Shabd (2005)

Leena Yadav - Director / Vishal-Shekhar - Music

Irshad Kamil - Lyrics / Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Own it!

I am excited to announce that we have another reader requested review (sorry for the alliteration there)! For anyone keeping stats on the year of release of the films in my articles, this is the most recent film I have ever covered. I had heard very little about this film when the email arrived, so I went into this one pretty cold. What I found was a film that was quite a bit different from a lot of the other Hindi films I've seen. This one is quite serious throughout, and deals with a variety of subjects that I'm not accustomed to seeing in Bollywood productions. At least we are not going into this one with a group of strangers. We have two repeat appearances for my site in this film! Let's have a look at our cast.

First up is the return of Aishwarya Rai, previously seen here at AoM in Khakee as Mahalaxmi and in Taal as Mansi. I have watched her performances over the last few years and find that she is getting consistently better in each role. Not that she was ever terrible, but there is an improvement with each movie. Her role in Shabd is probably one of her more challenging ones, particularly considering the subject matter.

Also returning is the perennial favorite Sanjay Dutt, previously seen here in Khal Nayak, Dushman, and Jung. This is definitely a different type of character for Mr. Dutt. In fact, he doesn't hit a single person for the whole movie! I will say that he looks good in close-cropped hair and glasses.

While not a direct repeat performer, the other major role belongs to Zayed Khan, who did appear in one of the films mentioned in the AoM Shorts Collection Volume 2, Main Hoon Na. Mr. Khan is an energetic young actor who seems to be comfortable in more comedic roles. Despite this turn being a bit more serious (in parts, he still gets to do some jokes), I think he does fine.

One minor technical note here before we go too much further - there are some issues with the subtitles on this DVD. There are some scenes where they skip several sentences, and some where they disappeared completely for whole conversations. While I am picking up bits and pieces of the Hindi language along the way, I'm not even close to understanding what they're saying in some of the scenes in this film. I'll call attention to them as we get to them, and if any of my readers would like to fill me in or correct me on what was said, I'll make the appropriate changes.

For this outing, we have on the roster:

Shaukat Vashisht (Sanjay Dutt) - An author once held in high regard by the critics who has come under fire for his latest work. He is seeking a return to the style he once used to have.
Antara Vashisht (Aishwarya Rai) - The loving and devoted wife of Shaukat, as well as an instructor at the local college.
Yash (Zayed Khan) - A young and brash instructor of photography at the same college as Antara.
Mrs. Kapadia (Kamini Khanna) - Another instructor at the college, and something of a fussbudget.
Ramakant (Brijendra Kala) - Shaukat's servant, and husband of Rajni. This man never smiles, but then again he isn't given a whole lot of cause to.
Rajni (Sadia Siddiqui) - A rather outspoken and energetic young lady, she recently began to work with her husband in helping out around Shaukat's home.
Mrs. Bose (Lou Lou) - Shaukat's editor. She's losing interest in working with Shaukat, and is less than enthusiastic about his new book. Sorry, but this is as clear a picture as we ever get of her.

Once more before we set off, I'd like to reiterate that this one is much more serious than my usual fare, by a considerable amount. Just a heads-up.

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