Saturday, 22 November 2008


An awful tale not saved by a great climax...

As an unsuccessful singer, Deven Yuvvraaj (Salman Khan), has only one desire: to marry his girlfriend Anushka (Katrina Kaif). However Anushka will not be married unless her father, Dr. Banton (Boman Irani) gives his blessing for the union, something he is not willing to do. When Deven's wealthy father dies, he decides to make a contract whereby if he is not a billionaire within 40 days, then he will not marry Anushka. However this proves difficult for Deven when he discovers that all his father's wealth has be given to Deven's brother: Gyanesh (Anil Kapoor), a man with the mental capacity of a child.

There is an interesting story brewing in Yuvvraaj touching upon ides of wealth and family, and individual gain versus the collective. However while the story seems intriguing, especially with its orchestral music backbone, it is simply terribly executed. The script is a shocker and is infested with poor dialogue, poor story advancement, poor characterisations and this results in a mature theme being displayed in the most childish manner. As shown from the start of the film, the overall atmosphere one of immaturity, not because it is important to the context of the story, but because that is how it is being displayed. Even the direction is not great, resulting in some amateur cinematography. One such example is the first musical segment in which Deven is fantasizing about how he will catch the attention of his girlfriend and marry her. In this segment the audience is exposed to Salman Khan flying and Katrina's face being exposed over the sun and sky. It is all rather horribly conceived and does nothing except make a mockery of itself. Did countless love songs in Bollywood films not allow the protagonists to wish themselves off to extravagant locales such as Egypt and Switzerland while making their imagination seem real? These are what is expected of love songs, not some poorly edited scenes you'd expect in a child's programme. And so it becomes difficult to relate to any character because nothing is well executed. However this is not to say that the film's story is entirely bad. There are brief moments throughout that base themselves in the maturity if the film's themes, and the second half picks up on this. Yet it is the final 20 or so minutes that are a wonder to watch, and also shows how pitiful everything before it really is.

Acting is pretty substandard, mainly because of how childish everything everything is and because of how often it is difficult to truly understand a character feelings and actions because their depth is vastly limited. Salman Khan is convincing when he is is in a position to be conniving but his attempts at love are not. Zayed Khan spends most of his time overacting, but when he does get the right balance of emotion he pulls it off well enough. Katrina Kaif has a delightful role and is adequate to her task though it is a pity that she has still received a rather limited role. It'll be interesting when she land a more prominent role in future films. Kaif, like the other actors, are nonetheless eclipsed by the ardent experience of Anil Kapoor with the portrayal of a grown man whose mental growth remains that of a child is really good. The realism he brings to role is a complete contrast to the rest of the cast, albeit Ms. Kaif, and this is perhaps why the others appear so incapable that that are ultimately caricatures. While Kapoor's performance doesn't lift the film from mediocrity it is definitely worth a watch.

The musical score is pretty impressive at times. There are songs which really hit all the right notes and then there are a few others which don't. Regardless the score is not the most accessible which doesn't help the film at all and makes it less inviting. Yet if there is a positive to come out of Yuvvraaj besides Anil Kapoor, it is definitely the music, and thankfully so, or the film would have been one incredible excruciating experience.

Yuvvraaj is a pretty clean film besides some slight language and violent tendencies from various characters.

Yuvvraaj is an important film coming in the final months of the year and it has some big stars to back up the film's much anticipated release. Coming close after the release of Fashion and Dostana, Yuvvraaj had a lot to stand up against, sadly nothing comes together to create a cohesive product. There are major flaws in every aspect of the film, be it the story, the characters, the acting, the general direction: every important component is compromised in some way. Though it has good moments: there are some nice set pieces, Anil Kapoor is stunning to watch and the finale, coupled with a generally good musical score, is excellent. Sadly none of these save the film from being a complete disappointment.


Screen date: 21 November 2008
Release date: 21 November 2008

Available on Channel24

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