Shamitabh

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Shamitabh
Shamitabh.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by R. Balki
Produced by Sunil Lulla
Gauri Shinde
Rakesh Jhunjhunwala
R. K. Damani
Abhishek Bachchan
Written by R. Balki
Starring Dhanush
Amitabh Bachchan
Akshara Haasan
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography P. C. Sreeram
Edited by Hemanti Sarkar
Production
company
Distributed by Eros International
MAD Entertainment Ltd[1]
Release dates
  • 6 February 2015 (2015-02-06)[2][3]
Running time
135 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 25 crore (US$3.7 million)[4]

Shamitabh is a 2015 Indian comedy-drama film written and directed by R. Balki.[5][6] The film features Amitabh Bachchan, Dhanush and Akshara Haasan, in her debut, in the lead roles.[7] The film is jointly produced by Sunil Lulla, Balki, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, R. K. Damani, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Sunil Manchanda and Dhanush under their respective production banners. Ilaiyaraaja composed the soundtrack album and background score, while cinematography was handled by P. C. Sreeram.[8] The film released to positive reviews with critics praising Dhanush and Amitabh's performances.

Plot[edit]

Danish (Dhanush), born mute in rural Igatpuri, loves films. He acts out scenes before his class, amazing his peers and teacher, and spends all his time in the local Paradise theatre. He even tries to board a Mumbai bus to go become a film star but is pulled off by his mother's friends. When he grows up, Daanish brings pakodas to the local video-store owner and watches films every day. His mother feigns illness and keeps him from going to Mumbai but when she dies, Daanish leaves for Mumbai.

Daanish gets into Film City past its guards and finds shelter in an actor's vanity van, hiding under the sofa. Travelling around in the empty van, Daanish desperately tries to meet directors but cannot. He meets assistant director Akshara Pandey (Akshara Haasan) who is impressed by his talent. She shows his video, shot on her phone, to a director but he rejects casting a mute hero. Akshara's father, a doctor, treats Daanish after he gets into a fight with security guards. On his recommendation, Daanish and Akshara arrive at Finland to meet his friend who shows Daanish their new "Live Voice Transfer Technology", that uses embedded micro-recorders and ear-pieces and enables mute people to communicate via a "borrowed" voice.

Akshara and Daanish return to Mumbai with the equipment and find Amitabh Sinha (Amitabh Bachchan), a failed actor and drunkard. Although he was rejected because of his deep baritone, the duo are actually impressed with the same baritone and ask him to lend his voice to Daanish; he accepts, and signs an agreement not to disclose himself as Daanish's voice. Their first project becomes a major success and numerous film offers come for Daanish, now named "Shamitabh" (a portmanteau of Daanish and Amitabh).

Amitabh, who is officially Daanish's valet, also wants a role in accepting or rejecting scripts. He tells Daanish his voice is as big — if not bigger — a star than Daanish's talent. The friction between them grows. Amitabh gets fever and Daanish makes him take an injection. In retaliation, Amitabh makes Daanish accepts singing a song in his new film. Amitabh sings the song "Piddly", but is horrified by its picturisation of toilets across snowy peaks, suggested by Daanish to tease him.

Daanish arrives at London to deliver a speech which Amitabh voices for him, but Daanish treats him like a servant. Amitabh later becomes inebriated and attacks a police officer, leading to his arrest, but Daanish bails him out.

When the duo return to Mumbai, journalists ask Daanish if he is apologetic about the incident. Amitabh mischievously makes him reply in negative, much to Daanish's fury. The duo parts ways; Daanish plays a mute person in his next film, while Amitabh dubs for another actor in a different film. Both films fail.

Meanwhile, Akshara, who had gone to Sikkim to write a script for Daanish, returns but berates Daanish when he refuses to apologise to Amitabh. She forces Amitabh and Daanish to reconcile.

A media reporter, having discovered the secret that Daanish was born mute, threatens to expose the duo but they decide to tell the truth and surprise the world. Daanish and Amitabh accept to work in Akshara's debut film, and Daanish tells Akshara that he loves her. While Daanish and Amitabh are on the way to Akshara's film ceremony, they have a car accident; Daanish is killed while Amitabh's larynx is damaged, making him mute.

Some time later, Amitabh paces around Daanish's grave with Akshara's script, imagining that Daanish is still alive and practicing his lines for the film.

Cast[edit]

Cameo appearances

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

In August 2013, reports announced that Dhanush would play the lead role in R. Balki's next film.[9] But Balki denied them as rumors, citing that they may have arisen when he had shot for an advertisement featuring.[10] In November 2013, Amitabh Bachchan and Dhanush were announced as feature in the lead roles. The film also marked the acting debut of Kamal Haasan's second daughter, Akshara Haasan.[11] In addition to portraying one of the film's central characters, Amitabh Bachchan had also bankrolled the venture.[12] In May 2014, Balki revealed that the film would be titled Shamitabh, which also sounded similar to the Bollywood star's name,[13] whilst also revealing that half the film's shooting had been completed.[14] Amitabh Bachchan lent his voice to Dhanush, who plays a dumb aspiring actor in the film.[15] The film's title derived from the duo's names in which 'Sh' from Dhanush was added as a prefix to Amitabh, therefore becoming Shamitabh.[16]

Casting[edit]

