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Review: Yuvvraaj a yawn of a moral science lesson

Subhash Ghai
Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Zayed Khan, Boman Irani
A R Rahman
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Nine years after his last hit Taal, Subhash `Showman’ Ghai is back with Yuvvraaj. The star-cast and superb music have guaranteed the audience’s curiosity in the film. Does it live up? Read on.

Austria: Salman Khan’s character breaks an old musician’s violin because he thinks he’s winking at his girlfriend Anushka (Katrina). (Some in the audience giggled that Khan was playing himself.)

Interview: Katrina Kaif on Yuvvraaj | Stills from Yuvvraaj | Videos, news and all about Yuvvraaj

Khan is playing Deven, a music lover who’s actually the scion of a very rich family. He was kicked out because he fought with his autistic brother Gyanesh (Anil Kapoor).

Since then he’s been living a pauper-like existence (just why can’t he get a job?), understandably disliked by Anushka’s father (Boman Irani), who prefers a successful son-in-law.

In jail for creating a ruckus at a party thrown by Anushka’s dad, Deven is bailed out by a lady who runs a music and dance organisation who calls his act “badmashi” admonishing his act with a “very bad, very bad” scolding.

Deven learns of his father’s demise, and without an itch of remorse, flies over to London to reclaim his share in the property. There he meets the filmi stereotypes – the evil mama-mami, gorgeous skimpily-clad vamp, the sympathetic maid, and the good attorney (Mithun Chakraborty) who was also a dear friend of the deceased.

The `Will’ leaves the entire property to Gyanesh and that leaves Deven and the third brother Danny to plot their way into getting their share. Along the way, they reform and understand how brotherly love is above all materialistic things. If you’re yawning already, imagine enduring this moral science lesson through an entire film length.

As a character, Deven is impossible to like. And it’s a bit sad to see Salman, double chin and dyed orange tinted hair, trying to act twenty years younger. At other times, he’s not acting at all and delivering dialogues with his hands in his pockets.

The only scene where he comes alive is in the second half where he’s begging his arch enemy to save his brother’s life.

Anil Kapoor breathes life into the character of Gyanesh who’s a music-worshipper and a singing genius but has always been rebuffed by his family owing to his autism. Once the property is left to him, he gets overwhelmed first and then frightened at all the sudden attention he receives.

Kapoor made his association with Subhash Ghai in Ram Lakhan and went on to work in several films with him. This is the actor’s seventh film with the director and it’s thanks to him that the film is watchable in the parts where he’s on screen.

Zayed Khan does very well as the spoilt brat used to a life of excessive luxuries. Anushka seems a basket case for dating Deven who by her own admission, is a “jealous, insecure and selfish person”. But Katrina is wonderful, plays the cello convincingly, and looks ethereal. It’s Anil Kapoor and Katrina Kaif’s show all the way.

Producer-Writer-Director Subhash Ghai is out of sorts in this venture. The so-called plotting and planning by the brothers, to snatch wealth from each other’s hands is a laugh

. It’s a really simplistic interpretation of a family feud; something you could see in a school play. The theatrics go unbearably overboard in scenes where a character who’s about to die from poisoning, goes on stage to perform, while another character joins in the performance impromptu, amidst some heavy-duty lightening effects.

Strangely, and objectionably, these mega-rich families have no daughters born to them; here there are three brothers competing among themselves and also against their mama’s children –also two sons.

Subhash Ghai’s films can be depended on for soulful, memorable music; the tunes of which you invariably hum and the lyrics you say in your head over and over. Here too, AR Rahman and Gulzar create magic. However like Taal, the over-the-top presentation of the songs with synchronised steps by dancers in masks, bows and furs and what have you, gets monotonous.

The delicately nuanced songs are lost in a melee of visual excesses. Art Direction by Omung Kumar suffers from a severe Saawariya hangover. Another problem with the sets is that they are all indistinguishable and repetitive – whether the scene is at the characters’ home or them performing in a grand musical hall –it’s the similar décor, paintings and feel.

Cinematography by Kabir Lal (has done Pardes, Taal and Yaadein with Subhash Ghai) is alright. Shiamak Davar’s choreography is reminiscent of his work in Taal.

Dialogue is bizarre and in one scene has Deven explain to a policeman that his brother took the blame for his driving accident because he is an “Indian Brother”. Yuvvraaj would have been a sinking ship, but is somewhat salvaged by Anil Kapoor’s class act and Kaif’s agreeable screen presence.

Verdict: One-and-a-half stars

Interview: Katrina Kaif on Yuvvraaj | Stills from Yuvvraaj | Videos, news and all about Yuvvraaj


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