(2010) Guzaarish Reviews

BollywoodHungama Movie Review
Bollywood appears to be inclined towards exploring rare illnesses/disorders/disabilities, with directors casting megastars in characters to raise awareness about the lesser-known ailments. In GHAJINI, Aamir Khan had short-term memory loss [Anterograde Amnesia]. In PAA, Amitabh Bachchan played a child afflicted with Progeria. In MY NAME IS KHAN, SRK was shown suffering from Asperger Syndrome. In TAARE ZAMEEN PAR, Aamir Khan portrayed problems of Dyslexic children. In BLACK, Amitabh Bachchan was shown succumbing to Alzheimer’s. In KARTHIK CALLING KARTHIK, Farhan Akhtar portrayed a Schizophrenic.

This is not the first time that master film-maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has attempted a movie that has the protagonist suffering from a serious disability. In GUZAARISH, Hrithik Roshan suffers from Paraplegia, a complete paralysis of the lower half of the body, including both legs, usually caused by damage/injury to the spinal cord.

Bhansali has always been known for two things. The first thing is, of course, the visual splendour in his films [which was quite evident in HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM, DEVDAS and SAAWARIYA] and the second thing that he takes inspiration from various stories. The critically acclaimed BLACK was inspired from THE MIRACLE WORKER [a 1962 film] and SAAWARIYA from ‘White Nights’, a Russian short story.

There’s talk that GUZAARISH is a remake of Christopher Nolan’s Hollywood movie THE PRESTIGE, which, let me clarify, it is not. GUZAARISH brings back memories of two films, which may be coincidental: The Spanish Oscar and Golden Globe winning film MAR ADENTRO aka THE SEA INSIDE [2004], which, in turn, was based on a real-life story of Ramon Sampedro and WHOSE LIFE IS IT ANYWAY?, a television play which was later adapted into a play [theatre] and much later into a film [1981].

Bhansali has worked himself to the grind and his presence is felt in every frame of GUZAARISH. There is an inimitable intellect that Bhansali brings to his movies. Bhansali is also known to extract the best performances from his actors. In a light-hearted vein, I would go to the extent of saying that Bhansali has the ability to make a dumb man speak and a sightless man see. His devotion and dedication towards his craft is truly inspirational and motivating. In GUZAARISH, Bhansali puts behind all the glitter and glamour and comes up with yet another unique and sensitive story told through a series of flashbacks.

Final word? GUZAARISH is special in more ways than one. In my individualistic opinion, it easily ranks amongst Bhansali’s best works so far. Just don’t miss this one!

Set in Goa, it tells the story of an accomplished magician Ethan Mascarenhas [Hrithik Roshan]. Ethan suffers serious injuries when one of his magical trick goes horribly wrong, turning him to a Paraplegic. Confined to a wheel chair, Ethan becomes a Radio Jockey at an FM Station called Radio Zindagi. His show talks of hope, laughter and sunshine and it’s difficult to imagine that the man behind it has been immobilized with a spinal injury for the last fourteen years of his life. Sofia [Aishwarya Rai Bachchan], a nurse, takes good care of him; they share a silent love.

Ethan files a petition in court for mercy killing. This decision of Ethan leaves Sofia stunned. Ethan takes the help of friend-lawyer Devyani [Shernaz Patel] to support his appeal. Even Ethan’s mother Isabel [Nafisa Ali] supports him in his petition, although Ethan is persuaded by his physician Dr. Nayak [Suhel Seth] to retract his case. Alongside all this, Omar [Aditya Roy Kapur] enters Ethan’s life with the aim of learning magic from him. Impressed by Omar’s love for magic, Ethan agrees to pass on his legacy to him.

Only a sensitive raconteur can do absolute justice to a challenging subject like the one in GUZAARISH and Bhansali seems the right candidate for an extremely tricky theme like mercy killing/Euthanasia. The story is complex and can only be narrated by a storyteller who has the art of telling stories most convincingly. Sure, the protagonist in GUZAARISH wants to end his existence, but that doesn’t mean the film is disheartening or unsettling. Clearly, the writing [screenplay: Bhavani Iyer and Bhansali] is smart, taut and absorbing.

GUZAARISH has a number of sequences that bear the unmistakable stamp of a genius. Sample these…

* The courtroom sequence and Aishwarya’s outburst towards the end of it.

* The hearing of the petition at Hrithik’s house.

* Hrithik’s act going wrong and the near-fatal accident.

* The finale.

Any negatives? The generous usage of English in the narrative. The language is sure to act as a barrier in the hinterland specially. Agreed, the film is set in Goa, they are bound to speak that language, but despite everything, Hindi is a must for a pan-India appeal.

Irrespective of how his films fare at the box-office, Bhansali’s films have always been embellished with rich and cherished music. The songs continue to linger in the hearts of the listeners with their dulcet and soothing tunes. After legendary Satyajit Ray and Vishal Bhardwaj, Bhansali is the next accomplished film-maker who has himself created the music of his film. The songs in GUZAARISH are more inclined towards poetry that’s earthy and contemporary. However, it does take some time for the listeners to sense the pulse of the music. ‘Tera Zikr Hai Ya Itra Hai’ is a limerick to exquisiteness, ‘Sau Gram Zindagi’, with its philosophical tone, leaves a lasting impression, the title track ‘Guzaarish’ casts a spell on you and ‘Udi’ is, of course, memorable.

GUZAARISH has been magnificently shot. The indoors as well as outdoors [the gorgeous panorama] add so much to the film. There’s no refuting that cinematographer Sudeep K. Chatterjee has created some really alluring and enthralling visuals. The very effective and subtle background score [Tubby and Parik] of GUZAARISH is its very backbone. The feelings of intrigue, anxiety, anguish and romance come across so well. In fact, for the very first time, I felt that I was not hearing the background score, I was feeling it. Dialogue [Bhavani Iyer and Vibhu Puri] belong to high standards that touch your soul. Costumes [Sabyasachi] are absolutely wonderful; they gel well with the setting and mood of the film.

Hrithik and Aishwarya are seen in a lackluster facade and that’s what makes the characters so plausible. While Hrithik is seen sporting a beard and has even put on weight, Aishwarya is seen in sober outfits. In fact, the two actors have gone through a drastic appearance change and both pressurize you to believe that they are indeed Ethan and Sofia. It must be said that Hrithik and Aishwarya exude a certain dignity and elegance, much needed for a sensitive film of this magnitude and caliber.

It must have been an arduous task for Hrithik to carry off the Paraplegic character of Ethan Mascarenhas, but he depicts the part with flourish. It’s a great risk in filmy norms to have the hero of the film almost entirely on a wheel chair, but Hrithik has never hesitated or been irresolute in putting himself to adverse conditions, in order to achieve excellence, in whatever character he chooses to depict. Kudos to Hrithik for accepting a role that’s truly opposite to his larger-than-life image and portraying it with elan.

Aishwarya, as Ethan’s nurse who is the epicenter of his world, has approached this role with rare understanding, not going overboard even once. So effective is she that she not only influences you but also compels you to believe that their love is solid in its quiet strength and also spirited in their verbal sparring. The sensational chemistry, which sizzled the silver screen in DHOOM 2 and JODHAA AKBAR and won hearts all over, sizzles yet again, but this time in a distinctive aspect.

Aditya Roy Kapur is truly outstanding in a pivotal character. Shernaz Patel is exceptional. Nafisa Ali makes her presence felt in a small but significant role. Suhel Seth is in terrific form. Moni Kangana Dutta is okay. Vijay Crishna [judge] is effective. Rajit Kapoor does complete justice to his role. Makarand Deshpande leaves an impression. Ash Chandler and Achint Kaur lend good support.

On the whole, GUZAARISH is an invigorating tale. Bhansali, as a film-maker, has scaled several notches above his past accomplishments to create a near-perfect cinematic experience. The highpoint of the motion picture is the magnificently penned story of an incapacitated and debilitated man who desires to end his being with dignity. The film seduces the viewer with a strong emotional quotient, soulful music and of course, the crackling and wonderful onscreen chemistry between Hrithik and Aishwarya. Without doubt, GUZAARISH is one of the most profound, insightful and enriching dramas of the year.

Subhash K. Jha speaks about Guzaarish
Breathe a sigh of relief. During a year when cacophonic crassness masquerading as comic entertainment has been sanctioned by critics and the masses, Guzaarish comes along to remind us that excellence of the highest order is alive and throbbing in our cinema.

Ironically this wonderful work of art, nuanced and magical in its portrayal of an unstoppable spirit’s quest to juice life to its fullest, is about dying. If the journey towards death in art can be so mystically explored then let’s embrace mortality as a stepping stone to immortality and a film about dying as a sign of cinema not dying on us. Not yet.

Only those who suffer the numbing pain of isolation would know what it feels like. Dilip Kumar in Devdas, Guru Dutt in Pyasa, Meena Kumari in Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam and Nutan in Bandini communicated to the audience the indescribable pain of solitude.

Ethan, as played by Hrithik Roshan in Guzaarish, is so bemused by adversity he can actually look at his own suffering with dispassionate humour.

Guzaarish is a joyous rapturous ecstatic celebration of life. Those familiar with the art of Sanjay Leela Bhansali know how ably and ecstatically he transports his characters into a universe of seamless drama played at an octave where most cinematic symphonies crack up and topple over into high-pitched extravagance.

Not Bhansali. Not his cinema. Played at the highest possible scale his drama unfolds in wave after wave of rapturous splendour. His characters occupy a space that defies definition and seduces audiences into celebrating a state of sublimity and splendour. Ethan’s inert physicality is alchemized into an ambience of animated joy. His spirit dances and sings at the sheer pleasure of every moment that is given to him to live. He radiates joy .We feel his profound happiness at the gift of life.

No film in living memory has brought out the sheer blessing of being alive with such spirit and glory. While Shah Rukh Khan’s Devdas in Bhansali’s opulent opera was a character broken in spirit Hrithik Roshan’s Ethan in Guzaarish is irreparably damaged in body. But his spirit soars, his eyes light up like thousands of stars every time Sophie walks in.

That Sophie is played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is a stroke of genius that goes a long way in giving Guzaarish its flavour of exceptional elegance. No other director brings out the quiet grace and the understated beauty of this screen-diva’s personality with as much intelligence and spontaneity as Bhansali. In Guzaarish Aishwarya is far more delicate and nuanced in conveying the unspoken pain of a love that has no tomorrow than she was in Devdas.

Aishwarya imbues her role with a resplendent grace. Love in Guzaarish is expressed with subtle smirks ,gentle smiles and hints of a smothered passion that could erupt any time , if only destiny didn’t choose to be so mean to the spirited.

The scenes between Ethan and Sophie, the backbone of Ethan’s spine-challenged life,radiate an inner beauty and wisdom and underline the director’s enormous understanding of the self-negation that a love relationship requires.

Guzaarish is Bhansali’s most tender and evocative film to date. It layers the pain of a dying body with the passion of an unstoppable spirit as manifested in Hrithik Roshan’s skilled and effortless performance as a quadriplegic who pledges to make every moment of his limited sau gram zindagi pleasurable for himself an those around him.

Barring Amitabh Bachchan in Black there has never been a better performance in a Bhansali film than Hrithik Roshan’s in Guzaarish. He grabs Ethan’s role by the solar plexus and makes the dying character come alive in delightful waves of provocative histrionics. And if we’re talking chemistry between Hrithik and Aishwarya then let’s get one thing clear. This ain’t Dhoom. It’s something far deeper and satisfying.

The other performance that catches your attention is Aditya Roy Kapoor’s. He is natural vivacious and in-sync with the film’s spirit of celebrating life. Monikangna Dutt is a looker. In her limited space she lends some appeal to the proceedings. Suhel Seth, Shernaaz Patel and Rajit Kapur also make a lingering impact in a film that you carry home with you in an inviolable place in your heart.

A word about Bhansali’s music score. The songs communicate the rich tapestried emotions of lives that are determined to smile through an extraordinary tragedy. Every piece of music and song in Guzaarish echoes the film’s incandescent soul.

The film’s technical excellence particularly Sudeep Chatterjee’s cinematography is not dazzling and flamboyant in the way it was in Bhansali’s Devdas .In Guzaarish the appeal is far more delicate and subtle. The deep but sober colours on screen reach out to you to enrich your life in ways that cinema was always meant to, until it was waylaid by the hooligans and impostors posing as filmmakers.

Guzaarish is the real thing. A big beautiful dazzling emotional movie experience. You won’t see a better film this year.

Times of India Review
Story: They called him Merlin and anointed him the best magician. But Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) has very little magic left in his life after a near-fatal accident that leaves him paralysed and confined to bed for life. Can the life-loving Ethan live out the rest of his life as a quadriplegic or has he a right to end the pain and opt for euthanasia (mercy killing)? While his best friend and lawyer Devyani (Shernaz Patel) is ready to fight his case, his devoted nurse Sophie (Aishwarya Rai) can’t foresee a life without her beloved patient and is in a dilemma. Will she let go?

Movie Review: Guzaarish is an unusual film in many respects. Firstly, because it follows a film craft that is akin to pure art. Film maker, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his cinematographer (Sudeep Chatterjee) have created a collage of riveting paintings on screen, where both the interiors of a crumbling mansion and the outsides of an incandescent Goa landscape literally transport you to an art gallery. The exquisite detailing of Aishwarya’s daily chores as she brushes her patient’s teeth, shampoos his hair, scratches his nose, cleans his bed sores or simply draws the blinds to keep the sunlight out is mesmerising to watch, even as their rare outdoor soirees blind you with their exuberance. Catch Hrithik and Aishwarya enjoying a drive down the uninhibited Goan countryside and you can actually feel the breeze rustle through your hair….

But more unusual is the spirit of the film which supposedly articulates a plea for death but ends up serenading life and love with tenderness and restraint. Ethan may be plagued by his immobility and languishing body, but his eyes dance like a dervish. Despite his desire to die with dignity, there is a liveliness that surrounds him as he interacts with the few people around him: his student, the wanabe magician Omar (Aditya Roy Kapur), his lawyer friend, Devyani (Shernaz Patel), his die hard doctor (Suhel Seth), his mother (Nafisa Ali) and most importantly, his nurse, Sophie (Aishwarya Rai). Even the few flashbacks that the film features showcase him as an ardent lover and an adorable kid, who performs his first magic trick before his mother. Yes, death does hang around like a shroud, but life bristles and bursts through every frame of Guzaarish.

Then again, the film is one of the most unusual love stories of recent times. The relationship between Ethan and Sophie is much more than a patient-nurse bond and brims over with a passion that threatens to burst any moment. So what if almost everything is left unsaid between the two. The eyes — and expressions — say it all. Kudos to Hrithik and Aishwarya to create some of the most romantic moments on screen without resorting to cliche and stereotype.

The performances are uniformly good, with the ensemble cast, specially Shernaz Patel, providing great support to the lead actors. But in the end, it is Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai who leave an indelible impression with their interpretation of two extremely difficult and unconventional characters who do not have the usual props to express grief, joy, pain and passion. If Hrithik uses his eyes as his be-all and end-all, then Aishwarya is a stunning picture of fire and grace, walking away with certain scenes by her sheer vitality. Catch her outburst in the courtroom and her impromptu jig in the restaurant to understand how underutilised she has been in run-of-the-mill cinema. Equally noteworthy is the music score where Sanjay Leela Bhansali debuts as a music director.

A film like Guzaarish isn’t made for the box office. It’s made for the gratification of the senses. And that it does, in ample measure.
“Absolutely worth it” (Mumbaimirror Review)
Let’s get this one straight. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish is inspired by John Badham’s Whose Life is it Anyway (1981) in which Richard Dreyfuss becomes a quadriplegic after he is paralyzed in an auto accident. Guzaarish is also inspired by Alejandro Amenabar’s The Sea Inside (2004) in which a bed-ridden Javier Bardem fights to end his own life with dignity.

Hold on, there’s more. Guzaarish has a shade of Christopher Nolan’s Prestige (2006). But just because you trace the source of the inspiration does it anyway demean SLB’s Guzaarish? It most certainly does not. The film is a masterpiece and it socks you between the eyes like good cinema should.

Guzaarish is the story of Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan), a magician who is paralyzed in a stage accident. Reduced to being a quadriplegic he continues with life as a radio jockey, working out of a huge dilapidated Victorian Mansion in Goa.

After 14 long years of suffering Ethan files a plea for mercy killing. Of course Ethan’s well-wishers forbid him from even thinking of such a drastic measure, but he continues to flirt with the thought of death.

Here one must add that Guzaarish is not a satire or comment on euthanasia. The beauty of the film lies in its ability to throw light on a morbid subject, compelling the viewer to fall back in love with life.

Despite his wish to die, Ethan peddles stories of hope and love. He often talks of sexual fantasies and naked desire. Chained to his chair he has the uncanny gift of freeing others from their personal misery. His nurse Sofiya (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) is his friend, soul-mate and inspiration. His lawyer Devyani (Shernaz Patel) and his doctor Nitin Naik (Suhel Seth) are his punching bags and his parallel support system.

The plot even hints at a triangle revolving around Ethan and the two important women in his life. He even jokes about how his lawyer looks for an excuse to share his bed; and his nurse looks for excuses to changes his pyjamas. According to him both women are sexually drawn to him despite his immobility.

Hrithik Roshan is an emotional powerhouse, using his amber coloured eyes to convey anguish, anger, love and helplessness. In what could be termed his best performance in a decade-long career, Hrithik could well go on to win every award the next season.

Aishwarya looks ravishing and has turned in a befitting performance. If this were to be her swan song, she should have no regrets. Suhel Seth, Nafisa Ali and Shernaz Patel are extremely competent. Aditya Roy Kapur is pleasant on the eye but newcomer Monikangana Dutta, who makes her debut here, has very little screen time.

Sudeep Chatterjee’s cinematography leaves you spell-bound. The dialogue by Bhavani Iyer and Vibhu Puri is pithy and strikes a chord. Sanjay Leela Bhansali is back in top form after his wishy-washy Saawariya. And it may not be incorrect to say that like his lead actor Hrithik, this is his best work to date. However, SLB’s music (he takes a bow as composer with this film) leaves you with mixed feelings.

Only tera zikar hai and udi make a lasting impression. Must confess though that Hrithik’s own rendition of Louis Armstrong’s What a wonderful world gets you humming beneath your breath. And it’s a Hrithik hangover that stays with you long after you have left the theatre.

“Guzaarish is the most extraordinary love story of Bollywood” (ZeeNews Review)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Guzaarish’ is not a film but moving poetry that touches you in manifold ways. ‘Guzaarish’ is the story of Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan), a once successful magician who is left paralysed and bed ridden after a critical accident. Now a quadriplegic, Ethan wants to end his life and opt for euthanasia. However, things get complicated here as Ethan’s loyal nurse Sophie (Aishwarya Rai) can’t imagine a single day without his sight.

Faced with the dilemma of life and death, ‘Guzaarish’ traces the life and times of Ethan Mascarenhas. Starring A-list Bollywood actors like Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, ‘Guzaarish’ has power packed performances by Aditya Roy Kapur, Monikangana Dutta, Suhel Seth, Nafisa Ali and Shernaz Patel. ‘Guzaarish’ is not a film but art – a collage of vibrant hues. Shot in the picturesque locales of Goa, ‘Guzaarish’ makes the whole screen come alive with vivacity.

Even as ‘Guzaarish’ is a plea for death, it beautifully captures the tenderness and beauty of life and love. Ethan might be quadriplegic but his eyes convey everything. Despite his limited interaction, Ethan is surrounded by a bunch of lively people – mother (Nafisa Ali), lawyer friend (Devyani), doctor (Suhel Seth), nurse Sophie (Aishwarya Rai) and an upcoming magician Omar (Aditya Roy Kapoor)

‘Guzaarish’ is the most extraordinary love story of Bollywood which unravels the patient-nurse bond through Ethan and Sophie. Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan light up the silver screen with their sizzling on-screen chemistry, which takes ‘Guzaarish’ to an altogether different level. With ‘Guzaarish’, Aishwarya and Hrithik break the Bollywood mould of stereotypes with their amazing performances that simply leaves you spell bounded. Kudos to Sanjay Leela Bhansali for making such a beautiful picture with equally good music score.

