Thriller puts up sparkling show

Hindi (U/A) ¬¬¬¬
Director: Atul Sabharwal
Cast: Arjun Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Prithviraj, Jackie Shroff, Tanvi Azmi, Amrita Singh, Sasha Agha

If you vaguely remember Atul Sabharwal as the writer of Phir Milenge or Darna Mana Hai, his debut as director of Aurangzeb will definitely ensure that you won’t forget his name in a hurry, this time round.

He is the brain behind what seemed like a rather mediocre fare, which surprisingly has turned out to be actually very good.

A story of avarice, corruption, land mafia and intriguing relationships linked to each other by blood, Aurangzeb is a tale that picks historical linkages and finds for itself a modern home in Gurgaon. It is a story which weaves in betrayal, love, longing and vendetta. Atul, also the film’s writer, has not only worked his way around the complexity of relationships but maintains a super-tight control as director.

Tough-talking Rishi Kapoor as DCP Ravikant along with his nephew Arya (Southern superstar Prithviraj) seeks to wipe out Yashvardhan (Jackie Shroff) — a gangster whose front is his real estate business. Since Vishal and Ajay are twins (Arjun Kapoor in a double role) the former is planted as Yashvardhan’s son Ajay, to dig up information on Yashvardhan’s business deals. While Ajay is kept captive by power-hungry cops, Vishal finds himself intrigued and absorbed by a father who turns out contrary to preconceived notions. As Vishal goes from being police informer to his father’s confidante and falls in love with his twin’s love interest, Ritu (Sasha Agha), the story undergoes a turn.  

There is more here than meets the eye and for once, revealing the rest would be doing the film grave injustice. Suffice to say, that Aurangzeb stays true to its ‘thriller’ genre. The two Kapoors (Arjun and Rishi) more than do justice to their roles while the women, Tanvi Azmi as the twins’ mother and Amrita Singh as Yashvardhan’s mistress and business controller, hold their own and how! Prithviraj comes up with a stunning performance as the cop Arya (and in a fantastic departure from his disastrous Hindi film debut Aiyya) caught between admiration for his beloved uncle and his duties as a police officer.

The film’s strength lies not just in its brilliantly understated performances but its fine editing (by Niraj Voralia) which laces the different threads and draws them into a seamless finish by the end. Definitely worth your time and money.

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