Movie Review: 'Aurangzeb'

The movie starts promisingly as Aarya (Prithviraj Sukumaran) talks about the dirty “collection business” that he and his family members are indulging in. The business brings in loads of money, wads of notes being shuffled around, stocked in suitcases and generally tossed around. But surprisingly, the womenfolk of the house aren’t even aware of the moolah that is brought in and stacked regularly in the very house that they live in.

Arjun Kapoor in 'Aurangzeb'
Arjun Kapoor in 'Aurangzeb'

Well, what they fondly call the collection business is the hafta vasooli that DCP Ravikant (Rishi Kapoor) indulges in along with his son Dev (Sikandar Kher) and his nephew, Aarya. Only the son-in-law Prashant, who is also part of the police force, is absolutely unaware of the ‘kala dhandha’ that his family is involved in. Aarya was happy helping his uncle and intermittently stocking up his secret treasure room with what else but money, only if his father (Anupam Kher in an itsy bitsy role), once upon a time-honest cop, hadn’t dropped a bomb of a secret on him. And it is this secret that leads Aarya to once the dreaded underworld don and now a real estate baron Yashwardhan (Jackie Shroff) and his impudent son, Ajay (Arjun Kapoor). Yashwardhan has a wily lady partner (Amrita Singh) in business, who generally makes plans to keep Ajay out of the office and in the arms of his girlfriend, Ritu (Sasha Agha).

Ravikant and the team capture Ajay and send his look-alike Vishal (also Arjun Kapoor) to stay with Yashwardhan and get information about his underhand dealings. Vishal manages to shake up the very foundations that Yashwardhan built, in just one day of him going to office and then the latter ends up in the hospital.

And then there is a twist to the story, which is as unbelievable as a seeing a reindeer on the Mumbai streets. Ravikant and the boys of his family are posted to the Gurgaon police station. And the director (Atul Sabharwal) makes sure you don’t forget that fact because the name of the place is mentioned at least once in every three sentences and Yashwardhan too is a real estate developer in that area.

Story offers no novelty. In fact, at one point the story reminded me of an innocent story called 'Do Phool', which had Neetu Kapoor play twins, one left with the mother and the other with the father. Well, this is just to emphasise how old the story line is. But a better treatment, a more sharply edited film and this story could have been turned into a thrilling fare. But unfortunately, the movie moves at such a meandering and self-indulgent pace that after a point you stop caring if it moves forward or sideways.

Arjun Kapoor in double role as Ajay and Vishal is earnest. He shines in some scenes too, but overall, he needs a lot more maturity to carry two roles of this kind of diversity on his young shoulders. Amitabh Bachchan too was in the same situation in 'Don'. But no, we won’t dare compare the two performances. Sasha Agha is less than ordinary (The song 'Barbaadiyan' is quite a revelation of her singing talent, though). Prithviraj is good, but seems stuck in a caricaturish role and ends up being stiff and repetitive. At one point, Aarya’s wife asks him why he never smiles. I guess we know the reason why. First Aiyya and now this. Prithviraj has enough reasons not to smile in Bollywood.

Rishi Kapoor and Jackie Shroff shine in their respective roles. But my heart goes out for senior actresses like Amrita Singh and Dipti Naval. To think some of our best actresses have ended up doing roles that neither justify nor suit their calibre.

Some of the lines like ‘Apne sapnon se bade hote hai’ would have been powerful, if only they were not repeated so often.

And in the meanwhile, Moghul emperor Aurangzeb must have at least taken half a turn in his grave.

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