‘Guzaarish’ is once in a lifetime movie. Go and catch the magic this weekend.

“Touching and Magical” (TellyCafe Review)
Watch Guzaarish for reasons more than one. Not only does this Friday release bring back the best onscreen couple of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan, it also brings back Sanjay Leela Bhansali to the forefront after a gap of three years. And with the director comes his trademark grandeur. Yes, Guzaarish will again bring back the splendidly visual sets which have been part of almost every Sanjay Leela Bhansali production.

The film centers on a couple, a quadriplegic magician Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) and his nurse Sofia D’Souza (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and the relationship that they share. Ethan had once been the best magician of his times, but with an unfortunate accident leaving him paralyzed, Ethan has changed professions to being a radio show host, a mouthpiece through which he strives towards spreading love and hope in the lives of his listeners. Sofia on the other hand has been with Ethan, serving and looking after him for the last 14 years of her life. It is when Ethan demands euthanasia (mercy killing to the uninitiated), that the story takes a different turn and introduces emotional conflicts in the lives of the characters in Guzaarish. Shernaz Patel plays Ethan’s lawyer and Aditya Roy Kapoor a young man who wants to learn a few tricks from Ethan.

This is undoubtedly one of the best performances that Hrithik Roshan has delivered in the recent past. The pain that Ethan experiences and the hope which keeps him alive comes alive in Hrithik’s expressions. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan on the other hand not only looks wonderful but puts up a very subtle act as Sofia, the girl who is trapped with Ethan and who is also living the life of a cripple.

Nobody was unaware of the musical genius in Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Guzaarish only proves that he is not only a good director but a lovely musician as well, with Udi Udi expected to top music charts.

All encompassed, Guzaarish is a must watch. Though the second half deals with a very sensitive issue like mercy killing and may sometimes appear to drag, it is also quick to grip the audience’s attention with superb performances and a grand visual treat.

“Film festival feast” (Greatandhra Review)
The colorful movie maker Sanjay Bhansali has come back with a new treat and this time, he has roped in the golden pair of Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Bachchan.

Story
Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik) is a world renowned magician but since 14 years, he is a surviving quadriplegic who has become a role model for many. He is aided by his loyal nurse Sophia (Aishwarya) at all times. The story takes a turn when Ethan decides to file a petition in the court requesting euthanasia (mercy killing). He is helped by his good friend Devjani Dutta (Shernaz) In the midst comes the young and enthusiastic Omar (Aditya) who wants to learn magic from Ethan. The legal battle begins for Ethan to decide about his death but will the system approve what he wants? Is there a struggle in living this life? all this forms the rest of the story.

Performances
Hrithik Roshan has come up with yet another riveting performance and he infuses life into the character with his effectiveness. His dialogue delivery and the dance moves were impressive and entertaining.

Aishwarya plays a graceful role this time and though her character is subdued she shows her power in few critical sequences and makes her presence felt strongly. Despite doing a non-glamorous role, her natural beauty and appeal was radiating.

Shernaz Patel is a revelation and one really wonders why she doesn’t take up more projects. She is a face in the crowd but a truly natural performer.

Aditya Roy was fresh and showed enough confidence despite the presence of big stars. He has the cool dude looks and has got potential in his act.

Monikongana Dutta was a vision of beauty but given the hype about her presence in the film, it was not meant to be so as she was there for barely five minutes.

Rajat Kapoor was excellent, Nafisa Ali was neat, Suhel was convincing, Makrand Deshpande made his presence felt. The others contributed in their own way.

Analysis
It appears that the top league Bollywood stars have followed a new trend. Amitabh went schizophrenic and a victim of Progeria, Aamir Khan became a victim of short term memory loss, Hrithik also did a bit in his super hit movie ‘Koi Mil Gaya’, SRK became a Asperger Syndrome patient. Whether it is the challenge for performance or a new method to attract the crowds, the concept seems to be working but with a select appeal.

Coming to this film, this is meant for the mature crowds and the arthouse audience who believe in realities of life. The strength of the film lies in some exceptionally crafted scenes, captivating performances, mesmerizing technical effects and the melodious background score. There were competent performances from each character and though there is tragic side to it, the will to fight for a right and the commitments shown by each person is inspiring. These are the days of treachery, villainy, backstabbing etc. But to show a deep rooted understanding of a relationship is the master stroke.

At the box office, this may not be a commercial super hit but then it will surely touch the hearts of audience who wish to understand a person’s internal conflict.

Bottomline: Recommended for mature audience not for formula folks.

“Undeniable Wonder By Sanjay Leela Bhansali” (Thaindian Review)
Guzaarish is yet another magical representation of stories by filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The trailers of the movie have dismayed many Hrithik Roshan fans when they saw him sitting on a wheel chair as no one wants to see their superstar like that. But Bhansali has kept the mystery a secret till you catch a show of the flick which has released today at a theater near you.Here, you will see the magician Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) whipping his magical wand while utilizing his amazing dancing steps.

Bhansali has made use of both the acting as well as dancing talent of the lead actors of the film, Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. Apart his signatory grand sets and music, Bhansali has presented the story with a deep emotional touch. You will cry with Ethan, who remains locked inside his grand palace in Goa for fourteen long years following the failure of one of his magic trick. Following the incident, Ethan turns quadriplegic and loses interest in life but at the same time he runs a radio show called ‘radio zindagi’.

With the years of experience, the magical chemistry between Hrithik and Aishwarya has strengthened and that will be reflected in the emotional as well as romantic and funny scenes of the movie. Unlike, the usual life nurses, the beauty queen, who plays nurse to Ethan, will be seen on a floor length skirt. The color combination of the costumes gives a different and unique touch along with the wonderful music given by the director himself.

Expected the unexpected from the Sawariyaa maker and have an out of the world feeling watching Guzaarish this weekend. Shernaz Patel as the lawyer friend of Hrithik’s character, justifies her part and Rajat Kapoor as the opposing advocate, gives the same kind of performance to match her. On behalf of her client, Patel’s character asks ‘euthanasia’ for her client Ethan.

You need to watch the movie to get the answer if he gets positive from the court or Sophia becomes able to grow his interest in life. It will be a nice break from the typical romantic or action genres at this weekend.

“It’s the message of the film that wins you over” (Apunkachoice Review)
Savagely aesthetic, at times magical, at times pretentiously arty, and generously littered with melodrama that tugs at your heart one moment and cloys your senses the next, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest creation Guzaarish is a movie not to be missed for its visual splendour and a jaw dropping performance by Hrithik Roshan.

The aesthete and auteur in Bhansali levitates to a new high in this genre-defying piece of cinema that is clearly inspired by more than one foreign film, not excluding the Oscar-winning Spanish film The Sea Inside and Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige. But credit to Bhansali, who, for all the inspiration, still makes Guzaarish his own with his peculiar brand of theatricality (for which he’s often bum-rapped), uncompromising approach and a lot of heart and soul, not to forget the poignant tunes which he himself has composed.

The film tells the story of Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik), a bed-ridden, wheelchair-bound quadriplegic who used to be a magician once but has spent the last 14 years of his life as a breathing vegetable confined within the musty walls of a run-down villa somewhere in the rain-soaked Goa. Sophia, (Aishwarya Rai) his nurse for 12 years, bathes him, feeds him, brushes his teeth, scratches his nose when he’s itchy, and also bears his tantrums. Ethan’s only connect with the outside world is his radio show ‘Hello Zindagi’ which he jockeys.

Ironically, the man who tells others to embrace life seeks to end his own. He fights a legal case to be allowed euthanasia, or mercy killing, to end his long suffering. Ironically again, the people who stand beside him willy-nilly in this struggle are the ones who love him the most – his lawyer friend Devyani (Shernaz Patel), his doctor (Suhel Seth), his apprentice (Aditya Roy Kapoor), his mother (Nafisa Ali), his former lover and assistant (Monikangana Dutta) and, last but not the least, Sophia, whom Ethan regards as “more than a friend, lover and even wife”.

But the question is – will the court go against the constitution and grant Ethan his wish, his guzaarish?

Viewers may use a little psyching up before sauntering into a screening of Guzaarish. Bhansali’s fascination for dark colour tones isn’t unknown since his award-sweeping Black and the blue-shaded Saawariya which was an absolute clunker. Guzaarish, with excellent cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee, carries forward Bhansali’s penchant with the nocturnal hues. The story unspools at a sluggish pace and often streams into tear-jerking episodes and flashbacks as the protagonist’s life as a magician extraordinaire is etched out.

For the most part, Bhansali retains a firm control over the narrative, but seems to go overboard in a few sequences, like the courtroom arguments and the group hug in the climax which turns out to be unintentionally comic. These warts are all but compensated for by the awesomely shot magic sequences.

More than the director, it’s Hrithik Roshan who steals the show with his humdinger of a performance. Solely through his facial expressions, eyes, and voice modulations, Hrithik brings to life the character of a self-mocking, life-embracing, death-seeking character who’s exuberant one moment and depressed the next. It would be pity if Hrithik doesn’t sweep the best actor trophies in the award season early next year. Aishwarya Rai, looking stunning in low-neck costumes that are no doubt incongruous with her character of a nurse, is in form once again. Shernaz Patel goes overboard in a few scenes and so does Suhel Seth. Aditya Roy Kapoor, the guy with a frizzy mop on his head, performs well. Monikangana is there for only two scenes.

Summing it up, Guzaarish, despite its warts, could be the best film of 2010. More than its awesome visuals, it’s the message of the film that wins you over. In pursuing his own death, the film’s hero teaches us a few things about life itself: “live fully, forgive quickly and kiss slowly”. It is Bhansali’s toast to life. Grab it. Lip it. Neck it. Be drunk with it.

“An Elevating Amalgamation Of Undying Positivity And Unspeakable Grief” (TellyCafe – 2nd Review)
The Hindi film industry is currently in a phase in which laudable directors/writers are concentrating on mental inconsistencies and physical deformities that plague unfortunate individuals. Sensitive films such as ‘Paa’, which demonstrated the legendary Amitabh Bachchan’s character named Auro suffering from progeria; ‘My Name Is Khan’, which depicted the superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s character being plagued by the Asperger Syndrome and ‘Kartik Calling Kartik’, which portrayed the multitalented Farhan Akhtar’s character being troubled by schizophrenia, come to the mind. Of course, there have been sensible and moving films such as ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘Black’ as well, which have dealt with dyslexia and Alzheimer’s.

‘Guzaarish’ is another addition to this list, with the ace director, Sanjay Bhansali, delving into the physical ailment named ‘Paraplegia’, which debilitates the protagonist’s (Hrithik Roshan’s) character, Ethan Mascarenhas, who is a renowned magician. Ethan has to endure an absolute paralysis of the lower part of his body, which includes his legs, as a result of severe damage to his spinal cord during one of his magical renditions. Ethan, who loses the determination to live contentedly due to this disorder, is nursed back to vivaciousness and optimism by his nurse named Sophia (Aishwarya Rai).

It is quite evident that Bhansali has devoted every ounce of devotion in his mind to create this intelligent and touching film, which is bereft of the glitziness and lavishness of the architecture of his previous films such as Devdas and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. But the paucity of glossiness and richness in the sets in this latest venture is compensated by the heartbreaking yet inspirational progression of the film, which is revealed via a sequence of flashbacks.

The film, positioned in Goa, depicts Ethan, in his handicapped condition, hosting a program on ‘Radio Zindagi’, a FM station. Ethan’s program has an uplifting tone, which illustrates the wonderfulness of hope, positivity and brightness in individual lives, and that such messages emanate from Ethan make them all the more important and elevating as Ethan has been victimized by a spinal debilitation for the last 14 years of his life.

The film deals with the issue of euthanasia as Ethan yearns to terminate his existence with his self-respect intact, for which he launches a plea for mercy killing in the court. Only a director, with significant knowledge of human emotions, could have tackled as complex and divisive a subject as euthanasia. Some of the scenes in the film that are outstanding and that are the generators of tears are the moments in the courthouse mixed with Sophia’s outpouring of emotions in the end, the magical mishap that nearly slaughters Ethan but leaves him paralyzed and the finale. Sophia and Ethan admire each other, with their unvoiced love exhibiting sophistication and decency that is reminiscent of an earlier era.

The film has a sizable number of English dialogues, which may position impediments in the path of this film, preventing it from becoming a comprehensively embraced film. Nevertheless, it is worthy of appreciation for several reasons, one of which is the soulful and lilting music of the film, created by Bhansali, which displays his dedication towards this project. ‘Udi’ and ‘Sau Gram Zindagi’ are two songs that will gradually seep into the viewers’ minds and become a part of it due to their musical excellence and poetic personality. The dialogues of Bhavani Iyer and Vibhu Puri befriend your heart and make you feel like taking a stand on mercy killing. The cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is breathtaking, with spectacular images of Goa and visuals that will fascinate the thinking viewers.

Sophia and Ethan, completely devoid of glamorousness and showiness, with Ethan in a thick beard, make the film realistic and associate the viewers’ hearts with them. There is a colossal degree of respectability and self-respect attached to their characters by Aishwarya and Hrithik. Hrithik needs to be lauded for courageously embracing this character, which can be quite risky, as the audience is used to seeing Hindi heroes in a handsomer and dashing condition, who magnetize female attention better than a magnetic substance. He has bequeathed grace and poise to Ethan with a splendid enactment of Ethan’s joyfulness, naughtiness, lugubriousness and hopefulness. Sophia’s character has been enacted awesomely by Aishwarya with oodles of gracefulness and classy sensuousness that never becomes uncouth. Aditya Roy Kapoor, as the aspirant magician named Omar, is likable, while Nafisa Ali, as Hrithik’s Mom, who endorses his yearning for euthanasia, is poignant.

Guzaarish is, on the whole, an excellent creation that is unlike other crass Hindi films, with its likability undeniably enhanced by the sophisticated chemistry between Sophia and Ethan. Bhansali has engendered a film that talks about human emotions and tribulations and how one must try to live and die with one’s self-esteem intact. It can be watched. For sure!

“Emotional, moody and larger-than-life” (Filmfare Review)
When Kate Winslet missed the Oscar by a whisker for the nth time, English actor Ricky Gervais said to her, “You now need a holocaust movie.” Which came in the form of The Reader and it finally won her the Oscar. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, like Winslet, has turned to the formula that won him the most accolades — a handicapped person who overcomes the odds. He did so before with Khamoshi and Black and succeeded.

In Guzaarish (Evidently inspired from The Sea Inside, My Left Foot and Whose Life Is It Anyways) there is a twist though. Ethan Mascarenhas doesn’t want to overcome his odds anymore. He wants to die. Life as a quadriplegic for 12 long years has taught him that sometimes it is as important to give up on life as it is to hold on to it. His nurse Sophiya has been with him for years and Aishwarya Rai brings a sort of impossible beauty to this character that lingers on after the lights come on. Should Ethan be allowed to die simply because he doesn’t want to live anymore? And are the moral codes the world follows of any relevance to him?

Guzaarish is unabashedly Sanjay Leela Bhansali. In a film where life itself is the villain everything is larger than life, no surprise there. The house is grand, the characters even more so, the laughter is magnificent, the pain operatic and the treatment of all of the above is colossal in a deafening, attention seeking way that leaves no room for subtext or imagination. That said, the film has some beautiful moments that stay with you and these moments alone make the film worth a watch.

Hrithik is impressive as Ethan. We just don’t want to see him bound to a wheelchair that’s all. Every time there is a flashback scene, which harks back to his magician extraordinaire moments, you want to hold on it for dear life. He plays Ethan without a trace of self pity and his cockiness and cynicism is never negative, it’s only designed to make you love him and feel for him. Only… you don’t after a point. You never really get inside Ethan’s head beyond a certain level and remain disconnected with him throughout the film. You feel his unspoken love for Sophiya and her brusque yet deep chemistry with him. But he looks too glowing and perfect for someone who has trouble breathing, whose lungs, liver and kidneys are deteriorating. And he gives into the temptation of veering into hamming on a number of occasions but then when you are not allowed to use anything else but your face; maybe, just maybe, it’s excusable.

Aishwarya Rai is a revelation, not once veering towards the coquettishness she seems to always be brimming with. If you ignore the garish red lipstick she unflinchingly sports, that is. She plays Sophiya in an unforgettable no nonsense fashion. Aditya Roy Kapoor who plays young Omar eager to take over Ethan’s legacy is a natural and a delight. Monikangna Dutta doesn’t even have a blink and you miss it role. It’s that miniscule.

Guzaarish works on many levels and fails on many as well. The film’s need to stay rooted in its wild poetic personality comes in the way of actually tugging at your emotions. In a film that highlights how imperfect and cruel life can be, everything is unfailingly perfect. Even Hrithik’s hair and eyebrows. The courtroom scenes are clumsy and some of the characters are very poorly etched out and badly grafted on to the screenplay like Ethan’s old rival and Sophiya’s husband. The sets are highly reminiscent of Black and sometimes Saawariya and at times each frame is claustrophobic in its perfection. Especially in scenes where you just want the characters to do their thing instead of looking like they belong in an oil painting that will make you stop, look and admire.

The essence of Guzaarish is rich and overwhelming. If SLB was furiously planning a comeback of sorts, let’s say he has succeeded. But if he is expecting the audience to come out weeping uncontrollably, he may be a tad disappointed. Guzaarish is not the storm he may have intended it to be, but it is that little spell of rain that invades your life for a bit. But just for that bit…

“Guzaarish is a case well presented. And it is a delight to watch for the superb performances” (Nowrunning Review)
Often a person fights more valiantly when he is fighting with his back to the wall. And that’s precisely the position where Sanjay Leela Bhansali was pushed to post Saawariya. And looks like he fought his best battle too! Bhansali admitted that he had gone into depression after the rejection meted to his last film and he sat inside his room for three months looking at a tree outside his window. Some good seeds certainly got planted as Bhansali strikes back with a not so simple Guzaarish.

Guzaarish is about a quadriplegic. It is about once upon a time world’s best magician, but now bedridden for past 14years after a serious accident on stage. Throughout these years he has tried living a good life and inspired many to live their lives the best way they can. And yet as he finds out that he is running out of time with organ failures, he desires to die before getting dependent on machines for his heart beats too. The film goes in flashbacks to show the grand applause he gathered every time on stage and his belief in bringing smiles to people.

The theme is not at all simple. Euthanasia has long been argued and discussed but never has it been shown on Indian screens. Of course there are similarities that can be drawn with films that have been made abroad on the same topic. Some names like English drama ‘Whose Life is it Anyway’ (1981) and the Spanish film ‘The Sea Inside’ (2004) crop up. Plus the director makes the characters look very non-Indian. The clothes worn by the lead are very classical European. The argument may be that he is showing Portuguese descent in Goa, but there is a certain Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapur) whose name definitely does not sound of the same line of descent and yet dressed in similar fashion.

Bhansali does well in keeping his characters very interesting and gives them excellent dialogues – a forte of his. The dialogues however also alienate the film from a large part of India audience considering the film has very liberal use of English. The screenplay has good pace. In fact after a long time I didn’t look at my watch a single time before Interval to know when the break would be. The interval in fact came as a surprise and leaves one wishing for the second half to start early. It does and gets done with fast too.

