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.