Seeta aur Geeta meets Ram aur Shyam meets Don with shades of Karan Arjun for the final garnish, directed of course by that giant of a movie director who understood the need for escape in a cinema hall so well- Manmohan Desai, starring Amitabh Bachchan in a delicious double role! Well this is not quite that film but its title is very intriguing, Aurangzeb is the ultimate symbol we have of unbridled ambition and impatience getting the better of familial love.
Yashwardhan(Jackie Shroff) is the undisputed king of the underworld in the NCR and his legal front serves as the ruthless machinery for all real estate activity that happens there.His ambitious business development head is Nina(Amrita Singh) who has planted Ritu(Sasha Agah) in the life of Yashwardhan’s loutish son Ajay’s (Arjun Kapoor) life to ensure that he keeps snorting cocaine and getting into fights and stays away from the family business.Watching with frustration is DCP Ravikant (Rishi Kapoor) who wants a lions share of the dealings he facilitates along with his son Dev and nephew Arya(Prithwiraj Sukumaran). Yashwardhan is getting old and Ravi is getting impatient.
Ravi gets the perfect opportunity when it emerges that his elder brother (Arya’s father), who was expelled from the police force for killing Yashwardhan’s wife and twin son Rakesh(identical to Ajay), actually hid them away as a second family.When he dies Ravi enlists Arya’s help to swap Ajay with Rakesh and infiltrate Yashwardhan’s operation. This premise is set up very quickly by the director and the rest of the film is a soap opera of intrigue, double crosses, murky land deals, vampish molls and implausible change of hearts. The material is vast, the twists and turns too many and the cinematic approach too timid and unimaginative.
That the film still hold up is due to the fact that there are far too many balls up in the air and the screen presence of some of the actors keep us interested in how the story will play out. There is no real feel for the language and nuances of the NCR, which has a culture all its own,Gurgaon is a phenomenon that this film fails to decode.The locations are uninspired, yes the ugly concrete jungle is on display but where is the world that it has encroached? The wisest choice the director makes is to rein in the length to a relatively crisp 140 minutes.
Rishi Kapoor as the nerve centre of the film gives a sincere performance as a very insincere man but is unable to make the leap from his sweater wearing, guitar strumming slightly potbellied heartthrob image to the ultimate baddie.Jackie Shroff brings screen presence but not much else to the film, Amrita Singh comes out of retirement to play a hammy stock character with too much concealer on her face. Sasha Agah as the archetypical gangsters moll, makes you cringe with her amateurish histrionics, the best moment comes as she does a backstroke in a tiny black bikini and thats saying a lot.Which brings us to Amitabh Bachchan, well Arjun Kapoor, you know what I mean.He has an arresting face but acting wise he is exactly where we left him in Isaqzaade. There are times when he is pitch perfect as the Mafiosi punk but as soon as the moment passes he is regresses into a gawky hunk unsure of his next move.
How I wish Anurag Kashyap or Vishal Bhardwaj or Tigmanshu Dhulia had helmed this film, it shows us in no uncertain terms why they are our best Bollywood directors.Even Ram Gopal Verma created magic with similar material in Satya and Sarkar. Auragzeb has its moments and overall momentum to be a competent entertainer. A tighter script, saucier dialogues, better performances and more feel for the material might have transformed this into a tour de force.