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The film revolves around a very unique plot, where it shows two different individuals having different talents and when they become ONE, the mixture measures up to be a very big hit in the industry. But in the meantime, EGO comes in the way and prepares to shatter the bond into pieces. Dhanush is a mute aspiring actor from a small village but with great acting talents. Amitabh has a very impactful voice. Both, on their own, can not achieve any greatness in the film industry. But with a help of a third party (Aksara Hassan), when they come together, the talents combined, make a complete new Artist. Dhanush becomes the actor onscreen and Amitabh becomes his Voice. But after reaching the peak of success, Both the leads start to become miserable to the question of having more importance in the unique cocktail. An unstoppable fight of ego comes in action And the clash drifts them apart, destroying every greatness they achieved and every possible milestones they could build together.Written by
An uneven film made on a fresh concept that deserves to be seen for its polished performances, few well written highs & a thoughtful climax.
The film is another salute to the phenomenon by director R. Balki who previously presented Amitabh in two unconventional roles superbly in CHEENI KUM and PAA. Though in SHAMITABH, he once again brings in a fresh concept that in fact is not an easy one to shoot with all the voice and expressions matching to be done perfectly. Still the basic theme of the storyline is much thinner than his last two projects, which in turn makes it look like an overstretched, uneven film having few highs and lows together till its sudden and sad climax.
It begins with a great promise from a star studded premier of a film called LIFEBUOY attended by celebrities giving supportive TV bites and then introduces Dhanush the new star of the industry more famous for his heavy & impressive voice along with the acting. During his speech on the stage we are taken back to his flashback introducing another exceptional child artist who is a treat to watch (in a mute appearance) in those 10 opening minutes accompanied by an apt, catchy song with the lyrics "Salaam-E-Fillam" talking about the love for cinema in the general public. The intercuts of more flashbacks further introduce us to a grown-up Dhanush (as a bus conductor in a small city), who cannot speak but is confident enough to be a Hindi film hero rushing to Mumbai.
After this fine start the first unconvincing phase of SHAMITABH comes as Akshara meats Dhanush (who is just an Assistant Director) and she at once decides to help him out by even sending the struggling actor to foreign land for a costly operation of planting a voice box into his throat. A device, that enables him to lip-sync someone else's voice with a kind of micro recorder/transmitter working between two persons within a range of a few 100 meters. Now though the proceedings try hard to explain the procedure clearly, still the explanation remains a confusing one and the viewer has to accept that OK, let's assume that its possible!
Anyway the brilliance returns on the screen when the enigmatic Amitabh Bachchan is introduced as a drunken, beggar like defeated personality living in a graveyard and from here on we have the few worth watching sequences of the film written and enacted impressively. Both Akshara and Dhanush choose Amitabh to be the voice behind Dhanush's face and the fun begins as SH from Danish (Dhanush's name in film) and AMITABH together becomes SHAMITABH. Their first movie together becomes a hit and then the ego clashes begin claiming who he is the bigger star among the SH and AMITABH from the SHAMITABH.
The story progression featuring a hit film-star (who cannot speak) living a celebrated life, fooling the entire industry, successfully hiding the man behind his famous voice in the closet, turns out to be unconvincing repeatedly. And so does the character of Dhanush, who doesn't seem to be caring about anybody around like an arrogant celebrity proud of his instant success. As a result the ride becomes even more bumpy post intermission with uninteresting sequences coming at regular intervals like the use of bathroom pots in the immensely likable "Pidlee" song, Amitabh giving voice to a rival producer's B-grade film without any issues raised, his unnecessary dialogue with Robert De Niro poster leading to jail abroad, a lot of brand endorsement made in its various sequences and then the investigating reporter track left in the middle.
Yes, no doubt the director comes with many realistic characters with a visible effort of delivering a fine product based on a thin but fresh plot line particularly in the film's first half. Yet overall its only the superfine performances that actually carry the film forward much ahead than any other department of music, cinematography, background score or art direction. Promoted as the maestro Ilayaraja's 1000th film as a composer, the soundtrack has both good and average songs together with Swanand Kirkire's theme related lyrics.
In the performances, as I already mentioned it's a film once again proving the Shehenshah status of Amitabh Bachchan in the industry, who gives another worth watching and worth cheering performance as the deserted man with a golden voice. And I must say that I haven't seen anyone doing a better drunkard act in Hindi films ever with so much ease, elegance and conviction winning hearts right away. Also another appreciable feature of Amitabh's act remains that he never tries to outshine the co-actors giving them much space to perform too. And that's what proves the greatness of this 'Actor of the Millennium' evidently. Dhanush, the 'on-screen' hero of SHAMITABH confidently manages to stand in front of the magnetic persona of the Big B throughout and wins your heart in the early part of the movie before becoming the Superstar. Plus he also leaves a highly emotional impact on the viewer after the sudden, unexpected tragedy striking in the climax. Akshara Haasan makes a stunning as well as sincere debut amongst two towering personalities and so does the actor playing the landlord of Amitabh in the Graveyard hut.
Though the film revolves around a few characters only, here we also have some smartly inserted cameos by the industry figures too such as Mahesh Bhatt, Karan Johar, Raj Kumar Hirani, Rohit Shetty, Ekta Kapoor, Javed Akhtar, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Boney Kapoor and many more along with Rekha giving an award to Dhanush on the stage smilingly calling him SHAMITABH.
On the whole, SHAMITABH certainly cannot be rated as a close to perfection project as Balki's CHEENI KUM or PAA but it does have its appreciable highs along with the avoidable lows (offering a novel, inventive plot), making it a one-time watch for sure, especially for its enjoyable performances led by Amitabh Bachchan and his cult baritone voice.
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