Director: R. Balki
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush, Akshara Haasan, Abhinaya Anand
Dhanush and Amitabh Bachchan in 'Shamitabh'. Pic/Santa Banta
A unique concept, two brilliant actors in the lead and a baritone (Mr Bachchan's, of course) to kill/die for. With this one, R Balki has half the battle won even before the film begins.
An interesting story of a struggler from a small town, Danish (played by Dhanush), who breathes and lives cinema, and wants to be an actor at any cost, in spite of his humble background and a certain disadvantage (watch the film to know what). He lands up in Mumbai and soon enough becomes a superstar, with help from a feisty assistant director (Akshara Haasan) and an eccentric alcoholic, Amitabh Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan). But then things start going downhill when Danish and Amitabh get into a dirty ego game.
The film works at some levels. The absolutely cool story idea and Balki's tongue firmly in cheek look at the buzzing world of Bollywood are the plus points of the film. The scene leading to the 'Piddley' song sequence as well as the song itself are the best indications of a well executed satire.
There are admittedly several moments in the film that makes you chuckle with delight as Balki gets too close for comfort to certain idiosyncrasies and frailties of the industry. However, wish the director was consistent with that easy, light tone through the film. Instead, perhaps to make up for the lack of a throbbing, meaty screen play, he gets into a gimmicky mode quite too often and that kills the impact of the story. This one-line concept must have looked great on the table but falters when it has to be stretched to a two-and-half hour plus duration. What we end up with is a series of rather tedious, repetitive scenes, interspersed with a few and far dazzling scenes in between.
Watch this movie for those sequences when the two leading men are on screen together — men as different as could be, but yet bound by the power of their undeniable talent. Dhanush comes up with a delightfully effortless performance, thus showing us yet again why he's as successful down south as he is. And there is Mr Bachchan with his all pervasive presence and also putting out his sexy voice to better use than ever before.
Akshara Haasan, who makes her debut with this film, manages to stand on her own, yet she still has a little growing up to do as an actress, to be able to hold the audience's interest.