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Waqt (1965) Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Saturday, April 23, 2005 • Hindi ]
Waqt (1965) Review
Sunil Dutt, Sadhna, Raj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Balraj Sahni, Rehman, Madan Puri
Yash Chopra
BR. Chopra

Here is a film straight from the heart.

Vipul Shah's emotional arrow shoots directly into the family audiences' hearts and lodges itself comfortably, if now entirely compulsively.

Sure, "Waqt" isn't an example of great cinema. But its inherent transparency of purpose and sincerity of expression guide the lengthy family saga through a series of carefully nurtured slopes and dips that culminate in a rabble-rousing emotionally cataclysmic climax.

The film's familial circle draws you into itself gently. The persuasions come, not from outside, but from within the intrinsic drama of the plot. The domestic milieu spreads itself out in a pastiche of heart-warming episodes between a rich father Ishwar (Amitabh Bachchan) and his spoilt heir-apparent Aditya (Akshay Kumar), who learns to be a responsible man the hard way.

Though the plot is inherently melodramatic and message-oriented, director Vipul Shah has adapted a stage play for the screen without allowing the narrative to be a slave to theatrical conventions. This work looks far less theatrical than Shah's robbery caper "Aankhen".

A large part of the credit for the drama-driven plot's efficacy must go to writer Aatish Kapadia, whose one-liners and quips flow out with constant and instant comic consequences. The bantering between Bachchan and Boman Irani is vaudeville at its best.

Seen first as warring family friends who keep running into each other at social gatherings and then as reluctant in-laws, the two actors bring a fabulous flamboyance and finesse to their farcical war of words.

Another outstandingly characterization is Rajpal Yadav's deadpan depiction of the exasperatingly daft domestic servant. His literal interpretation of Bachchan's and Irani's sarcasm brings miles of smiles and acres of chuckles to this sunshine-and-clouds family drama.

It's been a while since a mainstream family film yoked comic elements with the basic tragedy of a family scion's compulsory coming-of-age with such skill and understanding.

The director brings vivid elements from the original Gujarati play into a cinema that screams hard but never in deafening monotones. No matter how cliched the episodes, Shah manages to make almost every sequence engaging and absorbing. For this, the credit must go to the two principal players.

Bachchan moves effortlessly from the sorcerer's wizardry of his performance in "Black" to the state-of-the-art melodramatic 'kabhi-khushi-kabhi-gham' mode required to enact his spirited tycoon's role.

Akshay Kumar's scion's part is done with a great deal of believable emotions. The scenes where he has to outwardly express hatred for a father he loves to death are heartbreaking in their intensity. It's hard to imagine these potentially trite scenes of father-son rave-union being performed with such restrain and pride by any other two actors.

Throughout, director Shah walks the tightrope between melodrama and comedy without toppling over into the realm of farce. Many of the crucial episodes are written in the robust language of Gujarati stage plays, and they yet convey a muted regard for subdued tastes.

This is not the first film about a father-son conflict. What sets it apart is its discernible reverence for traditional values vis-a-vis the Indian joint family system as well as cinematic conventions. Shah is respectful to both without buckling under the pressure of delivering walloping punches in every sequence. The punch lines are insinuated and not punched into the plot.

The narrative could've avoided the over-the-top dramatics of the last half-hour. In pursuit of a high-voltage climax the narrative wheezes its way throug

Rating: 0 / 5.0

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