Review of Bollywood movie ‘Aurangzeb’, a Yash Raj production starring Arjun Kapoor
Aditya Chopra is the Aurangzeb of quality cinema. Several movies produced under his Yash Raj banner seem to be made by brilliant marketers rather than passionate film writers and directors. Yash Raj Films has the power over Bollywood and the country to fund these marketers who then brainstorm a variety of promising premises that can easily make money at the box office. Some of these premises are executed well, but the vast majority are abused.
Lazy writing is to blame, in most cases, and I think it’s because the writers hired to write the script don’t know what effective film writing is. I imagine these guys sitting around a circular table in an air-conditioned office, dressed like smart businessmen in long-sleeved shirts (including ties) and pants, and discussing marketing concepts like ‘brainstorming’, ‘ new product development ‘, etc. trying to find an ‘innovative product’ that has ‘mass appeal’; the aesthetics of cinema is something that escapes them, so they throw it out the window.
It is not that they are totally alien to cinematographic concepts, since they know how to develop a coherent narrative; the problem is that his work totally lacks the nuances that make cinema work as art. Aditya Chopra happily gives the green light to these projects, then picks up well-known Bollywood stars or new faces who can act “Bollywood style.” These projects are launched with the well-known Yash Raj logo, marketed well enough to generate public interest, and then launched in most multiplexes and single screen theaters in India. Money is made and then everyone goes … to the big party that celebrates the commercial success of the film, a spectacle of power and paisa!
“Our family is more important than our dreams,” says the character of Anupam Kher in the film, and Aditya seems to take this adage seriously: the “new faces” he presents are usually related to someone from the family of the big and bad. from Bollywood. Arjun Kapoor, the son of producer Boney Kapoor plays our heroes here, taking on the dual roles of Ajay and Vishal, long-lost twins who live completely different lives; While Ajay is the rich, reckless, and spoiled son of a corrupt real estate developer, Vijay is … the other son who lives with his mother. We don’t know much about Vijay here, if he had a life of his own, friends, interests, etc. because its basic function is to act as a plot device for the ‘exchange’ that takes place.
However, Aurangzeb does not start with either of these two characters; it is the narrator Arya who tells the story of Aurangzeb. In many ways, Prithviraj Sukumaran is as much of a leading man as Arjun Kapoor, but since he’s not a big name in Bollywood, he doesn’t share any space on the film’s poster. The character he plays is the Gurgaon deputy chief of police, who lives in a family of police officers. His uncle Ravikant (played by veteran Rishi Kapoor) is the DCP, while his brother-in-law Dev (Sikander Kher) is another ACP.
Arya’s father calls him one day to tell him something important about his past. The corrupt officer who retired after accepting responsibility for a mistake that led to the death of a woman and her son tells his son that he had made up the whole story; reveals that the woman and her son were still alive and that he was in a relationship with the woman. He convinces Arya to take care of the economic needs of the woman after her death; the plot itself is very eager to kill him and therefore in the next scene we see Arya visiting the woman to report her father’s death. She sheds some glycerin-induced tears while Arya remains at a distance; at that moment his son Vishal arrives and asks what is happening. Arya searches for her weapon because she thinks it is Ajay, but then stops when she discovers that it is Vishal. After leaving his house, he calls Ravikant and tells him to come.
The beans are soon spilled when Vishal’s mother reveals to her son who his father is: Yashwardhan, a crime lord disguised as a real estate developer; Realizing her husband’s true business, Vishal’s mother acted as a mole for the police and then left her husband, leaving Vishal’s twin Ajay behind. So Yashwardhan still has the impression that his wife and other son were dead, and he is currently having an affair with Nina; All we know about Nina is that she runs a high profile escort business and helps Yashwardhan’s company by attracting the most clients.
Arya is surprisingly quick to convince Vishal’s mother to switch places with Ajay, and in the next scene, the police officers take Ajay hostage and Vishal leaves to fulfill her task: obtain confidential information about the deals. Yashwardhan’s illicit actions that would lead to his downfall. . Only in Shakespearean stories you may have heard of such a quick exchange and therefore to make the situation seem less implausible there are a quick series of takes during a song sequence that inform on the research that Vishal carried out before the exchange. Internet to see weapon models – fabulous research!
And what’s even more surprising is that no one suspects him, not Yashwardhan, not Nina, or his fiancee Ritu. Ajay, on the other hand, ‘plays Bigg Boss, Bigg Boss’ (in his own words) with his mother in a secluded house in the country. Speaking of Bigg Boss, a reality show I used to watch when I was young, I remember a similar exchange that took place in the second season of Big Boss – it took the other housemates only ten minutes to spot the ruse!
Aurangzeb is full of jokes, but there is little subtlety and a lack of meaningful exchange. The characterization is only superficial and so is Arjun Kapoor’s acting, but he’s only doing what he’s told. It is Aditya Chopra who is funding many of these projects and sadly even winning many awards in India; His business sense is smart (his Wikipedia page mentions that he graduated from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics), but I would like him to use his power and paisa to foster quality productions. His Aurangzeb production has a workable premise, but sadly ends up sunk with sloppy treatment. The movie should drop.