I have seen “SHAGIRD” twice, once in 1967 and the second time a few days back. The SHAGIRD I saw in 1967 was an inane movie starring Joy Mukherjee, but the movie was a golden jubilee hit thanks to the presence of Saira Banu who mesmerized the audiences in her portrayal of the half-saree clad demure damsel and the excellent songs composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal. Shagird, which means disciple, referred to the part of an elderly Professor(remember the song BADE MIYA DEEWANE?) played by I S Johar, who has to learn the art of love from his student.
The SHAGIRD I saw a few days back has nothing in common excepting the title. And it is refreshingly different from its predecessor, but will hardly be a patch in terms of box-office returns. The hero is Nana Patekar, there are no songs, all the characters in the movie are crooks of differing degrees, and there is no heroine. The only female character is the role of a media journalist played by Rimi Sen; her role is insignificant. Thus the movie is bereft of virtually all the ingredients for a box-office success.
And yet, the director Tigmanshu Dhulia (whose maiden effort, HAASIL was also off-beat), manages to hold the viewer interest through the twists and turns in the tale of the nexus between corrupt cops, who also do clean-up jobs for the good of society and the politicians who have their own private agendas. Nana Patekar excels in the role of the Delhi cop, Hanumant Singh, but because we have seen Nana so often in such types of roles, the appeal seems to be diminishing. Playing quirky characters seems to be his forte and he therefore fits in very snugly in the role of Hanumant. Mohit Ahlawat, the Ram Gopal Verma discovery plays the righteous new recruit, who is taken in as Hanumant’s Shagird and convincingly presents his transformation in the cop and politician environment. Anurag Kashyap, the well known director plays the role of Bunty, a gangster and does well in this new avatar as well.
Taken as a whole, SHAGIRD, does not impress one as much as it could have given the story line and the theme. Perhaps the director has tried too hard to make it an absolutely straight forward narrative and this causes the viewer interest to flag occasionally despite the overall pace of the film being brisk. Vishal Bharadwaj would certainly have made an outstanding movie of this script ; Tigmanshu would do well to work as Vishal’s Shagird for some time!
RATING: 3.5 out of 5
May 31, 2011