Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Last Leer

Ok. I saw the film. I am neither jeering, nor leering. I love Rituparno's films (Antar Mahal, in particular), and this is clearly not his most inspired movie. But it could well turn out to be Bachchan's best performance... and for more reasons than just Bachchan's personal competence as an actor.The reason why Amitabh is exceeding his own high standards recently, has a lot to do with age and success. At 66, the man has seen it all and pretty much done it all, on and off the screen. Today, he is FREE!!To explore new genres, to do whatever the hell he wants. In The Last Lear, HE DELIVERS AN EXQUSITELY NUANCED PERFORMANCE. There is poignancy and pathos underlying every scene. He is wicked, childlike, acerbic. arrogant and defeated by turn. The role could possibly foretell Amitabh's own future... or reflect his past (remember , he nearly died performing a difficult stunt). The character and the actor seem welded seamlessly. Harry breaks your heart with his fierce sense of pride in his craft. But more than that, he also delivers a scathing commentary on the superficiality, even cruelty of the tinsel world, where the only God is the box office, and nobody gives a damn about anything else.There is supreme irony in some amazingly written scenes, which highlight the difference between a stage and screen performance. Rampal scores once more with an intelligent and understated performance. Not once is he intimidated in Bachchan's presence and holds his own with admirable finesse. Preity was pretty good as well in a role that does not demand very much but still contributes to the movie in its own way. Preity is outclassed by both Shefali Shah and Divya Dutta, who are convincing and credible. But the movie belongs entirely to the Big B.Who can forget his drunken scene when he forgets his Shakespearean persona, slides back into his Bengaliness, abandons his put- on Brit accent, and actually crawls to Arjun's feet, begging the young director to shoot the climax differently. Amitabh was supreme. For that one scene alone, he deserves every available award next year.

16 comments:

truptee said...

WOW!!!

Thank you for sharing this!

Still thinking said...

Brilliant!

Now this is what I call 'objective'!

•♥•♥Vicky♥•♥• said...

going to watch it for BIg B's performance only.
than you for writing this review !

Mister Crowley said...

I agree, it was worth the money.
But, very honestly, I don't think very highly of Zinta's acting skills. A little bit if a ham.

*Aham* said...

I didnt quite LOVE the movie. and i found it a little too Bachhanized in a few places. The movie looked like an advertisement for marlboro lights (thank god shefali and divya were just passive smokers). But still I agree, 10+chappan bachchan has managed to say these shakespearean Dialogues with utmost eaze. to mutter thou and dist and thee and thine is a daunting task. and he manages to do that so very eloquently.

I didnt understand the need for the dialogue "bloody homosexual" told to teh arnab goswami (times now) look alike when he had come to interview bachchan.

Pretty Preity was also nice, but she didnt have much to do. I loved the fact that this english film was not looking like a forced one... (something that i feel when i watch some Om Puri's indo-english hybrid movies). Here every one was comfortable with the language. I specifically LOVED shefali shah, and the best was Divya Dutta. I opine that divya dutta is the most underrated actress... she is truly fantastic.

Arjun, didnt he look like john abraham in some of the side profile shots? His acting... nahi, mereko utna exceptional nahi laga...

Rituparno lost the message somewhere. He has made a film for a niche audience, definitely not for the masses. As in, I as a viewer didnt walk away the theatre in awe of the experience... all that i said was... "what awesome performances"

smiles

Aham

tessiewrites said...

thnnks for sharing...
but am still wonderin if i'll survive the movie :D

HOBO said...

I always write on Amitjee blog and I say :
Amit jee is drawing a line unknowingly which nobody will cross ever in terms of acting
Am I right ?
I am.
Lets see...

ek-ladki-anjaani-si said...

Agreed, Amitabh's performance was beyond excellent, but like Aham' I didn't walk out in an awe. Shefali and Divya performed beyond my expectations, and folks, Preity wasn't bad either. She had a scope of her character, which she filled well. She was a model who was forced into acting, right! Well, that's how they are... crosscheck with De'.

The movie was a compilation of wonderful performances, good screenplay/direction but somehow it just didn't fit well together. Seems to me like there was just a few parts of the puzzle lost somewhere in the translation.

Fortunately, I was able to finish this movie, without having to walk out... So all in all good movie, not the best, and not a classic. Definately, not for the masses.

P.S. I didn't mention Arjun because to this day, I fail to understand why and how he is still in the acting business? Expressionless as ever...not worth a mention.

Kris Bass said...

It's highly unlike me but I haven't watched any movie for sometime. I guess I'll miss all the good ones by the time I get around to doing that.

De, I heard on GB that there is a homobphobic comment in the movie. What's your take?

Shobhaa De said...

Guys, u really dont like the Rampal boy, huh?? Is something wrong with me?? I find him so cool. And so unlike these other filmi fellows.Did u catch Muzzafir Ali mumbling and bumbling his way through why exactly he is miffed with Ritu for 'copying' his look for Amitabh in Lear??

ananya said...

Nice review .

Visually, the movie is quintessentially Rituparno.

And, I did like Arjun :)

But,the narration suffered considerably .Jissu was perhaps not the right choice....

Anorak said...

Shobhaa, I tend to agree with most things you say/write, but I definitely won't this time. I mean seriously, there is something wrong with you. I just do not understand what you see in that lanky Arjun boy which, for the life of me and no matter how hard I try, I just cannot. I am afraid, we will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

P.S. I must admit that for someone with very limited talent, this Rampal person has done quite alright for himself.

Anonymous said...

I havent seen the movie yet, so no idea about Arjun's talent being showcased or lack thereof.

I think he is utterly hot! Could it be an age thing? As in women in thier prime like him :)

He is a contemporary from my Delhi school days... way back when we were cherubic teens, perhaps thats why I like him? He was hot then, and he knew that he was very hot and all the silly schoolgirls around him (including yours truly) would salivate and now hes is even hotter and we are still salivating!

To be honest he is so hot, I really dont care if he can act.

I know.. I know, he is hot in a suave, celebral, man of the world way. Perhaps that appeals to me.

Another Kiran in NYC

ek-ladki-anjaani-si said...

De' Rampal looks hotter than a Porsche Cayene, but he can't act. No matter how non-filmy he is, he is in a film!

He has no expressions, his eyes don't move, and neither do any muscles of his face. Even in his voice, there is no variation that should come with the intensity, or none-there-of.

Another Kiran, I was one of those school girls too, only to look at his looks though. I never checked out his intelligence or personality personally. So, maybe he has the personality of a million dollars, and he is as smart as one can be, he ZIMBLEE CAN'T ACT SAALA!

onKIA said...

M'am 'De,

Insha'Allah!! He must .... I did write to him last week on his Blog. What? "Bowl Shit" !! That's what you mentioned his Bengaliness, and his award winning performance.

We could have never agreed at verbatim.

Vinod Agarwal - Big B's Fan

Nivedita said...

I am a fan of Rituparna Ghosh, I watched Antar Mahal it was beautil, I mean visually he reminded me of Satyajit ray...
I think teh story was fantastic and brought about rage and disgust in viewers about the system that existed those days.