Eklavya: The Royal Guard
Dir: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Vidya Balan, Boman Irani, Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Raima Sen
Eklavya is not Dhoom:2: there are no foreign locales or high-speed chases or skimpily-dressed nymphets dancing to remix numbers. Eklavya is not Satya: any and all gangsters are located far away from the kingdom of Devigarh, and in this film everyone has blood on his hands, anyway. Eklavya is not Munnabhai, MBBS: Sanjay Dutt is a serious, humble yet smart alec cop (albeit one who talks like a Bombayite!)
Instead, Eklavya’s deceptively simple storyline deals with the deterioration of the perfect majestic past, touching the viewer deeply along the way with its grandeur and insight. The title character (Amitabh Bachchan), a loyal palace guard, considers himself practically part of the walls of the palace of the aging Rana Jaywardhan (Boman Irani). Shortly after the younger Rana, Harshwardhan (Saif Ali Khan), appears on the scene early in the movie, post his mother’s death, the blood starts to flow as several characters stake their claims to power. Harsh’s sister Nandini (Raima Sen) and beloved Rajo (Vidya Balan) comprise the female leads of the film, neither significant to the plot but important in her own way as the child-like ingénue and the enamored village girl, respectively.
Not much more need be revealed. This plot is not the backbone of a superhit, but the film is without a doubt a pleasure to watch. Vidhu Vinod Chopra outdoes himself in terms of the visuals. He plays with colours (note the warm shades of red and yellow that tint the palace, the stunning skylines, and the dazzling simplicity of Nandini’s paintings); shapes (imperfect circles, primarily, but also the elongated beauty of a dagger and the silhouetted grace of the “chhatris”, or umbrella-shaped family funerary structures); light and darkness (also a leitmotif in the film because of Eklavya’s advancing blindness) and carefully-laid-out shots (from overheads to panoramics). You should make it a point to ignore the actual action in the film’s murder scenes and recognize the collective artistry of the cinematographer and director.
The opening animation sequence, and the one song (“Chanda Re”), are also not to be missed. Vidya Balan excels, even in her small role, and Saif Ali Khan looks – and dresses – his part as the young prince torn between loyalties. That said, the ending is too contrived, Jackie Shroff sounds like he has marbles in his mouth, and the film is just a tad too slow to be a real mover and shaker.
Go watch it; but this 105-minute film must be enjoyed for what it is good at and forgiven for what it is not so good at. It is obviously an experiment in storytelling, but featuring a great cast and a liberal dose of lavishness of budget.
You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/