Sanjay Dutt plays Shaukat, a writer and domineering control freak who tries to force his wife Antara (Aishwarya Rai) into an affair with her colleague Yash (Zayed Khan) in order to survive his writer's block and write a critically acclaimed, bestselling novel. Here's what I got from the movie. (1) - Shaukat plays a control freak to the hilt, who feels like his ability to artistically create something carries over to reality. He fools himself into truly believing in the power of his work, that he's so talented he somehow has the ability to not only control his wife's actions, but also her innermost thoughts and feelings. When Shaukat realizes that he can't control Antara (I can't believe I still remember these names, by the way - I haven't seen the film since opening night back in Feb) he goes insane and loses his own grip on reality. (2) - I don't know why anyone would be interested in this cautionary tale for artists- I think the point of the movie for artists is to realize that you can't take your work so seriously as to have it control you to such an extent as Shaukat did. Realistic, natural art can't be manufactured, it flows from within. He can't forcefully create a love affair between Antara and Yash because this isn't in his control. He's so wrapped up in making a "realistic" story after such extreme critical rejection that he tries to force a situation that naturally can't occur. When he realizes that he's ultimately powerless, he loses his mind. Lets look at Shaukat's motivations besides his need for critical success and the desire for the power to make situations happen - his desire to "play god" so to speak. Abstract notions aside, I think Shaukat was also bored with his marriage and his life. He marries his student who appears to be a mysterious and beautiful young woman. He sees her as this enigma, a woman who he thinks will always be able to keep him on his toes, guessing. Antara doesn't turn out this way. She turns out to be a simple girl who eventually becomes a professor and falls into a life of predictability in marriage and work. Shaukat's notion of women is anything but simple - his character Tamanna is supposedly based on how he views his wife- mysterious, sexy, beautiful, and ultimately conniving and manipulative. But this is NOT the woman simple Antara really is. He wants to make her into something she's not because he's bored with the real Antara, so he sets out to spice up his marriage through his work by throwing this character based on what he WANTS his wife to be into an affair with Yash. Antara really doesn't enter into an affair with Yash, only managing to stay friends with him and turning him away at the end. So Shaukat fails to recreate his wife's personality and make his wife and marriage more interesting - another ironic reality he can't seem to face. She tells Shaukat in the beginning, while he's having writers block, "Don't look for your story in me, I'm just a simple woman with simple dreams." He doesn't want the simple woman, he wants the temptress he imagines in his writings. Unfortunately for Antara, he prefers Tamanna, evidenced by the her sexy dance he imagines at the restaurant while they're dancing to "Sholon Si." He sees the temptress Tamanna dancing seductively to the music surrounded by men rather than his boring, docile wife Antara, who only manages to submissively slow-dance with him. Ultimately, Shaukat can't face the fact that he's a loser, professionally as a writer and personally as a bored husband. He wants a certain lifestyle of the flashy, sensual, and mysterious wife and a hotshot career as a writer. He ends up a reclusive failed writer living in seclusion and falling into a life of marital boredom. Antara and Shaukat's dance at the end in the asylum is his submission to these facts and willingness to try to accept the ordinary life he has rather than the exciting life he covets.
This is a beautiful story of a man who wants too much from life and ends up not getting any of it. It's rather cruel in a way, this writer is given an initial taste of success and a life of fame, only to have it taken away.
The performances, barring Zayed Khan who was awkwardly terrible were excellent. Aishwarya plays two different characters - Antara, the vulnerable woman and Tamanna, the bewitching, mysterious, and conniving fantasy Shaukat wants Antara to be. She does both characters remarkably well and with a lot of subtle facial nuances. Her facial expressiveness brings a level of depth to both characters. Sanjay Dutt is brilliant as the alpha-male writer who refuses to accept mediocrity in life and in work. His presence is commanding. No one could have played Shaukat the way he did. Maybe if Bachchan was younger, he'd have the style and panache to do it, but no one else in my opinion. Dutt has that movie-star arrogance and charisma to make the role believable. And he has some smoldering chemistry with Aishwarya Rai. I've never seen Aish look so alluring with another male costar - she's like a block of ice with everyone else. But it looks like she's got a thing for Sanjay with the way they interact on screen. What a great looking couple. The film is beautifully shot, like a wonderfully dark painting. Everything looks classy and gorgeous, especially the songs. The movie may have been confusing but if you take the time to really explore these characters and the untold motivations behind these characters and their actions. It's all there, you just have to think about it and look hard enough. Art is subjective, even if you don't agree with my interpretation, you'll still take something of your own away from the movie. Brilliant, abstract stuff, loved it! 9/10
8 out of 10 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.