Waqt - The Race Against Time
Waqt - The Race Against Time
By: By Taran Adarsh (IndiaFM)
Critic's Rating: 3/5
Friday 22 April 2005
Waqt - The Race Against Time
The Southern film industry churned out 'family films' way back in the 1960s and later, during the 'Jeetendra phase' in the 1980s with major success. Reputed names like B. Nagi Reddy, L.V. Prasad, Padmalaya, A. Purnachandra Rao, K. Raghavendra Rao, T. Rama Rao and Dasari Narayan Rao brought ghar-ghar ki kahani to the big screen and won the hearts of family audiences all over.
Vipul Amrutlal Shah steps into a similar territory and comes up with Waqt - The Race Against Time. A film that not only looks at the father-son bonding, but also mother-son and husband-wife relationships.
At a time when Bollywood is going through a precarious phase, with films sinking faster than Titanic and the industry searching for that elusive formula to magnetize the audiences back to cinema halls, comes Waqt - The Race Against Time.
To be honest, Waqt - The Race Against Time doesn't boast of a hatke story. Nor does it claim to be an earth-shattering experience. Yet, it works in a big way!
An Indian moviegoer wants to listen to a story that he/she can identify with. After tackling an issue like heist [Aankhen] in his big screen debut, director Vipul Amrutlal Shah goes into the backyard and digs out a story that is sure to touch every individual. Laced with towering performances [Big B, Akshay Kumar, Shefali Shah], melodious music [Anu Malik] and most importantly, dollops of emotions, Waqt - The Race Against Time is exactly what the doctor prescribed for an ailing industry!
Waqt - The Race Against Time tells the story of a man, who has little time on hand and his son, who refuses to shoulder responsibilities. The father is Ishwar [Amitabh Bachchan] and the son Aditya [Akshay Kumar].
Ishwar, the owner of a toy manufacturing company, is extremely generous and large-hearted. On the surface, Ishwar's life seems perfect: A profitable business, a loving son and a caring and dutiful wife, Sumi [Shefali Shah].
Aditya is in love with Pooja [Priyanka Chopra], the daughter of Nattubhai [Boman Irani], and the two get married without bothering to take consent or even informing their parents. Ishwar hopes that the marriage will make Aditya a more responsible man, but he is disappointed. His efforts to turn Aditya into a responsible individual turn futile.
One thing leads to another and Ishwar doesn't have an option but to throw Aditya out of the house. Aditya is shocked to see his otherwise doting father behaving like a tyrant. After the initial hiccups, Aditya takes it upon himself to take care of his pregnant wife.
Aditya starts working as a stuntman and at the same time, prepares for a star-search contest. Aditya starts turning into an independent man, but the rift between the father and son widens.
In the climax, Aditya is chosen to participate in the finals of the star-search contest and this is where the father's genuine intentions come to light.
Adapted from the Gujarati play 'Aavjo Vhala Fari Malishu', Waqt - The Race Against Time is targeted at the family audiences. But behind all the entertainment packaged in this enterprise, there lies a strong social message - Discipline your kids, make them more responsible and dutiful and don't pamper them to the extent of spoiling their lives. That's precisely the film's USP!
Shah and writer Aatish Kapadia concentrate on light moments in the initial reels. You take to the first part gradually since Waqt - The Race Against Time treads the same path that you'd encountered in socials earlier.
Just when you've concluded that Waqt - The Race Against Time is one of those routine baap-beta clashes, the director and writer do an about-turn in the post-interval portions. The second half is more dramatic, more engaging and most importantly, has a series of deftly executed sequences that look straight out of life.
The verbal confrontations between Amitabh and Akshay, as also the developments that force Akshay to grow up, are simply brilliant. The dog chase and the taandav dance in the pre-climax are awe-inspiring as well. On the flip side, the screenplay could've tighter for a better impact. The second half, though interesting, has a few comic portions that look like obstacles in the emotional half. Slight trimming would only speed up the proceedings and enhance the impact.
The finale could've been better. The entire exercise during the star-search contest, with an ailing Bachchan reaching the venue and Akshay discovering the truth and delivering a long-drawn speech, right till Amitabh and Priyanka both being rushed to the hospital, looks theatrical. But these are minor blemishes anyways!
Getting the emotions right and making the viewer rush for the kerchief is indeed an arduous task, but director Vipul Amrutlal Shah handles these portions extremely well. Besides, the director has extracted wonderful performances from the entire cast, mainly from Bachchan, Akshay and Shefali - the three key players in the story.
Story-screenplay-dialogue writer Aatish Kapadia has presented a simple story, but garnished it with enough engaging moments. Although not a foolproof script, the writing is definitely better than most socials witnessed in the recent past. The dialogue penned by Kapadia also deserves special mention.
Anu Malik's music may not be a chartbuster, but gels well with the mood of the film. The Holi track, 'Do Me A Favour, Let's Play Holi, 'Miraksam' and 'Subah Hogi' [breath-taking locales of Morocco] are the best tracks in the film. 'Chhup Ja Chhup Ja' is very imaginatively filmed.
Cinematography [Santosh Thundiyil] is first-rate. The film looks visually rich, indoors and outdoors both. The sets [Omung Kumar] give the film an opulent look. The dog chase [executed by Abbas Ali Moghul] is outstanding.
Waqt - The Race Against Time rests on three performances without which the impact wouldn't have been hammer-strong. Amitabh Bachchan proves yet again that he's invincible when it comes to dramatics. The actor is extremely likeable in light moments, as also in sequences when his heart pines for his beloved son. The energy and vigor with which he performs every scene and dance make you look at him in complete awe. His presence alone lights up even an ordinary sequence!
Akshay Kumar is getting better with every release. The actor handles his part with complete understanding of the character and scores in the emotional moments, mainly in the post-interval portions.
Shefali Shah is another talent to watch out. The actress is elegance personified and conveys the pathos convincingly. Also, she matches the Big B at every step. Priyanka Chopra doesn't get meaty scenes in the enterprise, but she does leave an impact nonetheless.
Boman Irani excels and together with Rajpal Yadav brings the house down. Yadav specially is outstanding.
On the whole, Waqt - The Race Against Time is a well-made family entertainer that makes you laugh and cry, thanks to the strong emotional quotient in the film. Here's a film that should strike a chord with every family. At the box-office, Waqt - The Race Against Time has all it takes to climb the ladder of success in days to come. A must-see for every parent and every child!
Rating:- * * * ?.
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