The One And Only

Di­rec­tor Anub­hav Sinha Star­ring Shah Rukh Khan, Ar­jun Ram­pal, Ka­reena Kapoor

India Today - - GLOSSARY - Kaveree Bamzai

Pataka? Item? Tota? An ac­tor throws around a few ca­sual words that mean a beau­ti­ful girl, un­til he hits upon one that en­com­passes all of the above: cham­mak

challo. Shah Rukh Khan’s su­per­her­ob­lue eyes light up, Ka­reena Kapoor’s red sari glows, and they start to dance to Akon’s song along with Rus­sian dancers in Bharat­natyam-in­spired mini-skirts. Yes, it’s that sort of a movie, where every­thing hap­pens all at once. Amitabh Bachchan does part of the voice-over; Ra­jinikanth’s Chitti, the Ro­bot, shows, Shah Rukh’s su­per­hero, how to twirl his sun­glasses; artist Su­bodh Gupta paints the cos­tume; and even pals San­jay Dutt and Priyanka Cho­pra act out a ju­ve­nile joke, play­ing char­ac­ters in a video game where the star can van­quish the sis­ters of Bruce Lee called Iski Lee, Uski Lee and Sabki Lee. Even as you cringe at Shah Rukh’s Tamil ac­cented Hindi and his eat­ing-curd-with-noo­dle act, hop­ing his curly wig will fall into his din­ner plate, you re­alise it’s a big party and ev­ery­one’s in­vited.

Wel­come to a movie as a gi­gan­tic open house. Shah Rukh is the host and he will make sure your VFX canapés are de­liv­ered at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals; your emo­tion gob­let is kept topped up; and there are enough hom­i­lies about be­ing care­ful-what-you-wish-for that you can take home as back presents. This is film­mak­ing not so much as no­ble pas- sion but as grand in­dul­gence, not so much as a marathon magic show but as an event to be staged. No ef­fort is spared. Shah Rukh walks side­ways on a Mum­bai lo­cal train, stops an en­gine with his bare hands, charges him­self with elec­tric­ity, even slaps his hero­ine’s butt and grabs her breast. In be­tween throw­ing cars at his arch neme­sis, re­cently es­caped from a video game; danc­ing like Michael Jack­son; and quot­ing V. Shan­taram, the su­per­hero moves be­tween the dig­i­tal and real world, Lon­don and Chen­nai, burial as Chris­tian and prayer as Hindu.

I pre­sume there is some les­son here about be­ing a global cit­i­zen, and Shah Rukh’s hy­per­ac­tive pre-teen fans will no doubt ben­e­fit from it, but it would have been more fun to see more Volk­swa­gens plough­ing through many more red buses. But yes, we know, this is a su­per­hero with a heart and ladai goliyon se

nahin, dil se jeeti jati hai. The spe­cial ef­fects work, but are not al­ways evenly ap­plied through the film. The cool me­tal­lic blue of the su­per­hero suit doesn’t show up on screen. And Ar­jun Ram­pal re­ally needs to stop clench­ing his teeth while de­liv­er­ing men­ac­ing di­a­logues. We are not scared be­cause we sim­ply can­not un­der­stand. Shah Rukh throws him­self about, vault­ing up and down build­ings, leap­ing through the air and even land­ing on his feet with Ka­reena Kapoor in his arms. In the face of such in­de­fati­ga­ble en­ergy, we sur­ren­der. Go on, Shah Rukh, give it a rest. In the words of your su­per­hero, you did good. —


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