The pace, apart from the screenplay, is also helped by some remarkable performances. Hrithik is bedridden for most part of the film but that does not stop him from dominating the screen whenever he is around. He outdoes himself as an actor and is a sheer delight. Aishwarya Rai pitches in with a powerful performance too. A couple of scenes – one in the court as she argues with the judge and one when she gets playful with Hrithik strike you. And of course Bhansali makes her look best that she ever does! Aditya Roy Kapur brings in brightness – something he did in his last film Action Replayy too. But the character somehow is similar and he needs to explore other characters too. Shernaz Patel and Rajit Kapoor pitch in with impactful performances as lawyers – fight for and against – the quadriplegic patient.

Overall, Guzaarish is a case well presented. There is an attempt to draw a safe line hence as the director tries not going against the code of law as he presents the case. It is a delight to watch for the superb performances. And last but not the least, every shot of this film is postcard material. So if nothing else, you will just fall in love with the beauty on screen!

“Two Magical!” (Movietalkies Review)
Savour some magic cinematically. And quite first rate at that. Sanjay Leela Bhansali may have been inspired by ‘The Sea Inside’, a 2004 movie starring Javier Bardem, but that takes away nothing from his ‘Guzaarish’. It is an exquisite piece of cinema, the images of which linger in one’s mind long after the movie is over. The Bhansali touch is all over the movie and one senses a timeless and ageless quality about the movie, set as it is in a dilapidated Victorian manor somewhere in Goa. But that is just a part of the ambience.

The blazing fire in Hrithik Roshan’s eyes as the quadriplegic protagonist, Ethan Mascarenhas is another strong, lingering image from the movie. In all, with this movie, Bhansali seems to have set to rest the ghosts of a failed ‘Saawariya’. He can rightfully bask in the glory of this ‘Guzaarish’.

‘Guzaarish’ is the story of Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik), a magician, who has been reduced to living the life of a quadriplegic due to a freak accident 14 years ago. Chained to his lonely manor, he nevertheless continues to live out a life full of hope, courage and a sense of humour, all thanks to his nurse cum caretaker cum friend, Sofia D’Souza (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), his best friend and lawyer Devyani Dutta (Shernaz Patel), and his doctor, Nitin Naik (Suhel Seth).

He has his own radio station, from where he continues to dole out hope to millions. But after 14 years of suffering, he cannot take it anymore and decides to file a plea for mercy killing or euthanasia. He manages to persuade Devyani to file the petition for him, but Sofia is not able to accept the fact that one day, her beloved patient would no longer be around.

He is as much her source of emotional sustenance, as she is his. Despite opposition from all sides, Ethan is set on the idea of ending it all. Into this little world of Ethan, Sophia, Naik and Devyani, comes Omar Siddique, a young wannabe magician, who wants to learn Ethan’s magical tricks.

Despite the fact that the film talks of euthanasis, at no point in the narrative does it ever become morbid. On the contrary, the film seems to make a plea about loving and living. Even Ethan, who is paralysed and cannot even move a finger, is constantly giving hope to others. The final scene, when he finally decides to take the plunge with the help of Sofia, has a celebratory mood, tinged with just that right amount of sadness, as one would feel at the departure of a friend.

That Hrithik is a powerhouse of talent is a known and accepted fact. But the actor seems to transcend all boundaries as he gets into the skin of Ethan’s character of a quadriplegic, looks and acts the part to perfection. As the angst ridden Ethan, he has the task of conveying everything with his eyes and he does it marvellously, as every emotion, be it helplessness, despair, joy, anger or love is portrayed vividly by him. It is certainly to date one of Hrithik’s toughest roles and one can hardly imagine any other actor carrying it off with so much flair and seeming ease. ‘Guzaarish would certainly count as being among his best performance to date.

He is brilliantly supported by Ash, who has a pretty challenging role on her hands as well. Theirs, Ethan and Sofia’s love story, is hardly conventional and it would certainly not have been an easy role to essay. But Ash carries it off with aplomb, balancing the strength and vulnerability of Sofia’s character brilliantly.

The supporting cast of Shernaz Patel, Suhel Seth and Nafisa Ali (Ethan’s mother) are equally creditable. Model Monikangana Dutta makes too brief an appearance to make much of an impression.

The only discordant note is sounded by Aditya Roy Kapoor as Omar. Somehow his character never seems to fit into Ethan’s world, or maybe the problem lies with the manner in which the role is portrayed. In either case, this is a disappointing outing for Aditya, who had made quite an impression with his last release, ‘Action Replayy’.

The film has been shot exquisitely there is really no other word to describe cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee’s work in this movie. ‘Guzaarish’ sees a flawless blending of technique with content. Its languorous pace denoting how time has stopped still in the mansion, for Ethan. The dialogues by Vibhu Puri and Bhavani Iyer are natural and economical, yet managing to convey a world of thoughts and ideas.

The film’s music by Bhansali is perfectly married into the form and content of the movie too. Except probably for ‘udi’, none of the others are truly full blown songs, but more like ruminations and reminences by the character, especially Kunal Ganjawala’s ‘sau gram zindagi’. The parts of the film dealing with Ethan in his days as a magician are quite thrilling to watch.

In all, ‘Guzaarish’ remains with you a magical experience created by Bhansali. Hats off to him!

“Hrithik-Aishwarya partnership continues its success” (Anutshell Review)
I don’t speak Hindi nor will admit to understand it beyond a smattering of words I picked up here and there, and the first time I heard the word “Guzaarish” was actually in A.R Murugadoss’ film Ghajini in 2008 starring Aamir Khan, where a song number was titled the same way, and one of the more beautiful songs in the film written by A.R. Rahman and sung by Javed Ali. And yes I am digressing because this has absolutely nothing to do with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film, which he wrote, directed and even had a hand in creating the songs in Guzaarish his latest film.

The casting of Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is something that may set tongues wagging especially when tabloid hype enjoys focusing on the much touted sex scene here, which turned out to be nothing more than a tit-for-tat prank played by one against the other character who turned the tables. But you have to admit that both of them have this excellent magnetic chemistry they share when they grace the screen together, from Dhoom 2 to Ashutosh Gowariker’s sprawling period epic Jodhaa Akbar, and their roles in Guzaarish is no less in delivering the impact required when the focus also hinges on the moral controversies behind euthanasia, or mercy killing.

Hrithik Roshan plays Ethan Mascarenhas, a top magician who because of an accident while performing an illusion, got paralysed from the neck down, leaving him immobile, and under the tender loving care of his nurse Mrs Sofia De Souza (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) for the last 12 of his 14 years as a quadriplegic. The film opens in most gorgeous terms of how his caretaker goes about her duty, forsaking youth, marriage and relatives, in order to do her best to nurse a man she and everyone knows only can get better if a miracle happens. We see how she prepares him for the day, the cleansing, and his routine of going about his second career as one of the best radio DJs in Goa, However, deciding enough is enough, Ethan summons his best friend and lawyer Devyani Dutta (Shernaz Patel), and tells her to file a petition against the Indian Constitution to allow him to end his life.

Hrithik Roshan didn’t have much luck at the box office with Kites earlier this year (curiously some attested to Kites containing a lot of English which turned the local Indian audiences off, but this film also featured a fair bit of dialogue in the English language), but I still reckon that he’s an actor of his generation to look out for. Ethan Mascarenhas is perhaps his most challenging role to date, as we know Hrithik for his physicality and his gracefulness in dance, but his obvious character condition here limits the former as we see how slight his frame is, clearly allowing his built to be slimmed down to portray the role more convincingly as a man whose muscles are wasted through inaction and atrophy. As for the prerequisite dances, the film allowed some moments in flashbacks where he shows off some graceful moves as a magician with a class act in presentation and packaging his brand of magic, further cementing Hrithik’s reputation as one of the heroes of Bollywood who can actually dance.

But what he aced in his role is how he convincingly portrays his immobility, relying very much on his facial expressions to bring across a wide spectrum of emotions. There’s an added air of eccentricity and mood swings as expected of a man who gets handed lemons by Fate, so what best than to try and make lemonade from the situation, sharpening his wits in the process, since quick fire repertoire is something he can do, other times the scenarios constantly remind him how helpless he is without his caretaker by his side, and Hrithik shows this vulnerable side of him best. Not only that, Hrithik Roshan too lends his vocals to What a Wonderful World, which will probably delight his legion of fans.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan also has Guzaarish to thank in bringing out her best performance for this year, peppered by films such as Raavan, Endhiran and Action Replayy. While Endhiran was essentially Superstar Rajnikanth’s starrer and didn’t really challenge Aishwarya with the role she had to play, Raavan and Action Replayy were roles that were pushing those boundaries but the box office responses didn’t quite match to expectations. I’ll put my hand up to say she’s back at her best as Sofia De Souza, the nurse who makes tremendous sacrifices in order to ease the suffering of Ethan, who got taken aback by his decision that will of course mean an end to her services and that notion of being emotionally slighted. There’s always a touch of tenderness in her care of her patient, and that romantic tension constantly underneath.

Sofia De Souza is typically prim and proper, and has a rather curious, lush wardrobe for a nurse – a point brought up later on by the public prosecutor Vipin Patel (Rajit Kapoor), though Aishwarya provided that tell tale spunk in Sofia with her (also much talked about) experiment with the cigarette, and the letting of her hair down in the song number Udi, sung by Sunidhi Chauhan and Shaul Hada, which stands out as one of my favourites in the film for that unmistakable Spanish influence. Joining her in the film is fellow Action Replayy alumni and Bollywood rookie Aditya Roy Kapoor (lucky him, to have made two debut films side by side with Aishwarya) whose Omar Siddique aspires to be Ethan’s protege, and goes to great lengths to being accepted and inevitably becoming a part of the extended family, which includes Ethan’s mom Isabel (Nafisa Ali) and Dr Nayak (Suhei Seth).

But the real hero of the production, has got to be writer director Sanjay Leela Bhansali, who has bounced back from what many thought was a disappointment with Saawariya (which I begged to differ), weaving such a beautiful, sensitive tale without relying on melodrama or sensationalizing its main topic of Euthanasia. Flashbacks are used to effectively tell of Ethan’s entire backstory leading up to and including a cringe inducing accident scene, and the pacing well done with the non-intrusive use of musical numbers to add to the narrative, without feeling forced. Bhansali has a keen eye to exploit the beautiful sets and through wonderful framing, light and shadow play, elevated Guzaarish into a film that’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

As the adage goes, it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to seek permission, and the main crux of the plot deals with Ethan and friends trying to push through the legal system to allow him to die at his own will. If there’s a blip in the film it will be the treatment of the courtroom scenes, which was necessary to allow Ethan outside the confines of his physical prison, but addressed issues more so on the surface and rarely scratched the content deep down. It piques your interest to evaluate circumstances if you were to put yourself in Ethan’s shoes, but rarely goes beyond that fleeting thought in the mind.

But as mentioned, at least it didn’t degenerate into over the top silliness, keeping itself in check most of the time in seriousness, and allowing the top notch performances to continue to engage, with a number of side characters appearing to reinforce certain aspects of Ethan’s life and add an expanded dimension to a man unfortunately cut down at his prime. It reminds us again to live life for what it is and to appreciate it to the max, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali has this beautifully crafted film to tell us just that. Highly recommended, and it goes into my shortlist as a possible addition amongst the best this year has to offer. It looks like the Hrithik-Aishwarya partnership continues its success.

“Guzaarish is easily the best film of Bhansali, and the best film of the year so far” (Planet Bollywood Review)
Hrithik Roshan. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Three powerhouse names in a single film, and the potential viewer has nothing but the universe to expect for the film. And yet, there will be some skeptics who have lost faith in Bhansali a la Saawariya. The questions that now remain on the mind are: Does Guzaarish score? Has Bhansali made a gem? Do Hrithik and Aishwarya get it right again with their chemistry?

Set in Goa, Guzaarish traces the lives of a paraplegic Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan), once a famed magician who lost his ability to feel or work with anything below his neck level. He is now a radio show host of the program Radio Zindagi – a show that speaks about life and living it to the fullest – in an unknown radio station, and is taken care of by his nurse, Sofia D’Souza (Aishwarya Rai), who shares a strong but silent bond with him. One fine day, he calls his lawyer friend, Devyani Dutta (Shernaz Patel) and asks her to file a petition in the court for his own death, leaving Devyani and Sofia stunned. In this time, an eager magician, Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor), comes into his life to learn magic – and it is here that Ethan decides to hand over his entire knowedge to him. Slowly, he learns to live, to absorb and to love… all in more ways than one!

Now we all know that Bhansali films are unique in their own, regardless of how good or bad the box office collections or critical reactions may be may be. While Khamoshi is still the standpoint of his career, the only film in which he has given a glimmer of hope to see more of the filmmaker’s potential was in Black. And when Saawariya released, most felt the hope was diminished, as though it was made on a large scale, the movie was slow, and the screenplay of the story lacked punch to attract a universal crowd; hence the extremely mixed buzz for Guzaarish. In fact, many people stated that the promos and trailers of Guzaarish had a certain déjà vu from Saawariya.

Guzaarish is not only different from Saawariya; in fact, here, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has finally outdone Khamoshi and has given us a moving storyline with an equally sensational screenplay (Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Bhavani Iyer), having fantastic dialogues (Vibhu Puri, Bhavani Iyer) that will sting your mind long after the movie’s over. Post Black and Saawariya, we already know that Bhansali is a fan of the bluish color tone, and here too, though it hasn’t been added in dollops, there’s just the right amount of it with subtlety all over it. Even if there’s so much pain and tragedy in display in the lives of the protagonists, each frame looks picturesque; thereby forming an ironical correlation between pulchritude and desolation.

Production design and styling of the characters give the movie and the protagonists an old-world feel. Sudeep Chatterjee’s cinematography captures each frame with a hauntingly dark aesthetic that will not just seduce the viewer, but arouse a lot of curiosity in one’s mind concerning the lives and the incidents of the protagonists.

Tubby and Parik’s background score is absolutely breathtaking, and one of the best since Love Aaj Kal. The score is something not to be listened, but to be experienced deep within while watching the film. Camerawork is smooth and consistent throughout, keeping the overall pace uniform. Hemal Kothari’s edit is excellent. Music by the auteur, Bhansali, himself, is terrific, and the visuals totally support the lyrics and the compositions.

Moving on to the performances, Hrithik Roshan is the showstealer. Here he takes the whole movie forward with the varied emotions he exhibits, whether it’s the awkward laugh, or the tears when he cries hearing the voice of his muse Estelle after fourteen long years. His aggressiveness and the way he reacts like an excited 10-year old while touching upon matters of sexual arousal.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan gets back at her detractors like a raging tigress after the failure of Raavan, and performs stupendously. She impresses with her absolutely restrained performance, her aura and her overall controlled self. She plays the part of the nurse more like she is the nurse. The chemistry they both display, as usual, is phenomenal. Each scene they’ve shared with each other has a certain uniqueness of intensity attached to it.

Aditya Roy Kapoor shines. He’s already proved himself in London Dreams and Action Replayy, and he’s continuing to do so in his own inimitable style. This guy’s got a lot of potential. Shernaz Patel is a natural. Nafisa Ali charms, even though it is in a small role. Ash Chandler enacts his part efficiently. Others are laudable.

Overall, I’ll have to say that never since Khamoshi, have I seen something Bhansali has done better till Guzaarish came along. Guzaarish is easily the best film of Bhansali, and the best film of the year so far. In a year where we’ve seen a lot of masala moneymakers, the audience has always thirsted for something far different and meaningful. Guzaarish is not just those, it’s THE actual, genuine, bona fide deal. It’s food for the mind and the soul. It’s relish for each of the body’s senses. It’s well-worth the big screen experience, and is to be appreciated in a whole new way!

“Magical” (Planet Bollywood 2nd Review)
Back in 1994 when he picturized “Kuch Naa Kaho” in Vinod Chopra’s 1942: A Love Story, Sanjay Leela Bhansali showed a preference for a lit set, surreal staging and attention to seemingly small but lingering details. With each subsequent film these traits have percolated into the heady, rich concoction that characterises the director’s present style. Guzaarish (The Request) is a story of suffering tempered by love which receives poetical treatment visually, musically and choreographically. Like quite a few other Bollywood films about death – among them Kal Ho Naa Ho (2002) and Anand (1971)- this film makes a point of affirming life.

It may seem odd to commence a review with focus on choreography but it was a highlight and demonstrates the perfect fusion of the right casting choice with choreography, music (composed by Bhansali himself) and narrative. Gone is the idea of the choreographic ‘one-size-fits-all’ with dancers in lines, grinding their way through Bolly-moves which have rightly found their way into gym fitness programs, We see dance as an expressive art in the context of a fantasy, visualised by a crippled magician whose spirit is very much alive.

Three choreographers are credited for the film – Ashley Lobo, Longines Fernandes and Pony Verma. The solo performance, which is the substance of the song “Jaane Kiske Khwaab”, has Roshan dancing with a large translucent globe in contemporary dance style. The sequence is short – before wire work and special effects kick in – but it is like Kelly’s “Singing in the Rain” (1952) moment in that Roshan’s body is ‘singing‘. His side collapses onto the globe and the subsequent reclining posture is beautifully executed and such a simple but stunning metaphor for complete surrender to one’s art. Bhansali has dedicated this film to the talents of Jaidevji and Lataji and giving form to music/song is where it excels.

Magical acts constitute powerful flashbacks that magnify aspects of the magician’s persona. There is joy, liberation, spirituality and great passion in them. The song “Tera Zikr” has in it the stylised sexuality evident in “More Piya” – Devdas (2002). The blood, eroticism seemingly part of the illusion sheds light on the ‘real-life’ physical/emotional relationship between the magician (Ethan) and his then assistant.

Another choreographic high manifests when Sophia (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) takes her crippled charge into a club to raise his spirits after a harrowing session in court where he has been attempting to gain approval for euthanasia. Firstly Aishwarya’s enigmatic look (created by Sabyasachi Mukherjee) is beautifully in keeping with the detailed layered quality of the other visuals. In the scene she wears flamenco favourites – red and black, including dark red lipstick. A heavy scarf covers her head obscuring the decorative, red rose in her hair. The song “Uddi” has Sophia showing a surprisingly vibrant side to her character so light flamenco moves in the style of rumbas or bulerias have been fused with popular Indian dance moves. Again the choreography is not merely decorative but designed to reflect the character and situation. Aishwarya performs the dance in its nuanced glory keeping it true to the rather eccentric character being portrayed.

Guzaarish is not really an issues film despite superficial appearances. Yes, we are presented with court scenes, lobby groups and media coverage of Ethan’s case but it’s all secondary to the deeper layer which delves into the nature of artistic endeavour, its connection to the soul and its capacity to ‘elevate’ and immortalise human experience. Saawariya (2007) too worked with these idea but the absence of a tangible storyline made viewers feel as of they were observing events through frosted glass. Guzaarish similarly posits that an artist lives through his art, is ennobled by it as if in love, leaving his imprint so there is collective memory of his work.

The film is a tad slow in its wind-up but maintains curiosity through items of withheld information and its stunning visuals. There is perhaps a little too much emphasis on the similarities between Christ and Ethan which opens out a different reading of the film – one which I personally find a little bewildering. Performances are strong throughout with Aditya Roy Kapur and Shernaz Patel in noteworthy supporting roles.

When it ‘snows’ in Guzaarish as it does in Saawariya and Black (2005) before it, there is a sense that the protagonist is in a state of bliss irrespective of time or place – a state which is directly attributable to love. Love and art are synonymous in this tribute to two Bollywood greats.

“Dying to Live” (Thesundayindian Review)
It is said actions speak louder than words. If one were to look at Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s body of work, “Khamoshi,” his first film, had a deaf and mute couple among the lead players and in his “Black” he went a step further and made the main protagonist blind. All these characters relied on just actions and never had the benefit of words to express themselves. With “Guzaarish” he does a complete U-turn with the character of Ethan Mascarenhas.

Ethan, once a great magician, is confined to bed for the last 14 years due to a tragic accident that cripples him for life. He continues to remain in public memory through his radio show which talks of positivity and hope. Sophia, his dutiful nurse, takes care of his every need. The story takes off when Ethan expresses his wish to end his life legally. The frustrations and the spirit with which he deals with his condition and the way people dear to him and society react to his strange Guzaarish (request) are what the movie deals with primarily.

