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Film Review - Viruddh

Neelambaree Prasad

VIRUDDH, directed by Mahesh Manjrekar portrays the trauma and fight against the system, of an elderly middle class couple whose only son is murdered under mysterious circumstances and later wrongly accused of being a criminal.

 Amitabh Bachchan and Sharmila Tagore who had a sparkling chemistry in the films of the 70’s return back together on screen again. They’re together not to revitalize the lightness of ‘Chupke Chupke’ but to depict a story that is grave and resonant. Vidyadhar (Amitabh Bachchan) and Sumitra Patwardhan (Sharmila Tagore) are aged couple of 60’s. They are happily married and live in a suburb of Mumbai.  Not only with his wife and son, but the rapport that Vidyadhar gradually establishes even with the Muslim car mechanic (Sanjay Dutt) is done with dollops of theatrical reality... and never mind the over-punctuated scene-ends, never mind the camera movements that suggest Hindi cinema's close affinity to Marathi theatre... never mind the appalling background music.

The couple’s  belief in humanity shatters after the death of their only son (John Abraham). John falls captive for no fault of his when he witnesses a crime. What is left for them is a panic stricken and depressive life. But they don’t give in to the struggle and fix up their life again, giving the message that life moves on and hope can work wonders.  The film is sensitive but not pessimistic. It has underlying tones of struggle, emotion and dilemma but at last makes optimism triumph. The story also showcases the strong bond between the father and son.

MTV VJ Anusha Dandekar who was last seen gyrating in ‘Loot Gaye’ from Mumbai Matinee’ makes her debut with this film as John’s wife.

You know the film has you hooked completely when the characters in this domesticated drama about the joy and trauma of a middle class family begin to matter to the audience... So much so that by the time the second half begins you want to put the clock back, scream to the storywriters to please, please keep unhappiness out of this feel-good mellow-drama.

But joylessness is a preponderant objective in all films about domestic harmony. In Mahesh Bhatt's rightly celebrated "Saraansh", a Maharashtrian patriarch fought back his tears and fears when his son was killed in a random incident. This movie seems to be “inspired” by Saraansh. Nevertheless it has got ABCL back into action!

Definitely worth a watch !



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