The One And Only
Director Anubhav Sinha Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Arjun Rampal, Kareena Kapoor
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 G.one, 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. —
F I L M REVIEW