Talking of performances, if the only means one had to express himself was just the face and nothing else, chances are one would run out of expressions in a matter of seconds. Imagine doing the same thing over the span of more than two hours and you will see why Hrithik Roshan deserves to win each and every award out there for his performance as the paraplegic character Ethan. In the brief flashback portions of the movie we are also witness to sequences where Ethan the magician performs some extremely graceful, fluid and almost magical moves. Interestingly, the entire flashback episode is devoid of any dialogues. This is where the brilliance of the director emerges; he beautifully juxtaposes these two extreme states of the character between the past and the present, in the process narrating a very sensitive story.

In contrast to the extreme limitations that he binds his characters with, Bhansali does the opposite where it concerns the world in which his characters reside. There is opulence and grandiosity even if the subjects are living in penury. The world Ethan inhabits is a curious mixture of art and architecture that is hard to be classified into a certain time frame or region. The way the camera, lighting, costumes and music are used, looks as if poetry meets painting, creating a rare art form that seems to be a brilliant departure from the conventional.While the filmmaker and the lead get to do all the experimenting, the character of the nurse Sophia, played by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, essays her character with the right measure of composure, compassion and confidence, providing solidity and weight to the proceedings.

“Guzaarish” only proves once again that there is absolutely no director in this country who can beat Sanjay Leela Bhansali in the art of film making. He makes a painting out of each of his frames. He did that even in the film that went all wrong – “Saawariya”. And trust him to invariably take out the finest performances out of all his actors. From Rani to SRK to Big B, they’ve all given their best performances under this magician’s wand. Thank God that Aishwarya Rai, who never really got a camp of her own – with Yash Raj and Karan Johar both virtually staying away from her – got Sanjay Leela Bhansali to show the world her immense acting potential and timeless beauty. And what Hrithik does – and Bhansali makes him do – has to be seen to be believed. He is not just the best looking man in Bollywood, not just the best dancer and the man who must be James Bond sooner or later, but also the man who is unparalleled in the acting department. For direction and for Hrithik and Aishwarya’s acting, we give this film eleven stars out of ten. The other departments become insignificant in front of these.

“A request that is Magical” (Frontier-arena.blogspot.com Review)
Inscribing this spectacular and magical world of Guzaarish, needs lots more emotions and unfathomable understanding about life. Life has only two facts i.e Birth & Death and in between that we chose our path of living, whenever we whine fortune never smile on us it’s a fact that we don’t know the ruse of opting right path. It depends on individual and this movie explores one aspect of living life delightfully. And that aspect is accepting and giving priority on positive vibes ignoring the negative ambiance, so that you can perceive a beautiful world all-together.

Guzaarish is a story of Ethan’s(Hrithik Roshan) magical Journey . It starts with Sofia (Aishwariya Rai Bacchan as Ethan’s Nurse) untying the white curtains, brushing the teeth and giving a bath in a weird position to a paraplegic patient named Ethan who was the numero-uno magician of his time. Then Ethan moves with his technically flourished wheel chair. His helpless struggling scene with the flies watching a Tom& Jerry show portray how one can stay calm and happy even at the time of weird turmoils, and this is only the starting scene.

The Followed scenes are equally magical and spell bounding that tries to give life a new meaning each and every time be it the RJ show, be it Ethan addressing sofia to break a vase while he was angry , be it the book he has written “Flying High”, be it the emotions Ethan’s display when her mother entered to his house, Be it the enthusiasm Ethan displays with the patients, be it the wicked humors that Ethan play with Sofia, be it the talk between Ethan & Estella (Ethan’s love Interest played by Monikangana Dutta ), be it the helpless emotions displayed by Ethan’s doctor or be it Ethan’s plea for euthanasia all magically scripted and screen played or be it the last party where Ethan’s magical last words depict the pure soul inside a human being.

This movie enlightens lots of massages through its characters. The love without any sheer expectations, the Friendship where the word TRY never stops till your friend is happy, the motherly love that can never see her child suffering, the son who sings for his mother even at the funeral just to feel that her mother is still alive, the teacher who never perceives the background of a student and only teaches passionately even the student is an enemy’s son, the student who dedicates his life for learning, The judge who understands the emotions but stays loyal to constitution. The nurse who dedicates her life for her patient.

Acting perspective u can’t find a single mistake. All the characters performed to the perfection Monikangana Dutta as Estela Francis is beautiful and sensuous, Vijay Crishna as judge Rajhans Moni is composed still subtle, Suhel Seth as Dr. Nayak is emotional but remain loyal to his responsibilities throughout, Nafisa Ali as Ethan’s mother is awesome and her statement in court in support of his son is small but very much effective. Aditya Roy Kapoor as Omar plays his character to perfection.His honest eyes can easily make him the finding of 2010. Aishwariya as Sofia played her part with absolute elan. Her charming eyes, the dressing style, the delivery of dialogues almost all perfect. And her Chemistry with Hrithik again proved that no one can match this couple.

And finally to the Greek God, thanks to him for experimenting such various extreme genre. His honest eye expression is enough to express all those emotions anger, happiness , proud, humors everything. The Expressions that he displayed in the song UDI is going to be remembered for long time. His dialogues his motivations his weired smile, the fighting with the rain drops and above all the suffering that he’s goin through for 14 long years is enough to made u cry literally. His little dance moves is very graceful nd energetic. As I say he’s is the only complete actor in the Industry who can dance, who has a stunning look , who can sing , and can act like a god.

It’s a Sanjay leela Bhansali’s vision, it’s poetic , enigmatic, artistic and purely from heart. As a director he’s able to extract 100% performance from all the characters. Music score is awesome and all situation based.

This movie is pure magic. I have a life changing experience . U will going to see life in a better way after getting out . So go and grab it. U wont find a better movie about life. A 9 out of 10 stars for this wonderful movie.

“Hrithik, Aish perform magic in film about life” (Timeslive Review)
Background: Earlier this year, when the list of the year’s eagerly-awaited movies were released, there was much hype about My Name is Khan, Kites and even Raavan.

However, there were plenty of whispers from critics that alerted movie lovers to the dynamic and powerful combination of master storyteller Sanjay Leela Bhansali coming together with the sizzling pair of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. Bhansali marked his entry into the industry with the critically acclaimed masterpiece Khamoshi and has since directed blockbusters Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas and Black.

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas cemented his relationship with Bachchan, catapulting the talented actress to stardom and showcased her enviable talent. Sadly, however, Bhansali completely lost the plot with his last movie, Saawariya.

Guzaarish, in a nutshell, is a celebration of life that poses the question: if we have the right to chose how we live and love, why don’t we have the right to decide on our last days and how we chose to end this life’s journey?

Before shooting commenced, Roshan met a number of quadriplegics to prepare for his character, and he claimed it was one of the most memorable moments in his life.

STORY:
Set in Goa, Guzaarish is the riveting tale of a successful magician named Ethan Mascarenhas (Roshan) who is tragically paralysed during a performance. Unable to care for himself, he engages the services of a beautiful and sophisticated married nurse named Sofia (Bachchan), who performs her duties with utmost care and devotion.

When Ethan makes the startling announcement of wanting to end his existence through a mercy killing, he seeks the assistance of a lawyer friend to file a petition in court. While he awaits the decision of the historic case, his relationships are examined and his life takes a turn when he meets a budding magician.

DIRECTION:
Bhansali is a master of his craft and he again delivers a polished movie with a genuinely moving script. From the outset, the viewer is treated to a spectacle as the story unfolds at a captivating pace, while ensuring we join the trials and tribulations of the lead characters. He balances the treatment between the movie being too arty and too mainstream, and, in the process, brings about many relevant social messages with gusto.

PERFORMANCES:
For a man confined to a wheelchair for almost the entire movie, Roshan gives a towering performance and should be a strong con-tender for the Best Actor Award .

Bachchan is a class act as she commands respect with a convincing and dignified performance. If Roshan is the heart of the movie, then Bachchan is its soul. After Dhoom 2 and Jodha-Akbar, their chemistry is electrifying yet again. This combination is sure to set the temperatures soaring with their mature and passionate performance.

New find Aditya Roy Kapoor, who two weeks ago made a confident debut in Action Replayy, has a heart-warming role. Kapoor is sure to leave a huge impression in this competitive industry. The rest of the cast are equally brilliant, though Monikangana Dutta’s role should not have been added to the other interesting characters.

MUSIC:
Wanting to perfect the settings, the mood and the story, Bhansali also makes his debut as a music composer, and though his soundtrack works, it needs to grow on you.

The intensity of the situations are brought to life in the title song, Doondli and the brilliant Sau Gram. One also has to salute Bhansali for the lively Udi which brings some worthy relief.

WHAT I LIKED:
Though the settings may not be as opulent or vibrant as Bhansali’s other movies, which are generally made on a large canvas, the movie is embellished with some awesome scenes including the foot massage, the initial courtroom drama, the petition, the radio show and the serious, yet adorable, climax.

OVERALL:
Guzaarish is a movie about hope, magic and life. Bhansali has done it as a tribute to the nightingale Lata Mangeshkar who, he claims, has been his biggest inspiration.

There are times that the pace may work in its favour, but its overall message and spirit will triumph, and it will be a memory that will linger on forever.

“Credible performances” (Moviereviews.ae Review)
Light enters the room as an elegantly dressed lady draws back the curtains that reach the floor of this 19th century Portuguese styled home. A bearded man lies in bed and he is very soon cared for by the lady…

Simple, touching start to a story of a paraplegic man Ethan and his caregiver Sophie.

From the very beginning, a serene combination of light, shadows and dark colours form the background as we watch dedicated care-giving in full flow.

And if you thought it was only the background and the beauty in its simplicity…. wait, the opening song is soft, full with philosophical undertones and conveys the essence of this movie … the importance of life!

As Ethan (Hrithik Roshan) rightly keeps describing his caregiver – a beauty; Sophie (played by Aishwarya Rai) is fiercely loyal to the motionless Ethan.

There is so much elegance in Aishwarya’s performance, that despite her prettiness she personifies the compassionate and caring Sophie brilliantly. Expressing her resentment to Ethan’s decision is not to be missed.

Hrithik’s characterization of Ethan, in this movie Guzaarish, will only give his own earlier performance in Jodha Akbar a run for its money!

Leave aside Hrithik’s Christ like look; his character emotes anger, frustration and simple joys… watch him closely and you can almost feel his pain… yet he smiles and laughs out loud too… Superb!

The supporting cast of Aditya Roy Kapoor and Shernaz Patel also have a good solid role to play as the movie progresses into a battle where Ethan decides to seek control over his own life.

Set in Goa’s very green countryside, the movie is a visual delight!

Cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee captures the waters against the radiance of an unseen sun, a blue automobile against lush green landscape, rays of light in the midst of dark shadowy indoors along with several other striking visuals.

There’s magic in ‘Guzaarish’ too. Apart from the magic of compassion and caring, allow yourself to be mesmerised by Ethan’s magic.

A delightful take on the mastery of magic as we watch in flashback, Ethan’s past brilliance as a magician…

Sanjay Leela Bhansali gathers all his experience in not only directing this visually beautiful drama of love but also directs the music, setting the tone with some original and consistent slow sound track across every song.

With the stand-alone cottage, the candles, the lanterns against the dark backdrop, the sound of foot-steps against the wooden flooring, the long curtains, Sophie’s styling, the quiet maids; you could reminisce ‘The Others’ by Spanish director Alejandro Amenábar, starring Nicole Kidman. But the similarities end there.

Guzaarish is very well made – soft songs, stylish magic, striking backdrops and even credible performances!

Definitely watch Guzaarish, for it’s a calming, compassionate story that is visually very beautiful.

“What a WONDERFUL World!” (Neelanchana.blogspot.com Review)
I see trees of green, red roses too…
I see them bloom for me and you…
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

My story is not very unusual; I am inherently a passionate movie buff, ardent movie watcher, a cinema lover. I love good movies, fine entertainment, and excellent infotainment. What I feel, is oddly curious about me, is my fascination with melodramatic, emotional and poignant movies. I have forever loved watching movies alone, mind you, only the ones that TOUCH my heart, the ones that promise to stay with me long after I have watched it, and the ones that tug at my heart strings and keep strumming them for a long long time.

I cherish these feeling of sadness, grief, bated breath, heavy sighs and tears of empathy. I consider my ability to CRY so easily with the characters onscreen, to be very enduring and humane and artistic! Yes please do not ask how and why but I definitely do. And today I have had the Pleasure to watch the Movie Guzaarish with my most favorite person in this world, Myself! I should also add that I truly Loved the experience and shall cherish it for the Rest of My Life!

When I First saw the trailer of *Guzaarish* I immediately said to myself, Now that is My kind of movie. I wanted to Watch IT there and then! Not many people I know wanted to watch the movie, In fact My Appa asked me “Why do you want to PAY and go cry?” Good Question, But Why not? Do we only watch movies for mindless entertainment, crude jokes, inhumane bodies and unrealistic stunts? I for one, have nothing against such movies, In fact I am one of those few peoples, who equally enjoy watching a BIG BOSS, a Golmaal and a Guzaarish as well!!

Coming back to My Prime train of thought, Guzaarish, the movie is set in the picturesque Goa, home to one of the most accomplished magicians of the time – Ethan Mascarenhas. As movie starts, we get a glimpse of a Day in the Life of Ethan, how he needs to be helped by his Nurse/caregiver/friend/Shadow Sofia D’Souza to wake up, brush, have a shower, dress, and sit. The Man, Mr. Bhansali doesn’t believe in wasting any time in getting to his story and does a remarkable Job of getting our attention right from the very first Frame.

Due to a highly unfortunately turn of events, Ethan is severely injured when one of his magical tricks goes horribly wrong, turning him into a quadriplegic. Confined in his own room, Bed and wheelchair, Ethan does not waste his time drowning himself in self pity, helplessness and grief, instead he channels his inner power to get stronger and stronger.

He becomes the Radio Jockey, he disperses magic, hope and laughter through his irrepressible wit and humor to every listener and caller, making it almost impossible to imagine that this is a man who has been immobilized with a spinal injury for the last fourteen years of his life. However, Ethan decides to take matters into his own hands and files an appeal to the court for mercy killing. This leaves Sofia in an impasse that challenges their relationship and their love. The rest of the story is basically a wonderful execution of a man, his vision, mission and all those people who help him. The ethics, the morality, the cruelty and the kindness of Ethan’s mission causes everyone to be struck by a tsunami of emotions ranging from rage to sorrow.

Sofia is Ethan’s elegant nurse, friend, caregiver, support system and much much more, she has been accompanying him like a shadow for the past twelve years. Both Sofia and Ethan have their lives centered upon each other, they share a silent tacit love which is both beautiful and spirited. For Me, Guzaarish, was a true Love story, exotically portrayed without the need for any unnecessary touch, dialogue or excess of emotion. The Pain in the eyes of the two characters, the longing in their hearts, the helplessness in their voices, the pang of misery in their sighs have all managed to capture the true essence of Love for me. The chemistry between the two main characters is unbelievably intense that the timber of their love can almost be touched. It is so beautiful that I can barely express myself here.

The music, the frame, the coloring, the sets, the costumes and the casting, all add to the Whole Guzaarish Experience. Hrithik Roshan is Par excellence, he has definitely played superheroes before… but this I feel is his Biggest SuperHERO role ever. He looked ethereal, earnest, belivable and he wants Acting, he was living the life of Ethan, so was Aishwarya Rai, they were both living in the shoes of their respect characters. Not for a second do we see them as Hrithik Roshan or Aishwarya Rai, but always as Ethan and Sophia. Both of them have done a Remarkable job and added value, grace, dignity and poise to yet another visual Splendor from the house of SLB Films. Aishwarya Rai is tremendous as Sophia and has done I believe more than enough to Shut her critics and non fans! She looks sober, gentle and completely at ease in Sophia’s shoes. There are times when her acting skills shine and project’s its luminosity, almost binding us with its brilliance! I may be Biased, but who isnt?!

Everyone has worked to the grind and the hard work is felt in every frame of Guzaarish. There is an inimitable intellect that is seen in all SLB movies, his devotion and dedication towards his crafts is truly inspirational and motivating. Guzaarish has a number of sequences that without doubt make you wonder at the Man, SLB’s intelligence, exquisiteness, and brilliance! My personal favorites would be the courtroom sequence and Aishwarya’s outburst towards the end of it, The hearing of the petition at Hrithik’s house, the dispute between Aishwariya and Hrithik’s Lawyer, Hrithik’s War with Rain and the Finale.

Guzaarish is special in more ways than one. In my personal opinion, it easily ranks amongst SLB’s best works so far. The Film is about smiling, living and courage! Will I recommend this movie to anyone? No, I will NOT! This is not because the movie is too emotional or not because it isn’t well made, Of course it is a WELL MADE, extraordinary film, but because I am a selfish person, I want this profound, insightful and wonderful drama, the characters, the soulful music, powerful emotional quotient and most importantly the breathtakingly wonderful onscreen chemistry between Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai, all for Myself… JUST Myself!

“A Special Film” (Newsdowntown Review)
Film critics have already given their verdict for the latest evnture of Sanjay Leela Bhansali after the special screening. There has been speculations that Bhansali has taken the inspiration from Christopher Nolan’s Hollywood movie ‘The Prestige’ to make Guzaarish, which has been clearly declined by the critics.

It is story of a magician Ethan Mascarenhas [Hrithik Roshan] who suffers serious injuries when one of his magical trick goes horribly wrong after which he is confined to a wheel chairand later on becomes a Radio Jockey at an FM Station called Radio Zindagi. His show talks of hope, laughter and sunshine and it’s difficult to imagine that the man behind it has been immobilized with a spinal injury for the last fourteen years of his life. Sofia [Aishwarya Rai Bachchan], a nurse, takes good care of him, they also share the untold love.

A twist comes to the story when Ethan files a petition in court for mercy killing which leaves Sofia stunned. Ethan takes the help of friend-lawyer Devyani [Shernaz Patel] to support his appeal. Even Ethan’s mother Isabel [Nafisa Ali] supports him in his petition, although Ethan is persuaded by his physician Dr. Nayak [Suhel Seth] to retract his case. Alongside all this, Omar [Aditya Roy Kapur] enters Ethan’s life with the aim of learning magic from him.

There are some very strong scenes like when Hrithik’s act going wrong and the near-fatal accident, courtroom sequence and Aishwarya’s outburst towards the end of it and ‘The End’ which carry the remarkable performances by the lead actors.

Bhansali has put everything he has got and his presence is felt in every shot of the film. He is working with the finest actors of Bollywood in the film and have extracted even better out of them as he carries this ability to get the dialogues delivered even from a dumb man with the best expressions. Bhansali has put behind all the glitter and glamour and has come up with an unique and sensitive story told through a series of flashbacks.

The bottom line is that Guzaarish is a special film and must seen for people who carry the love for the true cinema. Missing this one on the theaters would be a mistake.

“Stunning performance” (Bollywoodchaska Review)
The Hindi film industry has recently had a multitude of films which are based on terminal illnesses. We had John Abraham in AASHAYEIN, Aamir Khan in GHAJINI as well as TZP SRK in MNIK, Farhan Akhtar in KARTHIK CALLING KARTHIK and ofcourse Bhansali’s very own BLACK.

So tackling a film in which the protagonist has a severe illness is not to SLB. In GUZAARISH, Hrithik Roshan suffers from Paraplegia- a complete of the lower half of the body, including both legs, usually caused by damage/injury to the spinal cord.

Film maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known for his fantastic cinematography – his films have a visual appeal for one and all and ofcourse the story itself. His films touch a chord in your heart and GUZAARISH truly does make you fall back in love with life.

