Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Boman Irani, Jimmy Shergill, Vidya Balan, Raima Sen & Sharmila Tagore (special appearance)
Director: Vidhu Vinod Chopra
It has been seven long years since Vidhu Vinod Chopra has sat in the director’s seat to make a film. During his hiatus from filmmaking, he produced some great and successful films. Judging from his production and direction credentials, one thing for sure is, he knows good films. After being gone for so long, many wondered if he still had what it took to make great cinema. Making a film like Eklavya is no easy task as it is a movie of a grand scale. So is Vidhu Vinod Chopra able to make a grand return with Eklavya? With Eklavya, Chopra proves why he is one of the best directors in the business as he hasn’t lost a step since his last directorial venture. It is tough to say whether Eklavya is his best work, but it surely ranks up there. But there is no denying that Eklavya is high class cinema at its best.
Watching Eklavya, one can tell exactly how much work and care went into this project. How so much was packed into the film in such a short duration is very commendable. As a matter of fact, the movie has no faults except for one; that being the length of the film. The movie is less than two hours long. That hinders the film as watching the movie; you want to see more. The tale is so gripping that you do not want it to end. Also the dramatic climax scene seemed to be done too quickly. One wishes that more could have been added to the film. What was delivered was so superb, that 100 minutes does not justify it. It is sad to see bad films have such long durations, and great ones being given such little time. Nonetheless, Eklavya is able to accomplish everything it needs to in the time it is given. The movie is able to keep your attention all throughout. It is a haunting and chilling narrative and thus it is a film that does not get dull at any moments. Kudos should go to the entire team for making a film of such great standards. Eklavya simply defines classy cinema.
It is a welcome treat to see Vidhu Vinod Chopra behind the camera once again after so long. He reminds us yet again what made him one of the top filmmakers in the country. With Eklavya, not only does he not lose a step, but it looks as if he has polished himself and gotten even better. Chopra has never taken up a film as ambitious or as large in scale as Eklavya. Making such a film would be a tough task for any director. But Chopra is not just any director. He makes it seem like doing this film was actually simple. The way he has handled each and every detail in the film is nothing short of remarkable. One can tell Vidhu Vinod Chopra put all his heart and soul into this venture. Watching the film, you can see his stamp in the entire product. Two thumbs up for the director for making such a grand return. Now one hopes that we do not have to wait another seven years for him to make another film. Such an amazing director should be making films more often. Eklavya just reminds us of what we have been missing for the past seven years. Take a bow, Mr. Chopra.
There is only one song in the film and it is a very soothing and pleasing track. Chanda Re is a beautiful track composed by Shantanu Moitra, of Parineeta fame. It fits in well with the movie and does not act as a roadblock to the transition of the story. Although, there is only one song in the film, much credit should be given to the background music of the film. It absolutely fits in with the theme of the movie. The music is very dark and haunting, just like the film. The background music actually helps garner more excitement into watching the film because it meshes so well with what is happening in the film. The one song and the background music are good enough to say the music of this film is good to go.
What can one say about the performances of the film? Each and every actor has given it their all and has delivered absolutely brilliant performances. Leading the way, of course, is Amitabh Bachchan. The man is like fine wine; he keeps getting better with age. If one thinks he is going to slow down as he is getting older, then they need to watch Eklavya. The man proves to us yet again why he is still the best in the industry. The greatness of Amitabh Bachchan lies in the fact that he speaks through his eyes as loudly as he does with his baritone voice. The way he emotes with his eyes in the film is simply the work of a master. He carries the film and takes it the extra mile. It will surely be remembered as one of the finest works of his career. Act until your last breath Mr. Bachchan. You are the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be!
Saif Ali Khan has been on a role of late. He has been doing some great projects and has also been giving outstanding performances. Well, don’t expect the roll to come to a halt as Saif delivers an outstanding performance yet again. This is the best phase of Saif’s career and he is truly capitalizing on it by choosing roles that justify his talent. The scenes he shares with Mr. Bachchan are amazing and a treat to watch, especially because this is the first time they are sharing screen space. Saif’s star is getting brighter with every performance. More performances like the one in Eklavya and you can be sure his star will blind you.
Sanjay Dutt is given a brief role, but he excels yet again. The role is typical Baba and you can’t see anyone else portray this role. His role will cater to all types of audiences. You would hope to see more of Sanju in the film, as he totally steals the show whenever he is on the screen. The whole move is very dark and serious, but whenever Sanju is on screen, it brings a smile to your face. Baba at his best as usual!
After such a long time, Jackie Shroff is given a role of importance. He does a great job as the villain. Anytime Jackie works with Vidhu Vinod Chopra, you can expect him to give his best. It is pleasing to see Jackie show off his talents yet again. He needs to sign more films like this, rather than do the inconsequential films he has been doing of late.
Boman Irani is a fantastic actor, without a doubt. He proves that in Eklavya, as you see that the man can do any type of role demanded. The different shades he plays in the movie is simply superb. He is definitely one of the most dependable actors in the industry, so the fact that he has given a fantastic performance should not be a surprise to anyone. There is no stopping him as he keeps on going and delivering the goods.
Jimmy Shergill surprises you with how at ease he is at playing the negative character. Always known for playing chocolate boy roles, this was a welcome departure for Jimmy. Jimmy is a great actor and shows it off with this role. Let’s just hope he gets noticed by the people that matter, and gets more good roles in the future, as he truly deserves it.
Vidya Balan is wonderful once again. Seriously, in such a short career graph, she has already pulled off many great performances. The sky is the limit for her, and things will only get better for her. Her chemistry with Saif is just as good as it was in Parineeta. She is surely blessed to get so many prestigious projects so early in her career.
Raima Sen leaves an impact with her performance. She does well with what she is given. The plot is triggered through her character and one wished that she would be involved in the end of the film, instead of vanishing as she did. That being said, this movie will definitely benefit her for her future.
It is great to see Sharmila Tagore on screen anytime because it is so rare these days. She is only given one scene in the movie and that too, in her death bed. The biggest disappointment is that she has no scenes with her son, Saif. When both mother and son signed onto the same film, it would have been wise to see them share screen space. No such thing happened, and that really is a downer.
As I said in the Guru review, the year is early, but there is no denying that even after the year is over, Eklavya will remain one of the best films of the year. The movie is extremely powerful and leaves such an impact, that it will be difficult to forget about it. The gripping tale is a huge plus, but it is the brilliant performances and direction that push the film over the hump. Eklavya can best be described as a masterpiece created by a master. Do yourself a favor and watch Eklavya. It is a must see for anyone who loves fine cinema!