Born an eighties child, I was used to seeing Subhash Ghai tell a simple kahani in the most extravagant of ways. He was a predominant director in that era and his unusual story telling was seen as innovative, touching and entertaining. Ram Lakhan, Saudagar, Khalnayak, Pardes and Taal are all examples of his talent and all the movies listed are considered cult classics in their time. He then made some box office duds such as Yaadein and Kisna which made him take a much needed break from directing. After a three year hiatus, he bounced back in style with Black and White which received critical acclaim for its sensitive storyline. Subhash Ghai’s most recent presentation Yuvvraaj is highly anticipated and in typical Ghai style, the movie was one with great music, beautiful locales and a star studded cast. With expectations running high, did Ghai manage to pull another one out of his magic hat?
The movie has a simple plot but it is shot in the grandest of ways possible. Yuvvraaj tells the tale of three estranged brothers Gyanesh Yuvvraaj (Anil Kapoor), Deven Yuvvraaj (Salman Khan) and Danny Yuvvraaj (Zayed Khan). The brothers reunite after twelve years (no, they did not separate at a mela), to claim their share of the father’s wealth after his death. Wait for it—here comes the twist: Anil Kapoor, who suffers from Autism, has been allotted the biggest share of the wealth and thus begins the tug-of-war between Zayed and Salman to pull the character of Anil to their side. All the “brothers from different mothers”—yes Yuvvraaj Senior was quite the pimp daddy in his day, finally realize the importance of family and discover brotherly love for each other.
There are some side plots to the movie including the Deven-Anushka (Katrina Kaif) love angle which has its own villain in the form of Anushka’s father Dr. Banton (Boman Irani). When Salman hears of his newly inherited moolah, he rushes off hoping to be back with bucketsful of it to impress Dr. Boman Irani and win the hand of his love.
Honestly, the story has been done before. It depicts how excessive money can ruin families and relationship causing them to separate. The storyteller in Ghai takes his favorite concept of brotherhood and applies it to the twenty-first century making it relatable to all members of the audience. The only major flaw with the storyline is the speed at which events unfold; it all seems to be moving at a snail’s pace. Post interval the movie picks up.
So the ups? The sights are breathtaking and in typical showman style, Ghai has outdone himself by shooting Austria and literally making the locale a character in the movie. One could not imagine the film being shot anywhere else in the world. The music is excellent, showcasing A.R. Rahman’s immense talent. The man is a musical genius. Choreographed by Shiamak Davar, every song has its own theme and blends in with the movie and its story beautifully.
Performance wise, the cake is split in half between Anil and Salman. Anil Kapoor has yet again proved that he can give the Khan’s and Kumar’s a run for their money with his experience and innate talent. His character is very similar to that of his in Eeshwar but it is par excellence. This movie will be noted as one of Salman Khan’s best perfromance in the last few years. Ghai has managed to extract a dormant talent that has been sleeping or hiding in Salman’s soul. Zayed Khan is his usual cutie-pie self and his depiction of a rich spoilt brat was spot on. Katrina Kaif was cast appropriately and one couldn’t imagine any other actress playing the role of an Austrian born and bred Indian musician. Her encounter with the cello is pretty believable—most of the time.
There are some scenes to watch out for: Anil Kapoor’s entrance, the romance between Khan and Kaif, the small comic scenes where the lovers poke fun at his age and her limited Hindi, additionally, the fun scenes between the brothers.
The verdict: Mr. Subhash Ghai has been named the “Showman” and Yuvvraaj clearly proves that he has been named rightly-so. The movie is a visual treat to the senses. Ghai has paid attention to the most minor of details that sometimes it shocks you. If only his screenplay was tighter and clearer, the movie would have done wonders for itself. Ultimately, this movie is a good watch and has facets of a typical Bollywood movie: family, drama, love and comedy. Do go if you loved the Ghai classics!