'Aurangzeb' review: The cruel persuasion of power
Rishi Kapoor is the surprise package of 'Aurangzeb'. This is another hair-raising performance from him.
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Rishi Kapoor, Sasheh Agha, Jackie Shroff, Tanvi Azmi, Amrita Singh, Sikandar Kher
Director: Atul Sabharwal
The conviction to commit a crime makes a gangster menacing and important. Director Atul Sabharwal's 'Aurangzeb' is interesting in this aspect that none of his characters is innocent. It's full of treacheries and the audience rarely witness a change of heart which lasts for more than five scenes.
The story is about twins Vishal and Ajay (Arjun Kapoor) who have different perspectives towards life. Yashwardhan Singh (Jackie Shroff) is a dreaded real estate developer in Delhi-NCR who runs his empire through a shrewd lady Nina (Amrita Singh), but wants his son Ajay to take over the business.
Ravikant (Rishi Kapoor) is a top cop whose name invokes a mixture of emotions in the minds of the wrongdoers of the area. Arya (Prithviraj Sukumaran) is his nephew and a police officer as well, but his character is as ambiguous as his uncle's. The huge piles of black money involved in the real estate business attract a series of tacticians who are not willing to leave a single stone unturned in order to control Yashwardhan's empire.
Now, the onus is on Ravikant to hatch a plan and eliminate the chaff from the legitimate owners.
The screenplay doesn't take much time in introducing the theme and the characters develop at a rapid pace in the first half. In fact, all the key characters get established within 20 minutes into the film, but then the director decides to go for their tender sides, which in turn makes 'Aurangzeb' look more like a family drama than a hardcore gangster flick.
Sabharwal wants to bring forth the unity of the families involved in traditional rivalry but the sides are not directly connected to each other. Jackie Shroff and Rishi Kapoor are family heads who are fighting battles at two fronts, one within the family and one against each other. One of the better crafted scenes of the film defines the value of power in Ravikant's life, Deepti Naval leaves a strong impression in the scene where she convinces Rishi Kapoor about the value of possessing authority. He is determined to keep a check on the proceedings till the last moment. On the other hand, Jackie Shroff is willing to pass on his legacy but is not sure of the outcome.
Gangster thrillers always feel a dilemma about the pace and tempo of the story. Atul Sabharwal has banked on fast changing plots and it restricts the unfolding of latent emotions. Arjun Kapoor and Tanvi Azmi have spent a lot of screen time together but fail to create a high voltage emotional environment. Similarly, Sasheh Agha fails to garner passion in intimate scenes but then it is understandable as her character is there to help Arjun Kapoor and Amrita Singh flourish.
Arjun Kapoor takes his role forward from where he had left in 'Ishaqzaade', he is successful in conveying the cynicism of his role. He is over the top in some sequences but can be given the advantage as he can place himself well in the popular style of gangster filmmaking in the Hindi film industry.
Prithviraj is intense (He doesn't smile deliberately I guess) and deserved more nuanced role. He represents the quiet, focussed and strong earthy male, however the attempt to present him as a just cop falls flat because of the vague nature of his motives.
Rishi Kapoor is the surprise package of 'Aurangzeb'. This is another hair-raising performance from him. An astute cop and a cunning planner, it's almost difficult to understand his next move. He has thrown away all the inhibitions of a character and has brought out the inside of a motivated criminal.
Landscapes to show the concrete nature of Gurgaon in general are used judiciously, but the editing could have been much tighter. The recurrence of events and people in the climax is the biggest shortcoming of the film. The spontaneity of the story finishes at least 15 minutes before the actual finish, and it doesn't look very fitting after a nice build up. Some moments which could have given a new dimension to 'Aurangzeb' are compromised to pave the way for blood and gore.
Overall, 'Aurangzeb' is a fun thriller with a racy first half and a dragged climax. It's not devoid of any essential ingredient of a 'masala' film and you can watch it for depicting the dark underbelly of the illegal land deals.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5