Besides the lead cast,[11] it was confirmed in February 2014 that actor Rajeev Ravindranathan would appear in a small role in the film.[17] Rajeev confirmed the same again in July 2014.[18] In August 2014, it was reported that director Mahesh Bhatt had acted in a cameo role in the film.[19][20] Later it was reported that not only Mahesh Bhatt, but Karan Johar, Anurag Basu, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, Rajkumar Hirani, Gauri Shinde, along with lyricist Javed Akhtar and producers Boney Kapoor and Ekta Kapoor would do cameos in the film.[21] Actress Abhinaya of Nadodigal (2009) fame was selected to play a crucial role in the film.[22] Actress Rekha was selected to play a supporting role.[23] Vandita Shrivastava, an MBA-turned-actress, stated that she had a role in the film.[24]

Filming[edit]

Principal photography commenced on February 2014 in Igatpuri.[8][25] Amitabh Bachchan began shooting for his portions in the film in April 2014.[26] Shamitabh became the first Bollywood film to be shot in the Lapland region of Finland and in Helsinki.[27][28] The crew shot some scenes at the Seven Hills Hospital, the same place where Amitabh Bachchan underwent two abdominal surgeries and saw the birth of Aaradhya, his granddaughter.[29] Some scenes were also shot in London.[30] The team took a break in mid-July 2014 to celebrate Dhanush's birthday and the success of his 25th film, Velaiyilla Pattathari (2014).[31] In mid-August 2014, Amitabh Bachchan stated that he had completed his portions for the film,[32] whilst also confirming that 90% percent of the film's shooting had been completed.[33] Dhanush reportedly did a few dastardly stunts in the film.[34] The film's cinematographer P. C. Sreeram was fascinated by Akshara's acting capability and lack of nervousness while shooting with Dhanush and Amitabh Bachchan and lauded her as a "woman of substance".[35] Akshara did her own choreography for her dance.[36]

During the shooting of the film in Finland, a snow storm hit the area where shooting was going on for a dance sequence in the film and had to immediately walk back towards a safer environment. Hence, they walked for about 10 kilometers with their heavy equipment. Choreographers Bosco-Caesar decided to continue with it and shot the song the next day since a delay would have caused permission trouble.[37]

Music[edit]

Shamitabh: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album to Shamitabh by Ilaiyaraaja
Released 16 January 2015
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 25:40
Language Hindi
Label Eros Music
Ilaiyaraaja chronology
Touring Talkies
(2015)
Shamitabh
(2015)
Mythri
(2015)

The soundtrack album and background score were composed by Ilaiyaraaja.[8] Illaiyaraaja began work for the film's songs on 6 January 2014 in Mumbai.[38] Amitabh Bachchan had lent his voice to a song in the film.

Shamitabh (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[39]
No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Ishq E Phillum"   Swanand Kirkire Suraj Jagan 04:30
2. "Sha Sha Sha Mi Mi Mi"   Swanand Kirkire Caralisa Monteiro 05:20
3. "Piddly Si Baatein"   Swanand Kirkire Amitabh Bachchan 05:09
4. "Stereophonic Sannata"   Swanand Kirkire Shruti Haasan 04:59
5. "Thappad"   Swanand Kirkire Suraj Jagan & Earl D'Souza 04:07
6. "Lifebuoy"   Swanand Kirkire Suraj Jagan 01:54

Promotion and release[edit]

The film released worldwide on 6 February 2015.[needs update][2][3][40]

The first look of the lead actors Amitabh Bachchan and Dhanush were released on 23 July 2014,[41] and 25 July 2014,[42] respectively. A video trailer of Amitabh sitting in a toilet and singing "piddly si baatein", a catchy, peppy song while holding the script, was released on 31 December 2014. An extended version of the trailer was released on 7 January 2015.[43] Amitabh Bachchan had been reportedly seen sporting a rugged look and wearing shabby clothes,[44] Bachchan found the look quite difficult to preserve throughout the shooting of the film.[45] Bachchan described every film he made with Balki as "novel, out of the ordinary and most challenging" and Shamitabh is "no different".[46] A still featuring the lead actors was released by Amitabh Bachchan on Twitter on 20 August 2014.[47] Eros International distributed the film worldwide.[48]

Critical reception[edit]

Srijana Mitra Das of Times of India gave it 3.5 stars out of 5 and stated, "Shamitabh has a doubly dramatic act - but less emotion".[49] Indian Express gave the movie 2 stars.[50] Rajeev Masand of IBNLIVe gave the movie 2.5 stars stating "The promising film comes undone by the curse of the second half". The Guardian gave average reviews describing the movie "Amitabh Bachchan in affectionate but incoherent satire".[51]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ a b Seshagiri, Sangeetha (7 August 2014). "Dhanush-Amitabh Bachchan's 'Shamitabh' to Release on 6 February 2015". International Business Times. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
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  38. ^ M. Suganth (13 January 2014). "Ilaiyaraaja in Mumbai to compose for Balki’s film". The Times of India. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
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  50. ^ "‘Shamitabh’ movie review: Amitabh Bachchan’s voice powers the movie". The Indian Express. 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2015-12-05. 
  51. ^ Mike McCahill. "Shamitabh review – Amitabh Bachchan in affectionate but incoherent satire | Film". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-05. 

External links[edit]