Guzaarish: A bitter-sweet tale

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has done it again. The highly acclaimed Bollywood director has once again created cinematic magic in his latest film “Guzaarish” (Request), told through a poignant tale that is sure to melt your heart. Renowned for creating extravagant and lavish visual experiences in his movies, Bhansali takes his creative filmmaking skills a notch higher in Guzaarish, starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the lead. One might say that Guzaarish shares resemblances to the Spanish Oscar and Golden Globe winning film The Sea Inside [2004] and the television play, Who’s Life Is It Anyway? as they all share Euthanasia as the central theme. The similarity, however, ends there as Guzaarish takes a different direction in its depiction to bring out a heartwarming tale of love, life and pain.

Set in Goa, the tale revolves around Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan). A highly accomplished magician, Ethan is now a quadriplegic following a near-fatal accident during one of his acts. Confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life due to his paralysis, Ethan has been living a melancholic life at home taken cared by his nurse Sofia D’Souza (Aishwarya Rai). Leaving behind her abusive husband, Sofia has dedicated her life to attend to Ethan’s every need. The underlying meaning of their relationship is seen as both sharing a silent love for each other, without having to confess their feelings to one another. Enter the character of Omar Siddiqui (Aditya Roy Kapoor), who comes to Ethan’s home with the sole purpose of learning magic from his idol. Taken by Omar’s passion, Ethan agrees to pass on his legacy.

Life goes on for Ethan as he plays the role of a Radio Jockey for an FM Station called Radio Zindagi through which he reaches out to people and inspires and changes their lives with his quick wit and charming personality. Then comes the twist in the tale. After 14 years of suffering, Ethan decides to put an end to his misery by filing a petition to the court for mercy killing. His decision brings about a whirlwind of reactions from people near and far. Being the epicenter of Ethan’s life the news is especially hard for Sofia, who is devastated with Ethan’s decision to end his life and at the same time she understands as she feels his pain and suffering. When the judge immediately dismisses Ethan’s case for mercy killing, he launches a campaign through his radio show to find public backing for his appeal known as “Project Ethanasia”. Will his appeal a second time around be granted by the court?

Exploring a complex and an equally sensitive grey area in life, Bhansali treats the movie with such grace that tugs at your heart mercilessly. Told in flashbacks, Guzaarish beautifully pieces together Ethan’s life gradually revealing the major chapters of the magician’s life. These includes his first magic trick to fragments of people dear to him including his mother, former best friend and rival, and his former assistant and girlfriend.

Needless to say, the cinematography is exquisite with the exhilarating sceneries as one would expect from a Bhansali movie. The music scores in Guzaarish are beautiful and complements the mood of the film, ranging from melodious items to soothing numbers including Bas Itni Si Guzaarish Hain and Sau Gram Zindagi. The special score of Udi was extremely uplifting, in which Aishwarya Rai shows us a side we have never before seen.

Hrithik Roshan’s splendid acting as Ethan Mascarenhas adds a whole new aura that makes the story comes alive with such sensitivity that will bring a smile in everyone and make many a heart shed tears. Equally impressive is Aishwarya Rai’s elegant depiction of Sofia. Together, they showcase a mesmerizing on-screen chemistry that is nothing less than a wonderful force to reckon with.

Truly an unforgettable piece of creative filmmaking, the grandeur cinematic experience in Guzaarish will win you over. Regardless of how it will fare in the box office, Guzaarish guarantees you a winning combo of a marvelous visual experience with a top-notch storyline. Easily one of the most memorable Bollywood releases this year. Hats off to Bhansali!

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