Reviewed By Abhishek Bandekar
Posted 04/22/05 22:52:27

"Time For A Hit!"
3 stars (Average)

Eureka! We’ve got it! Yes, ladies and gentlemen…in Vipul Shah’s ‘Waqt’, we have probably found this year’s first bona fide Indian hit. Replete with all the necessary ingredients of commercial Bollywood fare, ‘Waqt’ has all that it takes for a movie to click with Indian audiences. It’s the kinda film that makes a distributor feel happy, and has him contemplate his next foreign visit!

In this ‘saga of Indian emotions’, we have a happy family (isn’t it always?) of three. Ishwar (Amitabh Bachchan), the postman-turned-millionaire (don’t ask how!...there’s something about selling toys while delivering letters…seriously - who gives a damn!), and married to Sumi (Shefali Shah) is a doting father to Aditya(Akshay Kumar). Ishwar has to make a serious decisions about his son’s careless attitude towards life. His love for Aditya though, results in his procrastination over this grave issue. However, when faced with a situation that will see him race against time, Ishwar has no alternative but to throw Aditya out of the house - hoping that the new predicament might make him more conscientious about his own life. His solution becomes a problem in itself, as the rift between the loving father-son increases and the fences continue to build.

You don’t have to be a rocket-scientist to realize that such a story provides ample opportunities to infuse comedy and drama alike. So, pre-interval you have the initially funny, later annoying comedy track of Boman Irani and Rajpal Yadav; and post-interval there are the go for your kerchief moments between Aby and Akki! Writer Aatish Kapadia (he also penned the original Gujarati play 'Aavjo Vhala Fari Malishu' on which the film is based) does a good job of keeping the narrative fluid. The dialogues tend to get inconsistent at times. It doesn’t help that songs appear like acne on a teenaged face and mar the proceedings. Clearly, a couple of numbers could’ve been done away with, without losing any interest. On the directing front, Vipul shows that he possesses a natural flair for story-telling. ‘Waqt’, as well as his earlier debut effort ‘Aankhen’, manage to keep you interested until the last reel. On a personal note - the seesaw of emotions was a tad jerky for me. But gauging from the audience reactions, it was working to the hilt.

Finally, ‘Waqt’ is all about its performances which amount to one whole point in the overall rating! Amitabh Bachchan is dependable as always. His energy is visible and so is his age! Shefali pitches in a finely nuanced performance and matches the superstar at every step. Boman and Rajpal bring the house down with their histrionics. Priyanka has little to do than fulfill the perfunctory role of a heroine. When it all boils down though, ‘Waqt’ is Akshay’s vehicle. I have always maintained that Akki is as good as the role suits him. Put him in a ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’ and he’s fantastic, but in a ‘Bewafaa’ he is woefully bad. Here, Akki is probably at his best. Whether it is his comic timing or his emotional renderings, he is near-perfect. There’s also an action scene for his fans! Ironically, his previous best endeavour was in ‘Aankhen’- with the same director and Big B at his side!

‘Waqt’ is by no means a memorable movie. It’s not one that will feature in any list of the better films of our industry. But it is one for the masses, and at a time when the Indian film industry is waiting desperately for a universal hit, ‘Waqt’ might just do the trick!

Trivia- This is Akshay Kumar’s second consecutive film after ‘Bewafaa’, in which he performs on stage during the climax!

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