katrina Kaif looks stunningly gorgeous as a cello player. But she can’t act worth a cent of her beauty.
All said, ‘Yuvvraaj’ does have a few moments that touch your heart. Simple moments like the autistic Gyanesh taking the blame for a road accident by his brother Deven. Or another moment when Deven begs the doctor (Boman) to attend to his dying brother. There is a very good plot build-up right at the fag end when Gyanesh is poisoned minutes before a stage performance. But Ghai botches it up by adding too much melodrama to it. A little sensitivity and subtlety would have made the ending worth applauding.
Alas, that doesn’t happen. And what we get is just an avveraage ‘Yuvvraaj’.