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Published May 10th, 2005 | by Raam Tarat

Waqt Review

Classification: PG Director: Vipul Amrutlal Shah Rating: 3.5/5

Waqt is Vipul Shah’s follow up to his three blind men rob a bank yarn “Aankhen”. Like Shah’s debut, Waqt is also adapted from a Gujarati stage-play, and translates well to the silver screen.

Bachchan had as many as nine releases in 2004, many said he was over-exposed, some said not utilised enough. Playing everything from a despondent father, to policeman, to ghost, to colonel, to major – a major you know what… General consensus seemed to be he was concentrating more on quantity than quality, and thus the Bachchan charisma we’ve all grown to know and love was wearing a little thin. Rest assured he’s back with a bang, first with Al Pacino-esque warblings in the fantastic ‘Black’ and now with a tour-de-force performance in Waqt.

Waqt is the story of Ishwar [Amitabh] and Sumi [Shefali] Sherawat, the parents of good-for-nothing hunk and wannabe actor Adi [Akshay]. The irony… Having come from the sticks himself Ishwar sees it fit to spoil his son rotten; whether this means chartering a plane so Adi can take Miss World’s to Rajasthan on a whim, or putting his zimmer-frame aside to go clubbing with him. On the other hand Sumi is a tad more indignant and despondent about her son.

The ‘Race Against Time’ by-line refers to Adi’s race to realise his own responsibilities as a son and adult, as well as Ishwar’s lack of time as an ageing patriarch. When Adi elopes with the proverbial eye-candy [Priyanka] the chutney really hits the fan. Thrown out of the house, and into the shed!?? Adi is forced to do menial tasks such as cleaning the house and helping out his pregnant wife. Clearing the lawn proves so morally degrading for him that he actually breaks down. And you thought you had it bad…

In his desperation he becomes a stuntman. As you do. As the director explains to him: “These dogs have been starved for days..” a teary-eyed Adi retorts: “ has my unborn child” after which he’s chased by a bunch of frothing rabid dogs, and mauled without a tetanus clinic in sight. Classic.

Waqt almost works as a prequel to Bachchan’s other family-hit Baghban, about how idle, spoilt and inconsiderate children of this generation can be… So Asian parents everywhere will no doubt be lapping it up.

This film is as original as tandoori chicken starters at a Punjabi wedding in Southall. A typical Bollywood movie, with more of the glitz, less of the masala – and it does what is says on the tin. Delivering glamour, drama, melodrama, ‘emotions’… with a Bachchan, Kumar and a Chopra thrown in for good measure.

A Bachchan movie through and through, he slaughters Akshay in their scenes together – chewing him up and spitting him out without remorse. He’ll no doubt keep his fans happy; playing yet another cool father-figure; shaking a leg [whilst fast beckoning a hip-replacement] and an unabashed tour-de-force of histrionics. For true Bachchan / Bollywood fans only.

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