The story of GUZAARISH has been told through a series of flashbacks- each one making you feel a plethora of different emotions- stirring various feelings at the same time.

So should you catch this one? Surely if you appreciate good cinema- if you’re one of the slapstick comedy lovers- this one should definitely be missed!!

Set in Goa, it tells the story of an accomplished magician Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan). Ethan suffers serious injuries when one of his magical trick goes horribly wrong, turning him to a Paraplegic. Confined to a wheel chair, Ethan becomes a Radio Jockey at an FM Station called Radio Zindagi. His show talks of hope, laughter and sunshine and it’s difficult to imagine that the man behind it has been immobilized with a spinal injury for the last fourteen years of his life. Sofia (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), a nurse, takes good care of him; they share a silent love.

Ethan files a petition in court for mercy killing. This decision of Ethan leaves Sofia stunned. Ethan takes the help of friend-lawyer Devyani (Shernaz Patel) to support his appeal. Even Ethan’s mother Isabel (Nafisa Ali) supports him in his petition, although Ethan is persuaded by his physician Dr. Nayak (Suhel Seth) to retract his case. Alongside all this, Omar (Aditya Roy Kapur) enters Ethan’s life with the aim of learning magic from him. Impressed by Omar’s love for magic, Ethan agrees to pass on his legacy to him.

The beauty of GUZAARISH most definitely lies not only in the direction but also the writing. The screenplay by Bhavani Iyer and SLB himself is absorbing. The direction- well only a true storyteller could have pulled a tough subject such as mercy killing with such ease.

The major drawback to the film is for sure the excessive use of English. This may act as a barrier in regional India.

Apart from the story telling- Bhansali has weaved his magic as a music maestro as well. The music is- in short different- with Udi being the best track in the lot.

Kudos to cinematographer Sudeep Chatterjee for the exquisite cinematography- indoors as well as outdoors. He has captured every moment with panache. The background score by Tubby and Parik is subtle and soulful- it enhances every moment and feeling in the movie. Infact the score actually makes you feel as if you are in the room with Hrithik and Aishwarya. The dialogue by Bhavani Iyer and Vibhu Puri is effective.

Hrithik and Aishwarya have given a stunning performance- as they always do. Although many believed that their prior performance as Jodha and Akbar might mar the effect in their performance this time along- its been proven false. They both convince you that they are Ethan and Sofia.

Aditya Roy Kapur is truly outstanding as a central character. This might definitely be Shernaz Patel’s best yet. Although Nafisa Ali barely has a role she makes her presence felt. Moni Kangana Dutta is okay.

On the whole it’s a lot better the SAAWARIYA!! But might face tough competition from GOLMAAL 3. Now it boils down to the audience and their mood.

Our verdict: Its nice- if you are in the mood for a serious, thought provoking, invigorating movie.

“Stunning Performances By Hrithik Roshan And Aishwarya Rai Bachchan” (Ratevin.com Review)
Guzaarish is yet another film out of Bollywood stables that explores the plight of a person suffering from a rare disease – this time the protagonist is a paraplegic.
Guzaarish Movie Review

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a film-maker of exceptional quality and with Guzaarish, he has come up trumps once again as Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan set the screen on fire with their sizzling chemistry.

Guzaarish tells the story of magician Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan), who is completely paralyzed in the lower half of the body, including both legs after one of his magic tricks’ goes awry. Confined to a wheel-chair, Ethan is nursed by Sofia (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and both share a silent, but deep love. Ethan is a Radio Jockey at a FM Station called Radio Zindagi, where he spreads hope and laughter aplenty on his show despite the spinal injury that has left him immobilized.

Fed up with his immobile existence, Ethan files a petition for mercy-killing at the court; a decision which leaves Sofia stunned. Devyani (Shernaz Patel), who is Ethan’s lawyer friend supports his appeal in court, which has the endorsement of even Ethan’s mother Isabel (Nafisa Ali). Shocked by this decision, Ethann’s physician Dr. Nayak (Suhel Seth) persuades him to withdraw his appeal. While this courtroom drama is going on, Omar (Aditya Roy Kapur) enters Ethan’s life and wants to learn magic from the master. Ethan decides to mentor Omar and thus gets a new aim in life.

Bhansali’s films are usually visual treats with gorgeous locales and stunning panorama and Guzaarish is no different. Cinematographer Sudeep K. Chatterjee deserves full credit for the visual excellence he delivers in Guzaarish. Bhansali has created the music for his film, thus joining a select band of directors such as Satyajit Ray and Vishal Bharadwaj in penning musical scores for their own films. “Sau Gram Zindagi” and the title track “Guzaarish” deserve special mention here. The background score by Tubby and Parik is subtle and soulful to the brim.

Bhavani Iyer and Vibhu Puri have penned some high-voltage dialogues especially in the court scene where Aishwarya gives vent to a full-range of emotions.

Coming to the star cast, Aditya Roy Kapur is outstanding, while Shernaz Patel, Nafisa Ali and Suhel Seth are terrific. Moni Kangana Dutta, Vijay Crishna and Rajit Kapoor also carry off their roles well.

But the main USP of the film, is the sizzling chemistry between Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. After Dhoom 2 and Jodhaa Akbar, these two wonderfully talented actors set the screen on fire in Guzaarish with their understated emotions. The story of Guzaarish is incredible, but Hrithik and Aishwarya make it memorable with their excellent performances. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali deserves kudos for casting them and for bringing us this great story. Our recommendation is to book your ticket for the weekend…there may not be many left!

“Amazing and simply magical” (Glamsham Review)
GUZAARISH took me go back to certain period of my life. I was grumpy and constantly fretting over miniscule things. I used to lose my patience at the drop of a hat. Then an incident changed my outlook towards life. GUZAARISH has the same potential.

This film is special for more reasons than one. After DHOOM 2 and JODHAA AKBAR, it sees the re-union of two of the finest actors in the film industry- Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Director Sanjay Leela Bansali is donning the director’s hat after almost three years. It also deals with a very sensitive issue of Euthanasia (mercy-killing).

He was the best magician in town. But a fatal accident left Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) paralysed and bed-ridden for life. Presently hosting a Radio show ‘Hello Zindagi’ Ethan spreads hope to listeners through his inimitable wit and humour. For twelve years, he’s being aided by nurse Sofia D’Souza (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), who’s much more than a nurse.

On the fourteenth anniversary of his accident, Ethan decides to make a petition to the court for Euthanasia (He prefers calling it Ethanasia). This leaves his best friend and lawyer Devyani (Shernaz Patel) and Sofia in complete disarray. Meanwhile, a young man named Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor) enters Ethan’s world with a steadfast desire to learn magic from him.

First things first. GUZAARISH is not an abstract and an ambiguous film. It’s a simply narrated film made with a lot of heart. Although it’s sensitive, it never gets dukhi. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has treated the grave issue of mercy killing with maturity. Although it’s about a suffering person who wants to end his life, its message is about celebrating life. The best part about the film is that it involves you as a viewer. You surely feel for Ethan’s plight. He leaves you smiling in many scenes and moist-eyed in some.

The first half is so breezy that you don’t realise when it gets over. The second half is a bit of a drag. Like KAL HO NAA HO and the more recent PAA, GUZAARISH’s narrative is very light-hearted laden with humorous moments. Ethan says, “God pe bharosa hai, isiliye I am dying to meet him.” Also, the scene in which Sofia gives Ethan a leg massage is uproarious.

There are some really poignant moments that leave a lasting impression. Ethan watches a scarecrow on a field, which is symbolic to his own condition. The court-room scenes are just too good. While you expect Ethan to give a long monologue, he conveys everything through his 60-seconds magic trick.

GUZAARISH also has a unique love story between Ethan and Sofia to boast off. It’s refreshing and endearing at the same time. The way in which Sofia takes care of Ethan is heartening.

GUZAARISH also has a unique love story between Ethan and Sofia to boast off. It’s refreshing and endearing at the same time. The way in which Sofia takes care of Ethan is heartening.

Like most Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s films (HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM DEVDAS, BLACK, SAAWARIYA), GUZAARISH is visually stunning. Each and every frame is meticulously shot. Cinematographer Sudeep K. Chatterjee captures some awe-inspiring magic scenes through his lens. Bhavani Iyer and Vibhu Puri’s dialogues are excellent. Sanjay’s music goes very well with the film.

Hrithik Roshan is outstanding. He spreads his magic and how! This can easily be termed as one of the finest performances of his career. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan delivers a good performance. She’s completely dazzling in the Udi song. Shernaz Patel performs her role brilliantly. Watch out for the argument scene between Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Shernaz Patel. Aditya Roy Kapoor plays his part well. Monikangana Dutta doesn’t have any scope. Makrand Deshpande was not required. Suhel Seth is very good and so is Rajit Kapoor.

GUZAARISH is poignant, amazing and simply ‘magical’. A sincere ‘guzaarish’, please go watch it.

“Guzaarish is a request” (Cinegoer Review)
Guzaarish is a request, a request for death by a man, a world famous magician who lies on bed for twelve long years as a paraplegic. It is the story of a few good human beings who surround him, nurse him, fight his cause and want him to die with dignity. Euthanasia is the word here, at a time, a period when it is was still a taboo.

The movie opens with Hrithik Roshan lying helplessly on the bed trying to ward off a fly and the latter persisting to return and settle on his nose knowing his condition. The filmmaker addresses an issue here and doesn’t generalize it, he narrates the condition of paraplegics through his character whose endurance levels are receding and whose physical condition shows no sign or hope of improvement. For a handicapped person to survive in this world, they need hope and love and Ethan Mascarenhas is lucky to have Sofia D’Souza who loves him silently, showers the care and affection of a mother and finally gives him what he needs as an understanding and a sensitive human being.

Guzaarish has been lovingly crafted, there is poignance in every scene without heavy duty drama. There is humour which is sincerely entertaining, there is sexual banter that draws your empathy and there are ways in which the magician explains his story without loaded dialogues. There is one scene in which he shows how suffocating 60 seconds of his life could be but sadly for him death never comes calling. Every element of the film just works, whether it’s acting, screenplay, cinematography, costumes or set properties. One will also not miss the sophistication with which anguish and hurt is dealt with.

The director Sanjay Leela Bhansali doesn’t push boundaries when he is showing the patient wanting to have the vase broken or he is not reinventing cinema when the rain drops starts leaking from roof onto his forehead and he seeks help. In such situations, even a trump card called a mother goes missing. The expressions of the actor, his condition, his feelings make you feel from the bottom of your heart to go grant him death, for one second you would suspend your judgement for the right and wrong and would want to help a person die.

Guzaarish is not a fast-paced film but the emotions keep you moving briskly, despite giving it a realistic touch you wouldn’t miss the director give into some cinematic liberties, the clichéd scenes when the painter asks his nurse if she would marry him. It is predictable again when the nurse gifts him his wish but the last scene has truly some awesome closing lines and scenes, don’t forget to take some tissues with you. You’ll feel happy for the man who’s been doing magic all his life waiting for some magic to happen swiftly.

Aishwarya Rai sets in the role of the nurse beatifically, when she is offered a half day holiday by a guest who comes home to learn magic, she reacts splendidly, all through her eyes..she is not sure whether she needs to be happy for getting some time off or worried for leaving the patient alone with a stranger. Her quandary is beautiful. Hrithik Roshan is brilliant, if he flies all over like Krrish he is spectacular being immobile.

Shernaz Patel as the lawyer lends all the helplessness and support and rest of the cast justify their presence. A film worth watching even if you are remotely interested in such subjects.

“Spellbinding Magic” (Bookmyshow.com Review)
Finally Sanjay Leela Bhansali is back. After the nightmarish Sawaariya, Bhansali is back in his element. This time around, the master storyteller enthralls you with Ethan’s magical tale.

Ethan – the best magician in India – is renowned for his scintillating and breathtaking magical escapades. With his partner, Estella, Ethan entertains the crowd with his befuddling magic tricks. Unfortunately, Ethan loses his hand and limb movement when a magical act goes horribly wrong.

The quadriplegic and now chair-bound Ethan is dependent on his nurse, Sofia, who looks after him for fourteen years. Ethan works as a Radio Jockey and gives his listeners hope with his motivating talks. He eventually becomes a source of inspiration for thousands of paraplegic patients. Hence, it comes as a surprise when the survivor Ethan decides to file a court petition for mercy killing – his last Guzaarish.

Will the court understand Ethan’s constant troubles and his unending battle with life or will they abide by the constitution? You will have to watch the movie to unravel Ethan’s enchanting tale.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has proved once again as to why he is considered as one of the best directors of Bollywood. He leaves no room for complaints. The maverick director has handled a sensitive topic with excellence. He has also composed some beautiful songs which set the tone for the film. The song Sau Gram Zindagi, lingers on your mind even after the movie.

The sets and larger-than-life locales have always been the high-point of Bhansali movies. Guzaarish does not disappoint in that department as cinematographer Sudeep K. Chatterjee captivates you with visual splendor.

The director has been supported by a strong and able cast. Hrithik Roshan lives the character of Ethan till the end frame. The character of Ethan connects with you and stays with you. Aishwarya has yet again delivered a matured performance and has portrayed her role with elegance. Their remarkable on-screen chemistry makes this film extra-ordinary. The supporting cast, Shernaz Patel (Devyani Dutta), Suhel Sath (Dr. Nayak) and Aditya Roy Kapoor (Omar Siddique), have all delivered first-rate performances.

Final Word: Guzaarish is indeed an intelligent masterpiece which depicts human emotions beautifully. Irrespective of its fate at the Box Office, Guzaarish is sure to be remembered as one of Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Hrithik Roshan’s finest work.

“Hrithik-Aishwarya is the soul of the film” (BoxOffice Reviews Guzaarish)
Agreed the film is about Hrithik Roshan who’s a paraplegic. Also agreed the film reminds you of Whose Life Is It Anyway and The Sea Inside. But what you take away from this masterpiece is that this film is about the unspoken, untold love story between a patient and his nurse.

Though neither is consciously aware of it, the feeling is subliminal, feelings they acknowledge only at the very end of the film. Take a bow, Mr Bhansali! Only the genius of Sanjay Leela Bhansali could convey such powerful emotions with such subtlety. And all this in just three scenes. That’s why he’s such a great filmmaker.

Scene 1: The judge accidentally addresses Aishwarya as Mrs Mascarenhas and there’s a sudden glow on her face, then she dances… The look in her eyes and the way she dances tells the world she’s thrilled to be addressed as Mrs Mascarenhas.

Scene 2: Hrithik says: “You can call me Ethan.. just Ethan.” There’s that same glow again, the pride in being given the privilege to call her master “Ethan, just Ethan”, not Mr Mascarenhas or Sir.
Scene 3: And, of course, when Hrithik asks Aishwarya to walk like Mrs Mascarenhas.
These three scenes say it all.

Ok, so where does the film fail? We’ve watched Bhansali’s other masterpieces – Khamoshi – The Musical, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Devdas and Black. The thread between these four movies is the strong connect that you make with the protagonist. You feel the pain of a deaf and dumb parent in Khamoshi; you feel Nandini’s pain when Sameer is asked to leave the house in HDDCS; you feel the pain of Devdas, Paro and Chandramukhi; and you feel the pain of Michelle and her teacher Devraj Sahai in Black.

This time, you don’t feel the pain of the protagonist played by Hrithik Roshan. Bhansali does create a few scenes that are meant to help you connect with the ailing man but they aren’t convincing enough. For instance, there was absolutely no need to bring in Makrand Deshpande’s character, who whips Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in front of a paralysed and helpless Hrithik Roshan. You tend to pity Hrithik, not empathise with him.

Also the character of Aditya Roy Kapur (his presence and pathetic performance irritates) is completely superfluous. Instead, had Hrithik to teach Aishwarya his magic tricks, there would have been many more magical moments between this magical pair, further enhancing the love angle. There are also a few nagging questions. If Aishwarya has filed for divorce and lives alone, why does she return home every night? Why can’t she stay with Hrithik? Also, Hrithik’s lawyer initially refuses to file his mercy plea but suddenly agrees, without any explanation.

Regardless of these loopholes, you take home a ray of hope… hope to live… hope to be loved. And the climax is truly enriching and moving. The finale, with Hrithik’s final speech, is splendid. The happiness on Hrithik’s face while travelling (after ages) from his home to court. The way the songs blend in with the script. Though the film is about mercy killing, it is beautifully handled by Bhansali, with a happy ending. Sounds ironic, even contradictory, but Bhansali makes it believable and delivers a happy ending.

This may not be Bhansali’s best product (compared to Khamoshi and Black) but he definitely leaves an impression. And this time, Bhansali also makes a remarkable debut as a music director. Tera zikr hai ya itra hai, Sau gram zindagi, Guzaarish and Udi are the pick of the lot. Cinematography, as in every Bhansali film, is superb.

Performance-wise, the magical combination of Hrithik-Aishwarya is the soul of the film. UNDOUBTEDLY. Hrithik Roshan, though paralysed, uses his eyes to masterfully express his thoughts and feelings. An award-worthy performance from this talented actor, indeed!

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, even in simple attire, looks smashing, getting into the skin of the character and giving off her best. If she gave life to Nandini (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam) and Paro (Devdas), she goes a step further and plays Sofia’s character with pure sincerity. A performance to be proud of, for sure.

Shernaz Patel is excellent. Nafisa Ali and Moni Kangana Dutta make their presence felt in small but significant roles. Suhel Seth is very good. Others lend able support.

Verdict: Regardless of some flaws, Guzaarish is definitely an honest attempt. But for the majority of Indian audience, the mass audience specifically, the film has precious little to offer. From a business perspective, Guzaarish should work best in metros, especially in Mumbai. Also, Harry Potter will play spoilsport for Guzaarish at the ticket counter. However, the film’s business overseas, mainly the US, and the UK, should be fabulous.

“Mesmerizing performances” (Naachgaana Review)
Let me begin by saying that SLB’s fims may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those looking for romanticism with aesthetics and visual treat, his films are like a canvas, a pure delight to watch.

In Guzaarish, SLB romanticizes another aspect of human suffering caused by disabilities of extreme kind. It has quite a few complex ones to unravel. Superficially it is Euthanasia or Mercy killing which could be seen as solution for a certain section of the society. That debate has been brought to it’s legal conclusion and something which was well understood right from the beginning – that it ain’t going to happen. It is an unusual theme for the Indian masses who still imbue the para psychology as enshrined in Bhagvad Gita which will have one essential implication – the end of the body does not matter – soul is anyway immortal. In fact Lord Rama himself opted for Jal Samadhi, an act of willing end to his life. I am not sure if the movie being a movie can generate a serious debate around the issue of Euthanasia. It all depends on the popularity of the movie.

Then the second theme which is at the core of the movie is the message of life which has to be lived fully with all it’s resplendent happiness, glory, contrasts and ultimately love. This is the aspect which brings in some real performances – a deviation away from the routine hobnob and masala ongoings in the usual world of Bollywood. The cinematic genius of Sanjay Leela Bhansali was never in doubt right from his early days with every movie proving to be of an exceptional picturesque quality. This time around he has shown another of his talents – music direction which was a pleasant surprise. He has also made Hrithik sing. The song What a Wonderful life is a master piece capturing the essence of life and its contrasting elements.

Either way whether you like suffering or happiness in a movie it is all there in rather extreme degrees because SLB doesen’t believe in moderate steps. The film is not as ostentatious in grandeur or opulence as some of his earlier work, but rather well toned highlighting the real message about the subject, and life. The music so beautifully blends with the narrative and the visuals. In fact you wind up craving for more.

The beauty of this journey of Guzaarish cannot be completed without the absolutely mesmerizing performances of the lead i.e. Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai. Bravo to both of you. What a performance. This is certainly their career best. On Aish there is no doubt that she puts in her best in scripts that merit her attention or inspire her talent. The chemistry between these two actors, transcends to a new and deeper level than their two earlier works Jodhaa Akbar and D2.

