Winds of Change in Awarapan

When you go get a Mahesh/Mukesh Bhatt film starring Emraan Hashemi and accompanied by a chart-busting soundtrack, you expect nothing less than gripping entertainment. Well, at least that is the precedent that has been set over the last two or so years.

Here again comes another Emraan starrer titled Awarapan. Not sure what to expect when I started watching it, I ended up not liking the first 15 or so minutes. Enter a flashback scene set in a Pakistani bazaar (Lahore, perhaps?) and things become exciting like few movies would dare.

Awarapan is different. And it works very well. For its the underlying multiculturalism and the commonalities between various faith-based groups (Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism) that eventually becomes the subject of the film, whether most people see it or not. The topic is novel, and is worth a lot of praise, for few directors dare to dream up this kind of project. Very well done! The bird-in-cage scene in the bazaar is perfectly executed, and the aura surrounding the
'taweez' is very very real and legitimate. Add to it the diversity of filming locations (Bollywood shoots in Pakistan are extremely rare), and you begin to realize that things are changing...

Now to the performances. I have previously talked about how I think Emraan Hashemi is among the most under-rated actors of his times. Hopefully this movie will change that. Hopefully, when we look at best actor nominations in December, his name will be there, because he certainly deserves a nomination. He has been neglected for too long. Ashutosh Rana is great. Shreya Saran and Mrinalini Sharma show that there is hope for the next wave of Bollywood actresses.

On to the soundtrack by Pritam. Some of us, earlier in the week, were talking about how rock and pop in Bollywood today are the more prominent genres. While there is nothing wrong with that, it is nevertheless difficult to find meaningful lyrics accompanying songs of these genres. The music to Awarapan challenges that! Listen to To Phir Aao carefully and tell me that it would fit in well as a ghazal as well, because the lyrics to it surely could. What a song. Tera Mera Rishta ends up surprising -- it talks of ishq-e-haqiqi (love of the Creator) and not of ishq-e-mijazi (love of the Creator's creations, i.e. love of humans), which is what I was thought as I first sampled the soundtrack. Pleasantly surprising! Suzanne, Mustafa Zahid and Annie (both from Pakistan, by the way) are excellent. Mustafa Zahid will offer a heck of a challenge to peer Aatif Aslam (Tere Bin in Bas Ek Pal), because I think his voice is more versatile than Aatif's. Here's to Zahid getting more opportunities!

Overall, Awarapan is among the better movies of the year. Especially as far as completeness is concerned. Good plot, great soundtrack, and equally good performances definitely warrant a watch!

Movie Rating: ***1/2

Music Rating: ***1/2

My Classification: PG-13/UA -- For some dialog and violence

Watch it if: you enjoy action movies, appreciate fine performances, and are a believer in spreading the message that commonalities among religions is what we should collectively focus on, regardless of our faith.

Movie website:


Nicki said...

Yes, I'm the remake queen. I used to have a list of all the remakes - Hollywood/Bollywood/Korean.

This movie is a remake of Korean movie - A Bittersweet Life. I prefer the Bollywood version. :)

theBollywoodFan said...

Interesting and not at all surprising. Thanks for the info!