Reviewed by Sanjeev Saxena

Highlighting a Disturbing Trend

Produced and directed by Prem Lalwani, 'Guddu' is a classic example of a contemporary hindi film. Shah Rukh Khan shows the dexterity and versatility which had been (arguably) missing since the Bachchan days. And Manisha Koirala continues to mesmerize with her captivating looks and acting prowess. But a weak and lackluster storyline strains every nerve and exerts on our sensibilities.

Guddu (Khan), the lively and obedient son of an overly pious mother Kavita (Naval) and an atheistic father Vikram (Khanna), has never really thought much about himself and his life until Salina (Koirala) comes into his life. In an accident, she loses her sight and soon afterwards, Guddu is diagnosed with a brain-tumor which would give him just about a couple of months to live. He accepts the fate and wants to give his eyes to Salina after his death. His father sees it as a utter lapse of will power and refuses to do so and the court agruments which follow between father and son hover between ludicrous and insipid. Father is as pragmatic in reasoning as the son is passionate in love ... and in the end, everything is fine. Well, almost. Kavita dies and donates her eyes to Salina, Guddu's tumor is removed and Vikram disavows his heretical tenets.

A protean Khan gives a commendable performance with characteristic flourish and wizardry. And a gorgeous Koirala will make many a hearts flutter. Khanna impresses with his laryngeal intonations but the rest of the cast (including Naval, Nishchal and Ghatge) subsists in mediocrity. The music by Naushad is pleasantly different from the current genre and one song 'Thandi me pasina ... Daddy se poochoonga ...' is good. However, the music and the occasional brilliance in cinematography is rescinded by some choppy editing and other technical glitches. The movie also has a religious harmony message which is lost in the tedious theme.

One point is amply highlighted though. That the indian movie industry still cannot offer the kind of roles, its finest actors are capable of performing. They can only vegetate in vapidness waiting for incidental flashes in their pans. After Bachchan, it is now Khan's turn to squander his abilities in an industry which does nothing to merit these thespians. May be some day they will get the roles they befit and deserve, may be.

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