A special mention has to be made about the supporting cast. Nafisa Ali is effective in her brief role. Aditya Roy Kapoor represents the alter ego to Hrithik’s character Ethan. As Omar his presence brings shades of laughter, joy and fun in Ethan’s life that he so dearly missed. The other characters play their part equally well especially the two lawyers (Ethan’s lady friend, and the public attorney). Monica Dutta charms in her cameo and plays an instrumental part in finally echoing Ethan’s Guzaarish.

The film has many shades of lighter moments, keeping the humour intact while debating on a serious subject. All in all Guzaarish is a beautiful journey of life, hope, suffering, and beyond suffering – A journey not to be missed.

“Aishwarya as Sofia, is just simply outstanding” (Meetatdusk Review)
After the debacle of their last films, it was like a make it or break it kind of situation for the three main pillars of this film (Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan). So, the question is did they make it or break it? Oh boy, they definitely made it and made it with a bang. GUZAARISH rides high on the shoulders of these three.

The film starts with a person waking from sleep and his nurse doing all the chores for him, right from brushing his teeth to dressing him for his radio show, “Radio Zindagi”. The scene following this (fly sitting on Hrithik’s nose) just spellbinds you to the magical world of Ethan Mascarenhas and Sofia D’Souza, created by SLB.

Ethan Mascarenhas, once a renowned magician, is turned to a paraplegic, after one of his trick goes horribly wrong. As a fighter, he fights with this disease for 14 yrs, sitting just on a wheel chair and hosting a radio show, “Radio Zindagi”, where he talks about hope, love, smile and sunny days that are about to come in everyone’s life. Sofia, his nurse for the past 12 yrs, is everything for him. She takes care of all the things that could make him feel better.

Ethan asks one of his best friend, Devyani, to file a petition for mercy killing in the court as he just can’t take any of the pain now. This decision of his leaves Sofia flabbergasted. He also asks for support from his listeners through his show. Alongside all this, there is Omar, a young boy who comes to learn magic from Ethan, which Ethan agrees to pass the legacy on…

The subject of the film is challenging and you need a right candidate to handle the subject like “Euthanasia” (touted as “Ethanasia” in the film). And Bhansali fits perfectly in the bill. He has the knack of telling the complex stories (Khamoshi, Black…) in a very persuasive way. Though the film is about the person who wants to end his life, but the film is not sad or disturbing or unsettling. All credit goes to the writing which is smart, crisp and tight.

There are a number of sequences that stands out. Like…

Fly sitting on Ethan’s nose.
Ethan fighting with water droplets while on bed.
Sofia’s outburst at the court.
Sofia confronts Devyani.
The finale
and many more…

Another thing that adds to the film is it’s soothing music (SLB again). It is soothing to ears, melodious and poetic and full of life. Songs that stand out are “Sau gram zindagi…”, “Guzaarish hai…” and “Tera zikr…”. The subtle background score provides the added support to every scenes. Scenic visuals of Goa on the screen makes it look like you are watching a painter’s imagination. All the hard work that has been put in the art direction, is clearly visible in each scene. Every detail is taken care of. Dialogues are crisp and heart touching.

What can you say about this person, Hrithik Roshan. He brings life to the character of Ethan Mascarenhas. You cannot imagine any other actor enacting the character. It must have been a very arduous task to play a paraplegic and doing an entire film lying on bed and sitting on a wheel chair. Kudos to Hrithik to play such a character. Aishwarya as Sofia, is just simply outstanding. You can feel her attachment and love for Ethan. She plays her part with a rare understanding and finesse. The chemistry between the two after is top notch.

On the whole, GUZAARISH, is a creation which is class apart and not meant for Box Office. The film belongs completely to Bhansali, Hrithik and Aish. By far the best film of the year.

Don’t miss this one…

“Aishwarya and Hrithik shine in their roles” (Desihits Review)
The Story:
Ronnie Screwvala’s and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movie Guzaarish stars Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. The romantic drama is said to be a remake of Christopher Nolan’s film The Prestige. Rumor has it the movie’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, has adapted the script about two rival magicians to fit an Indian context.

The film follows a nurse named Sophie D’souza, played by Aishwarya, and her paraplegic patient Ethan Mascarenhas, portrayed by Hrithik. Ethan works as a magician but one day a trick goes awry and he finds himself paraplegic. After 14 years at a nursery home, Ethan files a petition for the right to commit suicide, all the while teaching another magician, Omar Siddiqui played by Aditya Roy Kapoor, his old tricks.

What Worked:
Guzaarish is an original film, despite what many believed with Guzaarish being a remake of The Prestige, it is not. Guzaarish is quite a masterpiece, from the cinematography to the way the story is told, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has created quite an epic film. Aishwarya and Hrithik shine in their roles, we cannot see anybody better for each character. Each supporting role is crafted perfectly making this film very cohesive.

What Didn’t:
At times scenes seem overdramatic taking away from the effect of the film, this can be seen in the climax and in the courtroom scenes.

The Soundtrack:
Guzaarish is not a soundtrack with toe tapping tunes that will be played on the dance floors. Rather it allows people to admire complex compositions, strong vocalists, and a slew of emotions. Guzaarish is not a typical Bollywood flick and neither is the music. We love the added depth Guzaarish brings to the B’wood scene.
Slated or Rated:

Guzaarish breaks boundaries and brings Bollywood a beautiful story and film. Hrithik and Ash have matured as actors with this film and the music also veers away from the typical Bollywood style. We recommend everyone goes out and enjoys this film because it is a rare gem from Bollywood.

“Aishwarya and Hrithik have that old magic chemistry” (Filmigirl Review)
There are times when I don’t mind spoilers for the plot of a film and there are films that get better the second time around because I know what is going to happen. Happy moments for a character are bittersweet to view simply because I know he will die or his love will leave him. I knew the ending going into Guzaarish, which made the story that much sweeter and that much sadder.

Guzaarish, directed with just a touch of magical realism by the great Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is the story of Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) – a magician who became quadriplegic (i.e. he can’t move his arms or legs) in an accident that occurred 14 years before the film starts. He’s made the best of it. Ethan has a radio show (“Radio Zindagi” or “Radio Life”) and he wrote a book about not giving up hope. He has a devoted nurse Sofia D’Souza (Aishwarya Rai) and some good friends but when the film opens, Ethan’s health is failing and his pain is growing worse. He wants to end his life but because of his condition, he can’t do it on his own. He wants euthanasia and Guzaarish is the story of how he gets his wish.

The story is well-crafted, moving from the small dramas that loom large in Ethan’s world – like a fly settling on his nose or refusing to take his medicine – and then panning back to take in the larger world before zooming into Ethan’s memories for some really gorgeous and fantastical magic acts. Everything is set up to give you a picture of Ethan’s life as it is and what was taken from him to help you understand how he arrived at his decision – his need – to exercise his will over his life.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, as usual, creates a mesmerizing visual field. The film is set all in Goa and mostly during a rainy, cloudy season. The green of the plants and the red of Aishwarya’s outfits pop against the grey skies. The interiors are all beautiful and the costumes are superb, especially Aishwarya Rai’s long flowing skirts, the length of which become a little joke between Sofia and Ethan. Everything is beautiful but then you would expect a Sanjay Leela Bhansali film to be, so let’s move onto the really good stuff – the performances.

Hrithik Roshan is phenomenal. I don’t think I would be exaggerating to say that he’s the best actor working in Hindi cinema right now. While his body was limp and lifeless, Hrithik’s face and voice were a mess of emotion. He was more expressive as a quadriplegic than other actors (I won’t name) are using their entire bodies. There was more drama in Ethan sitting in the backseat of a car watching a world he can’t participate in any longer than in almost anything else I’ve seen this year. Okay, I’m exaggerating (a bit) but Hrithik nails the combination of joy, envy, sadness, and acceptance that makes Ethan and Guzaarish so compelling – the switch from his fluid and magical movements in the flashbacks to Ethan locked in his body and the chair were heartbreaking.

Ethan Mascarenhas is the centerpiece of the film but that doesn’t mean that everybody else is absent. Aishwarya Rai is luminous as loyal nurse Sofia D’Souza. (And not to worry, everybody, Aishwarya does dance… and play air guitar. And she’s adorable while she does it.) Sofia is sensible but has a soft heart and it’s a lot of fun to see her and Ethan interact. Aishwarya and Hrithik have that old magic chemistry. He gets frustrated and cranky and takes it out on her but she knows what he is up to and doesn’t put up with any nonsense. She knows when he’s being fussy and when he needs to be coddled. I really hope we see them together again. While I would put her role in Raavanan as her best this year, Guzaarish is a close second.

Shernaz Patel was great as Ethan’s lawyer friend Devyani Dutta and Aditya Roy Kapoor was acceptable as magician wannabe Omar Siddique, who comes to Ethan for help learning magic. And two small roles for Monikangana Dutta as Ethan’s assistant and (especially) Rajit Kapoor as Devyani’s rival in court.

Guzaarish is not an easy film to watch – euthanasia is still a taboo subject. Here in America and I guess in India, as well, but what is art for if not for exploring the edges of morality. Where else can we play out a story like this?

There are more individual scenes and things – the smoking, the religious imagery – I would love to discuss but I’ll save it for later, after more people have seen the film and can join in, or until after I swirled them around in my mind some more.

“Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is phenomenal” (Akshay Shah Review)
Sanjay Leela Bhansali started his careeer with a critically acclaimed flop with KHAMOSHI-THE MUSICAL, however with the film he quickly established himself as one of the most interesting directors to have emerged in Indian cinema with the ability to extract superlative performance, mindblowing music and surreal visuals. His consecutive films HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM, DEVDAS and BLACK established him not only as one of India’s top film directors but also a director able to deliver box-office hits. Then in 2007 came Bhansali’s new love story SAAWARIYA. The film was slammed heavily by critics and opened poorly at the box-office. Trade experts and analysts were harsher than expected and Bhansali got the harshest reactions all around. However I felt a large part of it was unfair. Yes SAAWARIYA was a indulgent film with definite narrative and pacing issues and an over-dose of blue shade in the camera-work, however despite the flaws the film was a opulent visual journey which was worth a watch for the technical aspects and Ranbir’s performance alone.

With GUZAARISH it seemed like Bhansali was going back to his forte with a sensitive story and big cast with Hrithik Roshan and Ashwariya Rai Bachchan reuniting after DHOOM 2 and JODHAA-AKBAR. So does the film live up to expectations? Not 100%, however this is a film that is certainly not to be missed and is worth the price of admission alone for some sparkling performances, poignant moments, and a director, who more often than not, hits the right notes in the dramatic and emotional scenes with a visual flair that is mesmerising at the best of times.

Like Bhansali’s previous films GUZAARISH has a novel and brave theme beautifully portraying a wide range of emotions. Love and caring; frustration and angst; helplessness and joy; anger and exhilaration are all presented with such finesse and perfection that it is difficult to visualize as to how these emotions could have been better depicted on the screen. Before the release there was rumours that a film has been inspired from a whole host of films including THE PRESTIGE and THE SEA INSIDE, from the former can be totally dismissed, there is not a shred of doubt that Bhansali and Bhavani Iyer have clearly taken more than inspiration from THE SEA INSIDE and compared to the original this doesn’t come close.

The film revolves around Ethan Mascerenhas (endearing Hrithik) once a celebrated magician, presently a quadriplegic RJ who inspires thousands through his show also penned a book titled ‘Learning to Fly’ in his conditions; now seeking grant from the court about appeal of his own mercy-killing. He is on dialysis, his liver is malfunctioning, his condition is only worsening and so his suffering. He wants it to end, with dignity. He even launches a radio- show calling ‘Project Ethanasia’ for votes from his audience gathering public support so that court will have to listen to his plea.

He is looked after by Sophia (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) who is supposed to be Ethan’s nurse, but their’s is a relationship far deeper than words can ever portray. How Ethan goes about getting his final wish (Guzaarish) forms the crux of the film.

The story is an odd mix of one man’s fight for his own right to free himself from suffering merged with an oddball comedy showcasing the kind of romance we just don’t see in Hindi Cinema these days, though the story is undeniably the weakest link of this film as one feels the first half and second half don’t come together as well as they should’ve.

GUZAARISH is a rare film about dying and death which remains thoroughly optimistic throughout. Rather than being a film about “dying”, it’s a film about “living”! Nagesh Kukunoor also attempted a similar theme recently with his film AASHAYEIN which was also about the plight of a dying man tackled in a positive manner, however the film simply didn’t connect with the viewer whhich GUZAARISH for the most, clearly does.

I enjoyed GUZAARISH more than I expected. Bhansali’s flaws from his previous films like having an heavily operatic and staged approach to the emotional sequences are evident in GUZAARISH too, however I thought that this is a film that goes beyond the staging into an arena of real raw emotions. Certain scenes not only hit the mark, but completely surprise the viewer with their sensitivity and emotion. Despite a huge blunder with SAAWARIYA, Bhansali hasn’t changed his style entirely or done any drastic changes.

Though the film is set in Goa, Bhansali as expected, goes overboard with the visuals. Thankfully this isn’t a fully blue sepia toned film like SAAWARIYA (which in my view was visually fantastic but after a point one wished for another tone) and as expected, this is a visual delight from Bhansali where the viewer is in for a journey rather than just “watching a movie”. GUZAARISH also doesn’t alienate the viewer completely with it’s settings and surroundings like SAAWARIYA, rather than creating an alternate world, here Bhansali takes a real world and adds his own visual touch. Yes, questions like why does Hrithik stay in a old-fashioned palace which looks like it’s in the middle of no where from another era have been raised, however that’s just a Bhansali thing. He’s a director who needs his visuals to aid the story-telling more than other directors, and while it may seem strange at first, once the viewer is embroiled in the film, the visualness becomes part of the journey here rather than something which is constantly sticking out. Bhansali also manages to bring a certain sense of “magic” to all his films and again that’s evident here in GUZAARISH. I don’t mean literally either as the film is about a dying magician. The film does have it’s share of flaws too. Despite the pacing overall (which in my view is a given for any Bhansali film), one feels that the focus should’ve shifted focus more in the second half on the Ethan-Sofia love story. The scenes about Euthanasia are well done and despite highly implausible court-room drama. Also some of the relationships with the superb supporting cast could’ve been fleshed out more. The second half also doesn’t lack the impact of the first. The film loses some momentum, and the finale looks overtly staged at times and the “group hug” sequences raised some “uh huh” laughs as well as genuine. Also one expecting a hard-core serious film on Euthanasia will be disappointed. Bhansali takes the theme and weaves it into his world and style of story-telling which won’t work with everyone and won’t connect with everyone either. However Bhansali here doesn’t depend on staged and manipulative emotions here as much as say BLACK or SAAWARIYA which really works in the films favour.

Bhansali’s treatment of Euthanasia is without any melodrama whatsoever and this heightens the impact. Even the last scene is reminiscent of another Hrishikesh Mukerjee film: MILI; you know what is to follow, but still are left with the faint trickle of wishful optimism.

The performances in the movie are no doubt the crux and back bone of the film.

Hrithik Roshan surprised me looking like a mix between an eccentric magician and Jesus. The promos indicated to me that he had been given a character which was clearly out of his depth, and I still stand by that, however he manages to get into the skin of his character for the most and delivers what is arguably one of the finest performances in his career. The character of Ethan needed to retain a certain sense of positivity, happiness and radiant charm for the film to really work given it’s glum theme, and Hrithik, which his almost child-like quality oozing the same sort of charm and appeal as he did in say KOI MIL GAYA, ensures that the viewers are constantly smiling. There are sequences where I felt he had gone slightly over-board with his expressions and others where he was clearly out of his depth as an actor, however what works for Roshan in his favour here is that he blends in with Bhansali’s warped and eccentric sense of the character rather well. There is a certain element of mystery to Ethan which both Roshan and Bhansali together bind together superbly and the nervous twitches and awkward facials actually “work” in a relative sense in this world. However it’s the more silent and quiet scenes in the film which work even better, and this is where Hrithik really surprises. He often manages to surpass expectations and his silence speaks volumes where not always expected. His rendition of IT’S A WONDERFUL WORLD and the entire sequence is simply remarkable. After the disaster of KITES, this is no doubt a feather in Hrithik’s cap and he redeems himself.

In some ways, Bhansali attempts to reconstruct a part of Roshan’s image. Here Roshan is confined to the bed for most of the film, through flash-backs we get to see him as the worlds best magician and there Hrithik brings in his usual star-power and dancing prowess, however these scenes are short and few in between. In my view, the gamble pays off.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is phenomenal here. This is without a doubt Rai’s best performance in recent times (I preferred this to RAAVAN and despite a flop with ACTION REPLAYY she strikes back with a performance that will have even the most tough-to-please critics stand up and take notice. Her act here reminded me a lot of the same Ash I saw in RAINCOAT (a film I loved). It’s a deeply complex character, mature, sensitive, feisty, funny and emotional and not once does Aishwarya disappoint. Graceful, elegant and absolutely mesmerising beautiful, Aishwarya’s Sofia D’Souza is the finest performance of the year, and for me, she was the heart and soul of GUZAARISH. Without a shred of doubt, my favourite performance from a leading actress in 2010 thus far.

Ethan and Sofia’s is a unspoken love story which has been building for 12 years. Despite Hrithik being bed-ridden for most of the film, the film has strong sexual overtones and dialogues. This is very easily one of the most evocative and romantic films I’ve seen in recent years. Their scenes together are simply brilliant and they exude wicked chemistry which in my view is superior to DHOOM 2 and JODHAA-AKBAR.

Aditya Roy Kapoor surprises again after ACTION REPLAYY. Giving us a glimpse into what Ethan may have been like in his younger years, Kapoor is energetic and charming and hits all the right notes in a stellar role. The boy has a bright future in Hindi cinema if he continues to choose the right roles.

Shernaz Patel is simply fantastic! She leaves her mark in each and every scenes and hits all the right notes. Suhel Seth is great too. Makrand Deshpande makes his presence felt in a brief, and somewhat unecessary part. His scene comes out of nowhere and doesn’t have the required impact, should’ve been left at the chopping board. Nafisa Ali is excellent. Monikangana Dutta is just about OK

I found the music of the film a real let down. The songs just don’t elevate the proceedings and never achieve the level of melody one expects here. With a better soundtrack, GUZAARISH could’ve been elevated further which isn’t the case.

Technically the film is a visual splendour as one expects. Sumit Basu’s art direction and Sudeep Chatterjee’s surreal camera work deserve distinction marks. I should add here, by now Bhansali has evidently got his own style. Whether one likes GUZAARISH is dependant on what one thinks of Bhansali’s style of film-making. On one hand it’s evident Bhansali is going to make the film exactly as he wants it (box-office be damned) and that alone may alienate a large part of movie-goer’s who’re probably more attuned to a GOLMAAL 3 or DABANNG. GUZAARISH will have to rely on word-of-mouth to work it’s magic at the box-office

All up GUZAARISH is a welcome comeback from Mr.Bhansali. I still prefer HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM or BLACK to GUZAARISH, however this is an uniquely, engaging, romantic, and emotionally driven performance based drama which despite it’s flaws, is not one to miss.

“Aishwarya’s portrayal of Sofia is one which she will be remembered for a long time” (Yusufpoonawala.com Review)
Post the 2007 dud, I used to always wonder, whether the genius in Bhansali would survive the debacle and bounce back or whether it would move onto ‘the dark side’ of narcissism and tread onto a path wherein everything the maker thinks has to be ‘wonderful’ or ‘mind blowing’ which has often lead to many a creative geniuses go astray?

Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik), also known as ‘Merlin’ in the world of magicians, due to an act gone wrong, suffers a near fatal accident which leaves him as a quadriplegic. With the will of a fighter, he has for 14 years been living his life as an author and radio jockey for a show called ‘Radio Zindagi’ wherein he influences people on the virtues of living. He is ably assisted in this lifestyle by is loyal nurse of 12 years, Sofia (Aishwarya). Suddenly one day Ethan requests his best friend Devyani (Shernaaz) to file an appeal for his mercy killing. After all persuasion by Dr. Nayak (Suhel Seth) fails, Ethan still goes ahead with the petition only to have it dismissed by the Judge (Vijay Crishna). In the meanwhile, he is approached by Omar Siddique (Aditya Roy Kapoor), an aspiring magician, childhood fan, wanting to learn Ethan’s magic.

Taking a complex story and presenting it in such a simple narrative is one of the signs that the genius called Bhansali is back. His creation of Ethan’s world is not only restricted to the sets of his gothic house. Like the prosecutor, you do feel the angst, the suffering which has become Ethan’s life. The set design of the house reminds one of the manner in which Tim Burton always presents his principle character, in a gothic, dark environment, but yet adding life to it all. Sudeep Chatterjee’s cinematography is to die for. Be it his panoramic shots or the stage performances, he captures everything in such a serene manner. The dialogues by Bhavani Iyer & Vibhu Puri are easy on the ears, although quite a lot are in colloquial English, which might not be so well appreciated by the masses, but as I have seen in certain recent films, as long as the audience is able to connect with the characters on screen, language is never a barrier.

The screenplay by Bhavani Iyer and Bhansali is simple, no extra shenanigans, no independent tracks, just a single minded focus on Ethan’s wish and his journey towards it’s fulfillment. Does get fulfilled or not?

Bhansali joins the league of filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Kishore Kumar, Vishal Bhardwaj of film directors cum music directors. This film should put all skeptics at ease, because just like Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, the music grows on you infectiously. The numbers that strung a beat in my heart were the title track by K.K., ‘100 gram zindagi’ by Kunal Ganjawala, and ‘jaane kiske khwaab’ again by the ever gifted K.K.

In terms of performances, Rajit Kapur as the prosecutor is very good. Nafisa Ali in a cameo breaks your heart with such poignancy in her performance. The frustration of a friend, who cannot bear the suffering of her best friend yet has to carry on with his will by Shernaaz Patel is as good as it gets. Vijay Crishna as the judge is commendable. Suhel Seth as Dr. Nayak is terrific. One can see in his eyes the frustration that he goes through as a doctor who cannot relieve his patient of his suffering, yet have to smile. Aditya Roy Kapoor is a live wire in the film. He presents a certain uncertainty in his character throughout, which always makes you wonder, what next will he be upto? Monikangana Dutta, Sanjay Lafonte and Makarand Deshpande are good in their roles.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, looks beautiful. Mind you, not sexy, beautiful. She emits such grace, have never seen a better usage of her eyes in a film in her entire career. She gives the film that touch of elegance. Her portrayal of unrequited love, a love that has no future is so sensitive, so fragile. Authoritative yet submissive, her portrayal of Sofia is one which she will be remembered for a long time.

That leaves us with the last 2 pillars of this film.

I have been telling people since the first promos came out that irrespective the fate of the film, this will be Hrithik’s best performance till date and possibly ever. He doesn’t let you down. That one shot in the first promo of ‘Udi’ when he laughs aloud seeing Sofia dance, conveyed so much. Imagine that same range, that same intensity throughout this 2 hour film. It would have been a great challenge for him to accept a role where he can’t fight, can’t dance, can’t walk. So the total focus has been his face and his voice. Both assets, well used by him. Be it his motivational speech in the auditorium, the authoritative teaching of Omar, the helpless smile when his mother comes to visit him etc. etc. The movie is full of Hrithik’s first rate, fantastic, superlative yet restrained performance. Lying on the bed, he presents you with humour, anger, humiliation, frustration, fear all through his eyes.

So, has the genius returned, yes and how. What a better way to silence all your critics than with this product. SLB shows once again that the 2 ½ years invested by him in this labour of love were worth every second. His portrayal of Ethan’s house, huge, decorated but yet cold, makes you really feel what Ethan goes through. He has not only written a good script (leave aside the fact that it seems loosely inspired from ‘Whose life is it anway?’), but presented it in such a beautiful package that makes you want it to keep on going. I am willing to stick my neck out that it will be a clean sweep again for SLB, HR, AR & maybe ARK at all the award ceremonies next year.

There are a few scenes which were really brilliant, the stroke of the genius that SLB is, like:

– Ethan teaching Omar
– Sofia & Devyani’s argument (such a brilliant scene)
– Ethan’s accident
– Ethan & Sofia’s ‘Love’ scene J
– Ethan’s helplessness when Sofia is attacked
– Ethan’s interaction with Isabel (sure to tingle every parent’s heart)
– Isabel’s testimony in the court
– Sofia’s outburst in the court
– The party

But the scene which takes the crown, is the funeral with Ethan singing. This one is sure to get out the tissue boxes, for guys and girls alike.

I am not one moved by mushy scenes on screen, neither am I cold hearted, yes scenes like the prize distribution in TZP or scenes from Black did move me, but never in my life have I ever cried, and left the cinema with such emotions, that I could not talk without crying till the next half an hour.

Inspired by such beautiful poetry in motion, here is a humble attempt at one

Poetry is beautiful.
Cinema is magic.
Creating poetry in the magic of cinema is aspirational,
Missing out on Guzaarish, will be tragic.

What better way to celebrate love, especially one’s 10th wedding anniversary.

“Aishwarya Rai’s most successful star turns” (Satyam Shot Review)
In a way Bhansali over-learnt the Saawariya box office lesson in Guzaarish. The operatic instincts this director has struggled with throughout his career have resulted in a fairly uneven set of films where the blend of linear narrative and hyper-stylized visual form has usually been a work in progress. These efforts have seemed overwrought, featuring the atmospherics of grand opera without necessarily the passions associated with the genre. From his earliest Khamoshi through his transitional Devdas his meandering narratives often undid his signature strengths, with Black he perhaps found what is to date his best marriage between intent and form (though Bachchan’s triumphant and really over-powering presence here can scarcely be overlooked.. a star who could provide Bhansali’s operatic vehicle with grand presence and grand passion at one and the same time) but it is with Saawariya that the director really came closest to realizing the ‘logic’ of his concerns than anywhere else. The overt theatricality and ‘staging’ of the film’s dreamscape coupled with its Broadway musical time-scheme offers the best index of Bhansali’s vision despite its somewhat insipid narrative. Possibly the hysterically negative reaction the latter received in every sense forced Bhansali to back track quite a bit. Guzaarish is his most even narrative with the exception of Black, a film where the classic Bhansali tension is far less apparent. Regrettably, and ironically, the strengths of this work are also achieved at the cost of Bhansali’s usual formal elan. By his standards the director has made a quieter, much more restrained work but it is also one that seems starved of oxygen sometimes. Almost as if the director were constantly looking over his shoulder at Saawariya. Inasmuch as he perhaps tried to avoid the latter he should also have cast fresher eyes on Black. This in effect was the kind of film Guzaarish could have been but is not. To the degree that Bhansali has constantly sought ‘un-Indian’ inspiration in these last three films of his from Black (Miracle Worker) to Saawariya (Dostoyevsky’s White Nights but really Visconti’s film version of the same) to Guzaarish (The Sea Inside with an admixture of the Prestige) he has at least managed to create newer (albeit ‘neverland’) worlds with the material. Irrespective of the inspirations one could not really think these films looked like anything else. Not so with Guzaarish where Bhansali plays it safe. He borrows far too much and is not quite the magician to give it new life. For all this Guzaarish is actually one of his better films all round, certainly very accessible as a narrative but it is also less interesting that some of its predecessors, ultimately far less vital than it might have been. It is not a film to dislike even if one does not enjoy it. It is also not one that particularly stirs. Guzaarish is perhaps a Khamoshi-like effort Bhansali might have made with the experience of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and a great deal of the narrative fat cut out from both films but it is not the heir to Black or Saawariya.

There are definitely triumphant moments in Guzaarish. The magic sequences with the younger Ethan are superbly handled and even if derivative (Prestige, Illusionist) are still the film’s most entrancing ones, not least in a formalistic sense and including the staging of the ‘accident’. Similarly some of the ‘little’ scenes from the raindrops falling on Ethan’s forehead and his inability to avoid them to his insistence that his nurse smash a vase for his anger to find expression. There are such genuine instances of emotion in the film. Bhansali however never allows this sort of element to become the defining feature of his work and keeps getting distracted with major and minor subplots. The magician’s apprentice was simply not needed, nowhere is Ethan shown very interested in furthering his legacy except when the apprentice shows up. There is beyond this never enough of a relationship developed between the two. By the time a twist is revealed at the end that too seems absurdly forced. Along the same lines Ethan’s former assistant and love interest pops out of nowhere only to be cast into narrative oblivion as quickly. Sofia’s abusive husband weirdly decides to complicate things twelve years into his wife’s unusual lifestyle choice. The courtroom sequences though dramatically effective take up far too much time in this relatively short film and seem implausible. Ethan’s mother interrupts the proceedings from time to time without any very good reason. In general certain vestiges of a much more commercial format creep into this film from time to time. It is not that the narrative ever gets derailed but that with every such move a great bit of the film’s characterizations are lost and what could certainly have amounted to its cumulative emotional strengths is sacrificed. Most strangely and perhaps in another instance of Bhansali not being too sure about his audience the ‘suicide’ that is the very raison d’etre of the film is completely effaced at the end. Instead we are left with a happy family reunion of an ending with its parallel wake moment beyond which no one need see the messy business of mercy killing. There is some unintentional black humor here mixed with a more standard teary-eyed farewell. Bhansali’s indulgences in recent films have not been of this sort. He has not been distracted in quite this manner. Guzaarish hearkens even in this sense to his earlier films. But those works promised far less than this one to begin with. Here the director had a lot of elements in place and just needed to concentrate on the ‘basics’. With the choices he has made however even his leads seem to be at the head of a procession of characters as opposed to being the engine of his film. Once more to the extent one is disappointed with Guzaarish it is not because one does not like what is on display but one senses the far greater possibilities that were compromised, not least when one compares it to its obvious inspiration, the Sea Inside, a film it is inferior to by an order of magnitude.

But it is not only the detours that unhinge this film even if in almost imperceptible ways. Hrithik Roshan’s central performance is also a very scattered one where the actor is off key on several important occasions. Admittedly Roshan has always been more ‘star’ than ‘actor’ but he might have exhibited greater control and evennness than he does here. It is a very earnest effort in many ways and this unfortunately shows as does Roshan’s inability to enact many shades of this character. One is for example a bit surprised to discover intonations from his Koi Mil Gaya character in some of the introductory portions. In a different sense his attempts at anger and frustration seem quite over the top. In Jodhaa-Akbar Hrithik did far better because Gowariker established a correspondence between Hrithik ‘the star’ and the received, romantic image of Akbar the emperor. To be impressed by the star in the film was to feed one’s mythologization of Akbar. Of course Gowariker’s film for all its own narrative messiness was a historical romance. The decision therefore paid off. But here in Guzaarish just the star will not do. Bhansali rather consciously renders Hrithik as Jesus and this offers a clue to the difficulties of this character. Jesus remains opaque to the historical record and therefore cannot be an adequate model for any sort of performance or ‘character’ (a question incidentally that Dostoyevsky struggled with quite a bit). Unless of course the part is that of Jesus! It is as if Bhansali would sometimes like Ethan to be a Jesus-type, an ideal sufferer, and sometimes a real ‘secular’ flesh and blood character with lots of negative emotion. For all this Hrithik manages to be endearing for most of the film and somehow takes one through the narrative. This happens because the star’s greatest strength has been his ability to play off a more vulnerable self. His father has always masterfully chaneled this aspect of his persona. Elsewhere the star has far less interestingly resorted to preening. Guzaarish allows Hrithik for all his limitations to operate in that space of vulnerability and at least aim for a more ‘sincere’ performance. In effect the star does make ‘contact’ with the viewer in significant ways but this is not of the order of an adequate performance let alone the ‘great’ one many of the reviewers have imagined it to be.

As a contrast this is one of Aishwarya Rai’s most successful star turns. It might not even be hyperbolic to state that she is possibly the film’s most ‘authoritative’ presence. More in control of her skill set and her signature than Hrithik, more effective than anyone else in the film. The film might have sunk without her foil. Even as Hrithik is expectedly impressive as a magician and especially with the choreography where he arguably delivers some of his best career moments it is ultimately Aishwarya’s ‘mime’ and dance in ‘Udi’ that are even more mesmerizing. This is truly a star at the height of her powers.She has over time developed a formidable star signature and has deployed it with increasing potency in a number of films. Guzaarish adds an impressive chapter to a career which even if it is has never had the ‘infinite variety’ of the pure actress seems nowhere close to being ‘withered’ with ‘age’. It would not be too harsh to state that Aishwarya is what Hrithik has been unable to become so far.

The one decision that Bhansali gets absolutely right in the film is to use only snippets from his rather dull and meandering soundtrack and mostly as part of the background score. Except for the ‘Udi’ number. Yet he perhaps goes a bit too far by not allowing more than a moment or two even from the title track. All of this along with a greater reliance on ‘silence’ again makes for a quieter Bhansali soundtrack than any of his previous efforts where even in the otherwise admirable Black the score was simply ‘too much’.

Finally one could argue with the oddly ‘period’ setting of the interiors or the lack of interplay between the vast spaces of Ethan’s grand residence (which incidentally makes his condition seem far less claustophobic than it otherwise might have been.. again the oppressiveness of Bhansali’s past visual choices would have served this film well) and the almost non-existent ‘outdoors’ of this film (so much of the work is about the character’s inability to break free of his immediate surroundings and yet the viewer must have a sense of what the character has really been missing.. one of many things the Spanish film does extraordinarily well). There are other ‘trifles’ to be picked here as well but those do not get to the heart of this work’s ‘problem’.

This might seem like a very critical piece on a film that I actually liked quite a bit and believe to be one of Bhansali’s better efforts. But a film must be judged by the possibilities it misses out on based on the premises it has set up. I would hesitate to call Guzaarish an unsuccessful film even allowing for everything I have just discussed. However, it is certainly one that settles for far less than it might have. And more crucially Bhansali’s restraint though understandable in the wake of Saawariya has not led him to the optimal set of choices given his instincts and his history and equally the ‘needs’ of his subject. Guzaarish is still a film I would rather see than most others from this director but I also await a better compromise than this to follow up on Black and Saawariya.

“Visionary Bhansali Offers Up a Film For Posterity” (Indiawest.com Review)
Films, as every sane Hindi film industry member says, are primarily about entertainment. And when messages come packaged in it — in an effective manner — they are welcome. And films are also about return of investment to keep the industry thriving.

But every once in a while, the second rule can be broken for the purpose of deeper cinema that grips the thinking (and by that I emphatically do not mean only intellectuals!) and warmer human beings in the audience. These are the films that may not get back the cost, or make thin profits. These are the exceptions that prove the rule. For cinema like “Guzaarish,” if made by a sensitive, sensible and visionary filmmaker like Sanjay Leela Bhansali, just has to be made.

You come out of the movie hall enriched, enlightened and evolved, moved and — certainly — not bored or depressed but cheered!

That “Saawariya” was an aberration (okay, “Devdas” was not a great film either) is amply proved, as the genius behind “Khamoshi – The Musical” (1996), “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” (1999) and “Black” (2005) is back to his peak form.

We begin by talking about Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s genius in the new terrain he’s entered — the music score. To say that it is sublime, ethereal and a textbook on how a film’s soundtrack should be is an understatement: this is the score that deserves every music award in the business this year.

In one stroke, the natural, untrained musical genius has proved what sluggards our present top-line and lesser music concocters are, who take fees in crores for dishing out substandard fare. For Bhansali and his newbie lyricists Turaz and Vibhu Puri (also the film’s co-writer) prove that passion and commitment to the subject, quality and esthetics is the prime requisite for great music.

One small complaint: the ten original tracks, (there is also Hrithik’s own recorded rendition of an English song under Bhansali’s supervision) are not really exploited well on-screen, where he has preferred to give prominence to his story unlike in the album where it’s sheer bliss, and this may additionally affect the film’s business prospects and more important, the soul quotient. But there is a bit of a compensation coming from Tubby-Parik’s background score, which is fabulous.

Over now to the film itself: the first half, where Bhansali sets the atmosphere, characters and mood, is sheer poetry on celluloid in content (story and narration, superb dialogues, unforgettable sequences and nuanced performances) and packaging (superb frames lensed by Sudeep Chaterjee, those gorgeous interior settings, the mood lighting and the astoundingly-shot and choreographed magic sequences never seen before on celluloid). Long before the interval, you have already permeated the world of Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan), magician extraordinary, an internationally recognized and honored celebrity with titles and books written by him, now a quadriplegic confined for 12 long years to his bed in the room of his castle-like mansion in Goa.

Ethan was in love with his assistant Estella (Monikangana Dutta) when it all happened — an accident during a magic track led to a horrible fall and injury. He has advised her to marry, and persuaded his own mother (Isabel) to live away from him to avoid the two women suffering by watching him in pain. Even when unable to do anything from his tooth-brushing to swatting at a fly that sits on his nose, Ethan operates as a radio jockey from his room, advising people on how to live life to the fullest, nurture relationships and trust God during bad times.

Ethan’s support system is extraordinary too, like him. For 12 long years, from daybreak to bedtime, Sophia (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) has been his nurse, fully dedicated to the point of neglecting her husband and personal life, brushing his teeth, bathing him, attending to the bedsores and even vocally pretending to get physical when he feels aroused with groans and gasps to match his exclamations! Such is their perfect understanding that somewhere, love has flowered for each other in both.

Ethan’s second pillar is best friend and confidante Devyani (Shernaz Patel), who is his lawyer too. Then there is Dr. Naik (Suhel Seth), who is helping him deal with his body systems that are gradually failing, from kidneys to liver and more.

Soon, Ethan realizes that he will go painfully, rotting away. Though Indian laws do not permit mercy-killing, he asks a brokenhearted but compassionate Devyani to file a plea for euthanasia in court. Dr. Naik revolts, and a shocked and outraged Sophia is furious.

Predictably, one hearing is dismissed. But in a historic precedent, as his support system rallies for his cause and is boosted by Ethan’s mother (Nafisa Ali), the second hearing of the court appeal is held in Ethan’s house. Questions and issues are raised, not just about dying with dignity but about Ethan’s relationships. His radio listeners, with the exception of old flame Estella, oppose Ethan’s wish to go quickly.

As all this happens, Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor) has entered Ethan’s life. The personable young man has been Ethan’s fan since the age of 5, and wants to learn magic. Ethan decides to leave his legacy to Omar by training him, because he turns out to be the son of his best friend (Ash Chandler) of his young days. But there is a twist in Omar’s tale that packs a wallop.

The writing is fantastic (Bhansali has written the film with Bhavani Iyer and Vibhu Puri). In the poetic first half, Ethan tells Sophia in a crucial sequence in the first half, “God loves me so much so I want to meet him. In fact, I am dying to meet him!”

But the second half of the film is more like free verse — the script goes into multiple aspects rather than sticking to a straight rhythm, and there are flaws in the structure too — like avoidable melodrama at many points that is at variance with the subtle emotional punch of the earlier portions of the film, and aspects that add nothing significant to the story, like Hrithik’s mother’s death or the single appearance of Sophia’s husband (Makrand Deshpande).

Technically, since “Black,” the filmmaker has always gone in for a European look to his films (in terms of production design, lighting and DI) and this film is no exception, but a few brighter frames and a more Indian look (Goa after all is a part of India!) would have made a constructive difference. The magic sequences and their choreography are breathtaking.

Hrithik Roshan, once he gets into the groove, dances like a dream (his forte anyway) and his performance, while seemingly ordinary, is nuanced — like the expression in his eyes saying everything when he states, “I think that it is the applause I miss the most.” Looking his character, unhealthy and in (literally) bad shape, he is extraordinary.

