Directed by: Atul Sabharwal
Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Arjun Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Amrita Singh and Swara Bhaskar
All images courtesy of: http://www.glamsham.com
I cannot ever remember a time when I saw a Hindi film start with a quote from Horace but it was certainly a welcome surprise as was the rest of Aurangzeb. Having only seen the trailer once and forgetting entirely what happened, I was in the best frame of mind to watch the film – knowing nothing about it). Right from the off, Aurangzeb demands attention as the credits compete with the voice over which neatly sets up the premise and then goes on to fulfill its ambitions, fully expecting the viewer to keep up with it all.
Yes, there are a few missteps (the unnecessary disco song though I did like the styling) but overall, I loved the way Sabharwal takes lots of different themes/conventions and twists them with astonishing clarity and confidence to make a dark and complex film. Whether it was the tense family relations that play the silent character throughout to the more prevalent theme of corruption and the relentless and sometimes ruthless pace of India progressing as a superpower, Sabharwal keeps a tight rein on things meaning the odd inevitable misstep (read commercial pressure) is entirely forgivable.
Of course, there is a formidable cast to work with and everyone steps up to plate. Rishi Kapoor is superb as the calculating puppet master who will do anything to achieve his goal – after Agneepath, this is yet another amazing turn in a complex role from Rishi. I was also impressed by Arjun in his double role – he manages to make both Ajay and Vishal separate and distinctive entities and manages to not be overwhelmed by the demands placed on him. Sukumaran is also very good as the man caught in the middle whilst Singh and Bhaskar give excellent accounts of themselves amongst the male dominated premise.
I really enjoyed Aurangzeb and would go as far as to say this is the best film to come out of Yashraj Films since Band Baaja Baaraat. I am always ready to champion a film that challenges the viewer and remains committed to its creative remit. In particular, the way Aurangzeb interprets conventional Hindi film themes like double roles and disruptive dynamics and reinvents them made for a satisfying watch. Highly recommended, Aurangzeb is worth catching – just like the inclusion of Horace at the start, this film is a pleasant and very welcome surprise.