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Movie Review November 2003

November 2003
Movie Review November 2003

Baghban (Gardener)

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Salman Khan, Mahima Choudhary

Producer: BR Chopra

Director: Ravi Chopra

Music Director: Aadesh Shrivastava

Whoever said that simple plots make great movies is very right . Really, Baghban's tale is as old as the hills. It is about the sacrifices parents make in order to give their children a good life, only to be spurned by them in their old age. But it keeps you riveted throughout.

What makes this movie different from the many films that have tackled this subject earlier is the 60 plus love story, warmer than all the other callow moonings we have been treated to for long. Raj (Amitabh Bachchan) and Puja Malhotra (Hema Malini) are very much in love even after 40 years of marriage and romance, sing and dance like any other Bollywood couple.

The film without a doubt belongs to Amitabh and Hema who team up again after 20 long years. Although the story was conceived 30 years ago and was to originally star Dilip Kumar, Baghban seems to have been made with only Big B in mind. As head of a family of four sons, he has you enthralled as he sings, dances, romances and cries. The highlight of the film most certainly is the 10-minute AB monologue at the end.

The ethereally beautiful Hema also stands tall with her comeback act. But the one who really makes you reach out for your hanky is Salman Khan in the role of Alok, the couple's adopted son. Though he is cast in a special appearance sharing whatever screen time he has with his more illustrious co-stars, he leaves a huge impact.

Paresh Rawal and Lilette Dubey as Hemant and Shanti ? the strangers who bring warmth in Raj's life ? highlight the irony in the drama in a way no other artistes could have. The 'betas' enact the mean act convincingly, especially Aman Varma and Samir Soni. The underrated Divya Dutta comes up with a fantastic performance as one of the daughters-in-law.

Composer Aadesh Shrivastava has to be commended for making Bachchan sound so wonderful in the songs. He sings all of four songs including a Holi track and the soulful Main yahan tu wahan that he sings for his wife over the telephone.

A touching, poignant and thought-provoking film, Baghban raises a vital question for Indian society: Can you really depend on your family?

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