'Guzaarish' is like a celluloid painting…with broad brush strokes of passion, emotion, individuality and sensitivity, that makes it an experience worth feeling…not just watching. There’s an almost operatic theatricality with which the characters burst into your senses, yet through every mood and every scene, there is an undeniable reality…of pain, pleasure, living and dying, that if you’ve lived, loved, won some and lost more…you cannot help but get caught up in.
Bhansali’s sensibilities are often too opulent, almost garish for my tastes. Yet in this film, every blue wall, old painting and the regal grandeur of a crumbling yet majestic Goan mansion add to the magic. Can emotions and their portrayal be more minimalistic? Yes they can. Would this film have been more real and more true to life, if it had been shorn of every epic, visual aspect? Most definitely not. The grandly desolate mansion framed against that curiously twilit sky, shafts of sunshine filtering through to light up faces ravaged by time and strength…every frame is like an individual painting…one melding seamlessly into the next…till you feel almost dizzy with the visual banquet unfolding before your eyes. And when one man’s creative vision translates into such visual poetry, I for one, can certainly not even think of transferring this particular tale into a grimmer, less beautiful reality.
For someone as utterly masculine and physically perfect as Hrithik Roshan, to break down those very qualities and appear almost shriveled and incapacitated, yet forever alive, is no mean feat. Yet Hrithik plays Ethan Mascarenhas with an edgy charm and full-blown passion, that is unforgettable. There’s pain and strength, both won and lost, that etches itself into every strained line of that chiseled face and his eyes blaze and burn as he lives out the reality of being a man bound in a nutshell, yet king of infinite space…
I’m not a fan of Aishwarya Rai’s. Quite the opposite in fact. Yet, there’s no other actress I can think of, who could have played the role of Sophia with as much grace, strength and sweet-n-salty sassiness as she does! The table-tapping, feels-music-in her soul, decidedly Goan Sophia, bursts forth in wild abandon with “Udi Udi” and lifts the song and that picturisation to a surreal level. This is also perhaps the only role, where I’ve seen her let go of that famed “beauty”…where she lets her face crumple completely when she does, where each line and neglected wrinkle on her face speaks of undefined suffering…of strength and character and a life lived, loved yet never lost. There’s restrained passion and unrestrained feeling that keeps her coming back to the same house and same man for 12 long years and its Hrithik’s character portrayal that makes all of it believable. That there are a special few who walk tall amongst us, even when they can’t walk…a man who is extra-ordinary in his magnetism, his passion and his strength even when life has become sub-ordinary.
There are some beautiful little cameos too. Shernaz Patel as the spirited, feisty lawyer, Suhel Seth (surprisingly dignified yet not pedantic) as the doctor and Nafisa Ali, as Ethan’s mother. But you’ll be disappointed if plot and character detailing, are what you’re looking for. The past lies in the past and life comes replete with undefined emotions, inexplicable attachments and feelings that find no root in logical reality…as does ‘Guzaarish’.
Your life is your own. No one else’s in the final analysis. To make it. To break it. To own it. To live it. To not live it. Your life belongs to you and you alone. A powerful reality whose full power, we don’t always wake up to…yet a reality that lies at the heart of this film…and that cannot but, touch my heart…long hours after the images have faded from in front of my eyes.
We’ve become fond of leaving our brains on the back-burner while watching a movie…do that if you must, with this one too…but do take your heart along. Not a guzaarish…just my khwaaish…that you open up your heart and self to a few hours of undefeated beauty and strength. Of passions restrained. And emotions untold, yet never un-felt.