Danish (Dhanush), a mute whose childhood dream was to become a Bollywood actor, reaches Mumbai to fulfill his dream. He tries to enter the film city there, but gets stopped by the guards there. He trespasses the gate and comes across an Assistant Director, Akshara Pandey (Akshara Haasan), who is amazed by his acting. She approaches a director for requesting a role for Danish in a film, but the director refuses after he comes to know that Danish can't speak.
Danish and Akshara go to a voice hospital to get his check-up, but doctors declare his vocal chords are fully paralyzed and are unable to be treated. But, they assure him that with their advanced technology, Danish could have a 'voice transfer'. They fit a chip inside Danish's larynx with which a person could transfer their voice into the chip, and when the person would speak, the words will also come from Danish's mouth. They set out to search for a person who could speak for Danish every time, when they come across an old drunkard, Amitabh Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), lying on the footpath. Amitabh also wanted to become an actor but was rejected because of his voice.
Danish approaches the director again, who agrees to launch him this time, but wanted him to change his name. Danish searches for a name and concludes on Shamitabh (the combination of DaniSH and AMITABH), giving credit to the person who provided him with voice. Shamitabh makes a couple of movies and turns out to be a hit actor to which Amitabh realizes was only because of him and an ego problem between the two starts to rise. They both separate and start making their own movies, where Shamitabh plays the role of a dumb person and Amitabh dubbing the voice for another actor. Both movies end in a flop at the Box Office.
Akshara makes both of them realize they are nothing without each other and gets them together for yet another film, titled 'Sorry' which is directed by Akshara herself. Meanwhile, Akshara and Shamitabh tell that they like each other.
Amitabh and Shamitabh were happy about the success of their movie, but faced a fatal accident due to which Danish loses his life, and Amitabh's larynx damages completely making him unable to speak.
Shamitabh is praiseworthy to watch once for its plot, the quality of the acts and its technical bril !!
February 06 th, 2015
A long, scrawny, voice-less aspiring actor rides piggyback on a hypnotic, heavy baritone to super success in Bollywood: the premise of ‘Shamitabh’ is wonderful on many levels.
A peculiar idea that has several memorable moments with dollops of originality thrown in, Shamitabh oscillates from being super fun to overemotional. As long as there are smile through moments, courtesy the game of one supremacy between Amitabh Bachchan and Dhanush, Shamitabh brings in chuckles abundant. But, the places where emotions start running high and full-on drama is thrown in, Shamitabh ends up taking a different route altogether. Now if only Balki would have kept is as a mainly happy movie with laughs thrown in for good amount, Shamitabh would have been much bigger and pleasant than what it turns out to be.
An aged, mealy-mouthed, self-destructive alcoholic Amitabh Sinha (Bachchan) is a spent force, having been thwarted four decades ago in a bid to make it as a movie actor.
His rich baritone is the man’s only belonging that counts for anything and he still revels in mouthing lines from Mughal-e-Azam.
A young wannabe actor Danish (Dhanush) is the exact opposite. He is full of passion and ambition and wants to see his name up on the movie posters.
But he, too, suffers from an impediment. He does not have a voice – his vocal chord is paralyzed. But his dreams are unstoppable.
An enterprising and sympathetic assistant director Akshara (Akshara Haasan) gets the two men to collaborate. Danish gets a voice processor, and Amitabh gives words to his thoughts. As the Voice and the Face combine, a star is born.
The movie is pleasurable for a good part though, both in the first and the second part. One may find Dhanush's rise to fame a little too rapid. In fact it seems practically fantastical in the way it is narrated. But, Balki was perhaps making a statement on the current state of affairs where a '65 crore opening weekend' can raise a rank newcomer to become a darling of the masses and the media.
Well, Big B and Dhanush are creatively intermingled into the story of 'voice meets body' plot of Shamitabh, hence bringing in quite a few interesting episodes in the lives of '43% whiskey and 57% water'. Though it is a different matter that the character played by Amitabh Bachchan thinks otherwise but the ego between the voice and the body has its own complications set. Now whenever it is all light hearted, you do go with the flow.
This is when you miss Akshara who is really the most natural actor between the theatrics of Big B and melodrama of Dhanush. She makes a delightful impression right through the course of the movie and plays an Assistant Director to the T. Her dialogue delivery is unique. Akshara Haasan, in her debut, holds her own with an air of confidence that bodes well for the future.
On his part, Amitabh Bachchan is wonderful indeed, particularly when he demonstrates it all through his voice. But, his many solo scenes in the graveyard or otherwise (and trust me, there are many) start seeming repetitive after a while. While you are also reminded of his act in The Last Lear here, it is also seeming that Balki is in love with the man and is enjoying his fan boy moment by making Big B perform just for his eye.
In the meantime Dhanush showcases yet again, after Raanjhanaa, that what a good actor he is when it comes to internalizing the emotions of his character and then bringing them out in equal measure for screen. Just for his scene in the pre-climax where he delivers a monologue on 'paanch sach', Shamitabh is worth a watch.
As a matter of fact, the movie could well have been an even better watch had it ended right after this mighty powerful and meaningful scene. But, Balki decides to pick for an altogether different ending and extends the movie by 10-15 minutes.
But, all of that is forgotten for that priceless expression on Rekha's face when she interacts with Amitabh Bachchan. Now it is nuggets of brilliance like these that guarantee that you remember Shamitabh for all the smiles it brought in.
Shamitabh is embellished with great music (Ilaiyaraaja), some exceptional camerawork (P C Sreeram) and many remarkably skilful directorial touches.
‘Shamitabh’ had the potential to use satire and knowingness and a self-awareness, and the presence of the most strong star in Bollywood whose velvet-and-iron rumble has become part of the national soundtrack, to give us a remarkable tale of ego and identity, rejection and acceptance, success and failure. There are a few moments which sparkle, and we laugh in acknowledgement.
While Bachchan is indeed the selling point of the movie, Shamitabh might have benefitted had Balki gone a little easier on his fascination with the ageless megastar.
Overall, Shamitabh is praiseworthy to watch once for its plot, the quality of the acts and its technical brilliance.