Bhansali throws a pleasant surprise by opening up 'Guzaarish' within 10 minutes. He doesn't beat around the bush and instead sets the film's context (mercy killing) pretty quickly. The entire back story of the central protagonist (Hrithik Roshan) is told in on and off flashback sequence that not only looks justified but also comes across as quite simple. Moreover, despite a theme that has been perceived as dark, gloomy and painful over the last few weeks, 'Guzaarish' has enough humour in the narrative to turn into a heart warming affair rather than a sad saga.
Hrtihik, playing the role of someone whose body is half paralyzed, doesn't invoke any sense of self-pity either. In fact he is happy even in his suffering and is one character who has quite a few friends around him as well. While Aishwarya Rai, his nurse for 12 years, is the closest of them all, his lawyer (Sharnaz Patel), his doctor (Suhel Seth), his student (Aditya Roy Kapoor, seen again after 'Action Replayy') and of course his mother (Nafisa Ali) ensure that he has his share of smiles. However, now with him looking at ending his life, they do support him - whether reluctantly or willingly - in his decision.
Other than a couple of well orchestrated court room sequences which are pretty much the highlights of 'Guzaarish', there are quite a few other sequences that keep one glued to the screen. Hrithik's magic tricks from the past, the scene where he gets angry but can't vent physically, his conversation with the Father, his sweet little moments with Ash, especially the ones where they collectively get into orgasmic moans, his first interaction with Aditya and his subtle outburst in court - all of this pretty much conveys once more that Hrithik is an actor par excellence and with 'Guzaarish', he has come up with his best act ever.
Aishwarya Rai plays her age and is competent as ever. Not quite getting an author backed part to enact; she is happy being second to Hrithik and never tries to overshadow him. Sharnaz is terrific in her courtroom scenes and one wonders why we don't see more of her. Aditya is decent though he had done much better in a much bigger part in 'Action Replayy'. Monikangana Dutta, for all the talks of her big debut in a Bhansali film, has just one scene, a couple of reaction shots and half-a-presence in a song sequence, hence making one truly believe that all the hype was just not worth it.
Even otherwise, 'Guzaarish' may not necessarily be reserved for a niche audience but then it doesn't belong to 'don't miss it' category either. Also, the film doesn't quite follow a conventional Hindi film format. Reason being that while the interval point is abrupt, the ending too is sudden. Moreover, the entire sequence before the film's end, the one where Hrithik is enjoying a party, is pretty long drawn with the last shot even resulting in unintentional laughter.
On the positive front, film's music goes well with the flow of the narrative and the ones that stay on once the film is through are 'Sau Gram Zindagi', 'Udi' and 'Zikr'. Magic sequences are done well too, set design is superb, cinematography is top notch, sound design is pretty impressive while background score involves the viewer.
Overall, 'Guzaarish' may not be an outstanding piece of cinema. However, where the film scores is the fact that it has a soul, something that was missing in Bhansali's last 'Saawariya' and was pretty much in abundance in his 'Black'. It is this soul, a concrete storyline and the fact that as a viewer that you totally connect to the characters is something that makes 'Guzaarish' a good watch.