Sunday, November 9, 2014

Maqbool 2003

This older film of Vishal Bhardwaj has patches of brilliance and gives clear evidence of his power as an artist and film-maker. Though cloaked in a vestigial plot of Macbeth, this is actually a movie about  Mumbai and its people. Its strength lies in its capture of the spirit of this great city. It borrows freely from other films, like Godfather and even the ink swallowing scene of The Last Emperor. The central figure turns out to be not the assassin Maqbool, but the assassinated Godfather, Abbaji, a charismatic tour de force by Pankaj Kapoor. This is what I could never forget since I saw it first a decade ago. Tabu also gives a solid portrayal as the seductive counterpart of Lady Macbeth. The film is brilliant in the first half, but falters from the assassination onward, which is past the middle. A qualified success, but unmissable for the parts that are good, which are really good. Mumbai is the true heroine, and Pankaj, as the Don, claims her for his mehbooba.

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