Tuesday Talkies – Shamitabh


Amitabh Bachchan, who doesn’t know what a powerful artist he is…. Artist and not actor, because I think he is not merely an actor, he has proven himself to be much more than that. He is Art.

When you are making a movie to accentuate every aspect of this superstar; its bound to raise expectations to an overflowing level. But, alas, the movie ‘Shamitabh’ rests on a much below ground than is expected.


Shamitabh, is a drama Indian Film, which is a loose satire on Indian Film industry. This movie is written and directed by the talented, R. Balki, who has earlier made films like Paa‘, ‘Cheeni Kum‘, and English Vinglish‘; all near about close to masterpieces in themselves.


Shamitabh stars Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush and Akshara Hassan in lead roles. As a matter of fact title of the movie – Shamitabh, is taken from lead actors names; SH from DhanuSH, and AMITABH from Amitabh Bachchan off-course; making it Shamitabh; which Dhanush cleverly explains in the movie as ‘sh..sh….. as in Silent Amitabh. Silent as in mute…. dumb; which is Dhanush, playing a dumb movie buff, whose sole objective is to become a movie star.


Lets delve into story of Shamitabh. Dhanush, is a mute, who wants to be a Hero. Despite his disability, he is positive that his talent is much extraordinary to be wasted in a small village, driving a local bus. Come first opportunity and he runs to Mumbai, the dream city for movie buffs. He gatecrashes studios, vanity vans of actors, and, every possible place where he could meet his favorite directors/producers. On one such attempt, he strikes a gold, when he comes across Akshara; an assistant director; who sees potential in his talent and tries to help him.


How can you become a Hero, when you cannot speak? Comes science and technology. Although the technological solution shown in this movie seems absurd at first, but you will easily ignore this feeling and move in with the flow of movie. Now, Dhanush can speak; but, he can speak only borrowed speech from someone else. After searching a lot for a perfect voice for Dhanush, they come across, one drunk homeless guy – Amitabh, who was also an unsuccessful struggling actor.


Contract is signed, and now, Dhanush is speaking in Amitabh’s voice. Whatever Amitabh speaks, comes out of Dhanush’s mouth. Dhanush is complete, his talent is complete. He even changes his name to ‘Shamitabh’, Silent Amitabh. Shamitabh rose above all and becomes a superstar. While Dhanush is riding the wave of success, his voice, Amitabh is in the background, treated as a valet to the superstar Shamitabh.


Ego game starts between the two. Amitabh of the belief that it is his voice which is the real power in Shamitabh’s success; while Dhanush believing that it his talent and his acting which is terrific on its own and voice of Amitabh is just an add-on to Shamitabh’s whole persona; and there is nothing more to it. Ego clashes; they fight; they demean each other; they repulse; and they go separate ways to figure out who the real Shamitabh is, actually.


Whole concept of this movie is excellent and unique, and with a star cast as powerful as this movie has; there is nothing topping it. It is the best recipe for a masterpiece movie. But, is it a masterpiece?


it is not. Reason being, when you are telling a story of two great Egos clashing against each other, you have to first make them great; you have to make them equally compelling forces. You have to give them equal space for growth and character development. Problem with this movie is that it is more of an Amitabh Bachchan’s movie than A Movie. Scale of affection is shifted to Amitabh’s way, by R. Balki, tilting whole movie’s direction towards shouting to everyone, how great of an actor, Amitabh Bachchan is.

Balki, you don’t have to scream. We know already.

ShamitabhThere is an opening scene in the movie, where a young Dhanush (a child artist), enact a scene of his mother’s death. That scene is so powerful and so intense that you perceive adult Dhanush character having the same depth in his acting. But, when the time comes to showcase his acting, Balki, shows Dhanush in doing ‘Lifebuoy’ and ‘piddaly’. There is no scene as powerful as that one. Dhanush is a terrific actor and he has proved that he can act without saying a single word. If only there would be more of him in this movie.

ShamitabhAmitabh, as I have said in the beginning, need n introduction. He is an encyclopedia in acting. But, as too much of anything, degrade it’s value; so is the case with his presence in this movie. Balki’s fixation of keeping Amitabh in almost every scene possible has cost him making this film a phenomenon. Too many scenes of drunk Amitabh….. repetitive dialogues and references. Dull. 😦


Akshara is awesome. She has the looks and talent both, from her gifted parents, Kamal Hassan and Sarika. She has stood out in this movie on her own. She looks beautiful and elegant and portrays a strong character. All her scenes are wonderful; specially the ones with Dhanush alone, they are so funny and satire is bang on. Way to go girl!!!


Second half of Shamitabh, is terrible, dulling the movie. Editing is bogus. Direction is confusing and scenes are predictable and too long. Sometimes when you try to over simplify something; you confuse it and make it more complex. Balki has done the same with this movie. If only he could have thought of his audience as intelligent enough to grasp the essence of the film, without detailing every stupid scene for whole half hour; it could have been a better crisp yet critically magnificent film. Here to oversimplification …..


Don’t forget to watch Rekha’s cameo in this movie. Marvellous.




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