Magician’s last act
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bacchan
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
“I love God, father. That’s why I am dying to meet him”, says Ethan Mascerenhas (endearing Hrithik) once a celebrated magician, presently a quadriplegic RJ who inspires thousands through his show also penned a book titled ‘learning to fly‘ in his conditions; now seeking grant from the court about appeal of his own mercy-killing. He is on dialysis, his liver is malfunctioning, his condition is only worsening and so his suffering. He wants it to end, with dignity. He even launches a radio-show calling ‘Project Ethanacia’ for votes from his audience gathering public support so that court will have to listen to his plea.
He is looked after by Sophia (Aishwarya holding her end fiercely) who is more than his nurse, gets heart-broken when she reads about the plea from newspapers, expresses her disturbance overtly. Her duty is more of devotion while he is more connected to her than dependent. Unspoken intimacy we know. Despite him paralyzed neck-down her presence adds strong sexual undercurrent to the film. Their odd romance takes up only a portion of story which I wished would have been sizable later.
Amongst other smaller characters populate Ethan’s life are a lawyer friend Devyani (Shernaz Patel), a caring doctor (Suhel Seth) and an aspiring magician Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor) whom Ethan agrees to mentor shares a wonderful scene with Hrithik where he teaches him to create paper-snowfall by rubbing palms together out of wet tissue. Ethan once a master perfomer watching this with wide smile and content eyes in the moment confesses, “It’s the applause I miss the most Sophie.” I wish there were more of such deeper side of his. There are other beautifully shot magical acts we witness through flashbacks from Ethan’s glory days also playing foils to his now crippled state.
Its director Bhansali is known for working on grand scale where I had my reservation in case of Devdas or Saawariya getting lost with overdoing but here he paints vast canvas with broad stokes and aesthetic mania which takes most of our awe where you sense the grandeur of imagery in nearly every frame. Blue and black dominates the palate with stark contrast of red whether in Sophia’s lips or scarf. Location is Goa where Ethan lives in mansion like house which will allow director for adding more touches like Italian sculptural art. But the euthanasia case which is movie’s subject is the weakest part making most of the later half of film, fails to convince you any which way. I was disappointed when film stopped being sensitive and got sentimental. Still their is enough magic in this to pay you a visit.
* Bad **Average *** Good ****Very Good ***** Outstanding