The PlotIn the current spate of Bollywood flops and mediocre film content, Guzaarish rides high with sensitive content that signifies and highlights the zeal of a paralyzed man Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan). A near fatal accident renders him paralyzed for life; a quadriplegic, the film poses an ethical question in front of the audience – should the character lead the remaining years of his life bound in wheelchair or can he exercise the option of mercy killing, that is, euthanasia.
On the other hand, we have the loving, caring and devoted nurse Sophie (Aishwarya Rai), battling with the past involving an abusive husband and who has devoted 12 years of her life to Ethan. Distraught at the prospect of seeing Ethan die, she tries to convince him drop the idea but finally, joins Ethan in his conviction and agrees to become his wife for a day. The film ends in laughter and joy of Ethan’s last party, with all the guests surrounding Ethan’s bed and hugging him.
Critical AcclaimThe opulent period drama is the highest grossing movie in the UK, even though it received a lukewarm response from the Indian moviegoers. Hands down, Guzaarish is a film of ‘pure art’. Inspired from The Sea Inside, Whose Life Is It Anyways, and My Left Foot, the film has the magic and the unusual spirit of the main protagonist to love and cherish life even with physical boundaries and restriction is what grips the audience’s mind. The movie articulates, unusually, the plea for death but there is love and tenderness serenading each character associated with Ethan in the end. Bhansali has done a marvelous job; the movie cinematography is akin to life size paintings, each frame portraying a “slice of life”.
As we said earlier, Guzaarish has received mixed criticism. With 6 out of 10 rating, The Pioneer commented, “all fears are dispelled in the first 10 minutes of this finely made and delicately executed two-hour love emotion. With a taste for elegant grandeur and a keen eye on chic cinematography, Bhansali has lent Guzaarish a picture-perfect look which we hardly get to see in domestic cinema. Not to forget the theme of Quadriplegia this, too, has been dealt with sensitivity”. In contrast, Rajeev Masand of CNN IBN found the movie “less esoteric” and lacking in the “emotional truth of characters”. An early review of critic Taran Adarsh opined that the movie is “one of the most profound, insightful and enriching dramas of the year”.
Audience Verdict –Best performance by Hrithik Roshan, a film that is wonderfully woven frame-by-frame and deals with a sensitive subject – the film may not be ringing the Box Office cash register but we know, Bhansali makes movie from his heart and not with materialistic inclinations. Aishwarya shows tremendous oomph factor and the supporting actors – Aditya Roy, Sgernaz Patel, and Nafisa Ali – give their best performance too.
Despite negative criticisms, Guzaarish is not for people looking “full – on” entertainment with signature style Bollywood song-and-dance. A film like Guzaarish happens only “once”; its cinematography is a gratification to the senses, storyline is sensitively broached and dealt with, and finally, Guzaarish is for those lovers of art, whose perception of life and existence stands apart from daily rigmarole of existence.