Aishwarya depicts rare understanding of her complex character and looks what she is — a nurse. Jaded with life and her concern towards her patient, unable to express her feelings and also physically exhausted, Aishwarya too has a very non-starry look and body language that is at superb contrast with her real persona.

Aditya Roy Kapoor is brilliant, as he was two weeks ago in coincidentally yet another Aishwarya film, “Action Replayy,” and Shernaz and Suhel Seth make lasting impressions.

To sum up, “Guzaarish” is the creation of a man who has lent a new dimension to the term “filmmaker.” We hear that the film is inspired from a mix of a few Hollywood movies to which Bhansali has added his own bits, and that it has not opened well at the box-office. Never mind, some films are meant for posterity rather than instant success, and it is Bhansali’s own inputs that make it what it is.

UTV Motion Pictures’ & SLB Films’ Guzaarish Produced by: SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI & RONNIE SCREWVALA Directed by: SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI Music: SANJAY LEELA BHANSALI

Starring: AISHWARYA RAI BACHCHAN, HRITHIK ROSHAN, ADITYA ROY KAPOOR, SHERNAZ PATEL, SUHEL SETH, RAJIT KAPUR, VIJAY CRISHNA, MAKRAND DESHPANDE, ASH CHANDLER, MONIKANGANA DUTTA, NAFISA ALI, SANJAY LAFONT & others

“Amongst one of the best films of 2010″ (Bogeyno2.wordpress.com Review)
I am one of those people who needs to regularly engage in something to be good at it. Whether it is dance classes, or going to the gym, I need to commit to whatever I am doing and make a habit of it, so that eventually, I cannot live without said habit (good or bad!) Recently, time and circumstance have both conspired to make blogging difficult for me – not only did I end up missing a few films that I wanted to see (yes Action Replayy, I am talking about you amongst others) but I haven’t had a chance to write and have really missed it. And of course, the longer one does not do something, the more difficult it becomes to get back in routine.

So with Guzaarish, I was determined to see this film on the weekend of release and blog about it in a timely fashion. Half expecting the cinema to have a queue spilling out of it due to the release of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows – Part One (which I also can’t wait to see!), I got to the cinema a little earlier than usual only to find there was not a soul to be seen aside from the ushers, as HP was not showing here. I was also the first person to get a ticket for Guzaarish and I secretly hoped I would have the cinema to myself (it has happened once before when I went to see Lage Raho Munnabhai!) but I was joined later by a few people (though why in an empty cinema, they felt the need to sit in my line of vision is beyond me – and this meant I had to leave my warm seat and sit somewhere else!) Thankfully, they all kept quiet throughout the screening which in hindsight, was a good omen…

Guzaarish is the story of Ethan Mascarenas (Roshan), a magician who is paralysed from the neck downwards and is cared for by his beautiful nurse Sofia (Rai Bachchan). Despite being an inspiration to many, Ethan has a guzaarish (wish) which is to die when he wants to, to end his suffering. But he finds opposition, not only from the Indian legal system but also from Sofia who has given up her own life to care for him. Will Ethan get his guzaarish to die on his own terms and with dignity?

Sanjay Leela Bhansali (SLB) takes the audience into his own world and creates a place he seems to know inside out. The film is eloquent, well paced and has a nice flow to it so that despite a rather depressing premise, it is compelling and entertaining. What I particularly liked was the dark streak that runs through the film where the characters go to a dark place and explore it rather than work around it. Despite the odd (forgivable) cinematic liberty taken here and there, Guzaarish feels very real and is at once modern and timeless, both in its setting and as a film. It seems after over indulging himself with Saawariya, SLB has taken a step back and resisted the urge to go overboard (though his ambition still reaches for the skies) and as a result, we have pockets of opulence (styling being one example) but these don’t overwhelm the film – instead they add to the film’s appeal.

I thought the story flowed naturally and liked the way we were introduced to the film, seeing Sofia tending to Ethan as he wakes up on a particular day. I also liked the way the film remains character centric and touches on many topics but doesn’t go into depth on them – this is very much a film about Ethan rather than euthanasia and ties in with my earlier observation, where Guzaarish doesn’t go round the houses avoiding the issues it raises but goes straight through them. The only part I wasn’t too sure of were some of the flashback sequences – though it is great to see Hrithik performing contemporary dance, I think it would have been interesting to see what happens if the film hadn’t made this concession to appealing to a commercial audience – that is to say, if the viewer would have been left to imagine how Ethan reached his current position, the film would have been even darker and edgier. Having said that though, the flashback sequences don’t harm the film in any way.

The cinematography is amazing in the film with Ethan’s house looking like an oil painting at times. I also love how SLB plays with lighting in his films, especially candle light which he uses to stunning effect. I also liked the editing that kept the film moving along and neatly underscored key emotional moments in the story and I also loved the extreme close ups of Ethan and Sofia – Hrithik and Aishwarya step up to the challenge of showing off their talent in such shots rather than allowing their beauty to do the work for them and this is a satisfying result for the film and the viewer. I loved the other worldliness of the house and the grey/blue tones used in the film, I felt there were many subtle references to Black, Devdas and Saawariya but these were so slight and undercover, they never overtake Guzaarish‘s own individual stamp. I was in heaven with the styling of the film with Aishwarya looking amazing in Sabayashchi – I loved the peasant blouses which were modest and seductive at the same time (transparent sleeves and large cutouts on the back) and the long skirts which contained a variety of trims and patches (paisley, brocade) and I especially liked the red and black skirt that Aishwarya wore for the Udi song. I also loved Aditya Roy Kapoor’s wardrobe of print shirts, linen suits and separates teamed with chappals and the crazy curly afro. I thought his bow ties were a nice touch and the perfect foil to Hrithik’s wide tie and hankie in pocket look (which is what I would personally wear).

In terms of performance, everybody is on their A-game here. I’ll come to Hrithik shortly but first, I have to mention Aishwarya who after Raavan, gives another amazing performance as Sofia. I don’t what it is about Aishwarya but when she is with Mani Ratnam or Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the woman is unstoppable. She conveys Sofia’s strength and vulnerability with apparent ease and is also convincing in the clinical way she deals with nursing Ethan through day to day tasks. What I really liked about Aishwarya’s performance was that on the surface, it feels like she has little to do but but in fact, she does far more through her silence than her dialogue and I felt that she had inhabited the character entirely. Her chemistry with Hrithik is evident and she more than matches Hrithik’s prowress on screen which makes for a compelling film. I also thought she was very good in the Udi song, with a totally uninhibited dance performance and I have to say Aishwarya’s performance in this film might just be my favourite female performance this year.

Aditya Roy Kapoor is very good as Omar, making a very good impression inspite of Hrithik and Aishwarya being on top form. I felt he was very good as the foil to Hrithik,(who cannot move in the film) with a energetic and earnest vibe to his part, constantly moving and almost fidgeting to show how much nervous energy he has (which we realise is due to the fact he is Ethan’s rival’s son). I think Aditya has the talent and potential to follow in the footsteps of an Abhay Deol and carve out a little niche for himself in Hindi cinema and one hopes to see him in more films. Supermodel Monikangana Dutta gives a very good account of herself and projects a wonderful fragility which I was impressed by. I also thought Shernaz Patel, Nafisa Ali and Suhel Seth all gave excellent supporting performances, each becoming a three dimensional character in their own right rather than just part of the background.

As expected, the main plaudits for Guzaarish go to Mr Hrithik Roshan, who gives what I feel is the Best Male Performance in a Lead Role this year. Hrithik puts every ounce of himself into this role and is constantly challenged by every scene, a challenge which he meets and conquers with astonishing confidence. I was really pleased that Hrithik that took a risk with this role and that the risk pays off – right from the offset, this is not a Koi Mil Gaya where we will see the superstar and the actor – instead, we see just Hrithik the actor here, bringing Ethan to life and making him a lovable but flawed character. I loved that Hrithik could be vicious and tender in the same scene and I thought he was very convincing as a paraplegic, hitting just the right note to make Ethan belivable. My favourite scene was when rain drips from the roof onto Ethan’s head and no-one comes to help him. I thought Hrithik played the scene note perfect and conveyed Ethan’s frustration, helplessness and anger perfectly. It is no surprise that SLB and Hrithik have wanted to work with one another for a long time and the result is one of the best films of the year and a reminder that SLB, Hrithik and Aishwarya may all make the occasional wrong choice or questionable film but when they are in the zone, the combination is simply unbeatable.

I really enjoyed Guzaarish and think it is a film that will get better on repeat viewing and it is also a testament to the powerhouse performances that this film can be viewed again and again. In a recent conversation with a friend, she said she felt it is very important for a director to have a strong aesthetic sense and obvious as this is, whilst watching Guzaarish, this phrase kept running through my head. I love the bohemian sensibilities SLB brings to the table and his mixture of opulence tempered with tragedy, when concocted correctly, makes for a wonderful film.

Furthermore, Guzaarish is definitely amongst one of the best films of 2010, and deserves to do well, both at the box office and in the awards season. Also, there is nothing like a cracking film to inspire me to get writing and back into the swing of things – if anything, at least Guzaarish fulfilled my guzaarish….

“The perfectly cast Rai Bachchan demonstrates backbone as Sofia D’Souza” (The Hollywood Reporter Review)
Stylized, risky Bollywood film about mercy killing hits all the right emotional notes

EMERYVILLE, Calif. — Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansalihas always been willing to push viewers’ emotions as far as they can go to mixed results as his distinct storytelling and lavish visual style often veer toward the stagy and melodramatic. But his latest film, “Guzaarish (Request),” is restrained and powerful, moving the viewer with its poignancy from the very first frame.

Guzaarish may be mainstream Hindi cinema’s first film about mercy killing, but it’s also a film that is passionate and full of life. The pairing of Hrithik Roshanwith Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Bhansali’s devoted fan base are likely to drive impressive numbers to the box office.

Amid the lively greens and looming, ever changing skies of India’s coastal state of Goa, surrounded by glorious creation, we meet a young man who craves his own death. Former magician Ethan Mascarenhas (Roshan), paralyzed in a stage accident, has been immobile for 14 years. Although his acerbic wit and a good-natured sense of irony have served him well, and even inspired millions through books and a radio show called “Radio Zindagi” (“Radio Life”), Ethan is exhausted and ready to say goodbye.

The perfectly cast Rai Bachchan demonstrates backbone as Sofia D’Souza, a devoted nurse who is at first disgusted with Ethan’s request but gradually flowers into his most ardent supporter.

The film is packed with memorable scenes. In one, Ethan makes a dramatic courtroom demonstration for his case that euthanasia should be legal. “He’s condemned to live,” as one character pleads on his behalf. In another, a Catholic priest tries to dissuade Ethan from suicide, and receives an eloquent rebuke.

The remarkable costumes, by haute couture’s Sabyasachi Mukherjee, evoke the Portuguese influence on Goa with embroidered velvets, flowing skirts and bold, chunky semi-precious jewelry. The film’s location, a sprawling rural colonial villa, is an elegant character all its own. Guzaarish has only one drawback: a soapy musical score (by Bhansali himself) that occasionally threatens to overwhelm.

“Guzaarish truly is a visual treat” (Newslinemagazine Review)
Truly a creative genius, when he undertakes the task of movie-making, you can be sure Bhansali has control of every aspect of it. So, unsurprisingly in Guzaarish, he is the director-producer, music director and has co-written the screenplay – multi-tasking he’s done in many of his productions – with the addition of story writing, editing, and even choreographing as in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam!

Guzaarish opens with the nurse, Sophia (Aishwariya Rai Bachchan), conducting the daily ritual of bathing and changing the invalid Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan). The bed-and-wheelchair-ridden Ethan was the greatest magician of his time and had been bestowed with the title of Merlin until he met with an unfortunate accident – or rather a deliberate attempt on his life – which left him a quadriplegic. Sophia has been by his side since the incident. His other few companions consist of his two housekeepers, steadfast friend Devyani (Shernaz Patel) and devoted doctor, Nayak (Suhel Seth).

When we enter Ethan’s life, he has been paralysed for 12 years and his condition is slowly deteriorating. At this juncture, he shocks everyone by asking Devani (who is a lawyer) to file a petition for him in court for euthanasia.

The movie is largely about an invalid’s struggle, and his agonised plea (guzaarish) to all those who are near and dear to him, and to the court, for control of his own life – which in this case, ironically, means his death. Such a plea by a man who since his accident has been a motivational speaker for others who are physically impaired and runs a radio programme encouraging others like him to fight on sends shockwaves across the board. There are the initial responses of the state, society and Ethan’s close-knit circle of friends and family to whom euthanasia is inconceivable. As the movie progresses, however, attitudes towards Ethan’s plea change, and the varying standpoints on the issue are then played out.

The only weak part in the movie – and it is a lengthy one – is where Aditya Roy Kapur features as Omar Siddiqi, Ethan’s young protégé who wants to learn magic from the maestro himself. The exchanges between an eager Omar and an overprotective Sophie are enjoyable, but the scripting could have been worked upon to make Omar’s role a more significant part of the story.

However, there is much more in the film to enjoy. We get a glimpse of the very graceful Nafisa Ali as Ethan’s mother, and Shernaz Patel’s convincing performance demands that she be seen on the big screen more often.

Beyond the thought-provoking storyline, Guzaarish truly is a visual treat – and not only because of the elaborate sets or Goan landscape. Hrithik Roshan, whose fluid dance steps the eye is so accustomed to – and hooked on to – is (thankfully) not seen bed-ridden throughout. Flashback (dream) sequences show scenes from his heyday, with a display of acrobatic moves and magic and there is one ‘dance’ song, as seen in the promos, which Aishwariya Rai features in. So the movie is not completely bereft of the two dance sensations of Bollywood doing what they do best. Nonetheless, it is the lead pair’s acting that is the highlight of Guzaarish.

You have to see the film to feel and understand the message it conveys, to imagine the agony a man such as Ethan must be in: not able to shoo away a fly sitting or his nose, or move himself a fraction of an inch to avoid water dripping on his face from a leak in the roof or, worse, to be changed and washed by another.

The film adds to the ongoing debate about life and death and the right to choose.

“There would be no Guzaarish without Sofia” (Bollywood-passion.blogspot.com Review)
I have to admit it: I am a die-hard Sanjay Leela Bhansali-fan. I love all his movies, even the much criticized Saawariya, because he is a real artist and conveys emotions like no other in his works. I discovered Bollywood with his Devdas and I can assure you that you would need hundreds of lifetimes to find someone who loves this movie as much as I do. So yes, I am an ardent admirer of him and that was only natural that Guzaarish was my most-awaited film of the year 2010. I was really excited about it, all the more so as the topic it was to deal with was very sensitive and not easy to talk about. But I was confident. So did Guzaarish meet my expectations?

Well, let’s talk about the story first, it is set in Goa where lives one of the most acclaimed magician, Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan), an acclaimed but a crippled magician. He became a quadriplegic when several years ago, a dangerous magic trick turned wrong. He now tries to give hope to people through his FM station, ‘Radio Zindagi’, his joy and laughter make it difficult to imagine that this is a man who spent the last several years of his life in a wheelchair. Ethan finds much help and comfort in Sofia D’Souza (Aishwarya Rai), her faithful nurse, and shares with her an affectionate, trustful and deep bond.

However, someday and out of a sudden, Ethan summons his dear friend and lawyer Devyani (Shernaz Patel); the man who used to give hope and joy to others despite his own hardships, has decided to fill a case to the court for euthanasia, for “mercy killing”. It is a shock for the people around him, especially to Sofia who feels that this is a hard blow to their relationship. Devyani first hesitates but eventually understands her friend and decides to defend him. Among that confusion appears Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor) who considers Ethan to be the greatest magician ever. His only goal is to learn magic from him; impressed by his passion and enthusiasm for magic, Ethan accepts to pass on his legacy to him while he has to defend his right “to die”…

Let’s first speak about what hits your eyeballs first: the visuals. The sets are fabulous, they are a treat, and they scream beauty and elegance throughout. I feel they help to the symbolical side of the story, it is beautiful and elegant and yet it is empty, just like how Ethan’s life is. He lives in a big and beautiful house in which he cannot even move anymore. That is the grandness of the sets that can take the breath away of someone, but somehow one can also feel “emprisoned” just like Ethan. But that was not a bad thing for the story.

Well, how does the story go? The first half went by like a dream. Everything was filmed beautifully. One falls immediately into the story. I smiled with Ethan, I laughed in the scenes between Sofia and Omar. I cried with the characters. I felt Ethan’s immobility and emprisonment in this big mansion, this big place in which he cannot move. And as the movie flies, it deepens your thinking – especially through the court scenes. The big question that raises is this: do we have the right to decide over the life which belongs to somebody’s else, even when this person wants to die? Bhansali does not give us an answer, he does not really say that there is a good or bad way. In the end, it is Ethan’s own desire and will, and that is what matters the most.

All the emotions present work until the second half comes, and there the story simply stagnates. Usually everything is in their own and right deserved place in a SLB’s movies, and that is not the case with Guzaarish. There appears very disturbing plotholes. First, how was Ethan before his accident? You will get one or two songs where he is dancing and performing magic… No more than that. Oh yes, and one scene where he performs, dances and kisses an ex-girlfriend, who was her assistant before his accident, the latter that will tell him through the phone that yes, indeed, she agreed he should die. At that scene, she is married and has a new life. Why did she leave him? Because of his accident? Nobody knows and will ever know. Then suddenly we also learn that Ethan’s accident that made him crippled for life was the result of the betrayal from his former best friend, Yaseer Siddiqui. Why did he really do that? Jealousy? Once again… who knows? Then suddenly it is revealed (without any surprise when one sees the name) that Omar is the son of that very former friend. Ethan accepts it and says nothing. What was the use of revealing that? I do not know. What does it add to the story? I do not know either. One feels emptiness watching this movie, as if it was done with a shallow way. Unfortunately Bhansali did not give the topic and the movie the deepness that it deserved. Something was terribly missing.

So unfortunately, in terms of story, Guzaarish did not meet my expectations but I found the positive in the soundtrack and the performances. I used not to think much of the soundtrack when I heard the promos, but in the movie, they were in their perfect place. My heart goes to Udi, it was my favourite moment of the movie and showed even more deepness to the character of Sofia. (character that I just loved) To me, it is the most beautiful song of 2010, and probably the most beautiful cinematic moment of last year.

But what gives strong points to Guzaarish are the actors and their performances. Hrithik was amazing, people who say that it was the best of his career are not wrong. His face is so expressive, his eyes deep and one can feel his inner sadness so strongly. He portrayed the joyful and depressed shades of Ethan perfectly. Aditya Roy Kapoor gives the movie its light, most of the light moments were his. There was a frankness in his performance that I totally loved. But the special mention has to go to Aishwarya. That was her career best. She as Sofia was the soul of the movie. She was amazing and mindblowing, there were no flaws in her portrayal. There would be no Guzaarish without Sofia in my opinion. Sofia is a magical dream, she rises like a phoenix out of her ashes, blooms like a rose and is as mysterious as the smile of Mona Lisa. She seems to be another definition for the word woman. She is strong, level-headed, frank and a devoted friend.

The love-story between Ethan and Sofia was beautifully directed and portrayed. You do not see it, you feel it. Their love was so beautiful and spirited, it was quiet but so strong thanks their feelings.

Do you love Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s works? Then, watch Guzaarish but I would advice you to lower your expectations. That was my mistake, mine were too high and perhaps I do not like it as much as it deserves. But unfortunately, it cannot gain points from me when there are plotholes and that something is definitely missing. I felt the emotions but I was sometimes disconnected from the story. However, it is worth your time if you want to see a great performance from Hrithik and an Aishwarya at her absolute best. You will see beautiful scenes, but do not expect a perfectly executed movie. No matter how much a movie is technically perfect, if it has no soul, one cannot love it.

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