There are very few directors who leave an indelible impression in their maiden attempt. Goldie Behl is one of them. Though his debut vehicle, BAS ITNA SA KHWAAB HAI, has its share of flaws, the fact cannot be denied that it is one of the most stylish films made by a first-timer.
Abhishek plays a character hailing from Varanasi. He is an ambitious man who aspires to make it big some day. He decides to try his luck in Mumbai. While trying to manage a foothold in the city of dreams, Abhishek comes across Rani Mukherji and falls in love with her.
Falling in love proves lucky for him because his career starts taking off. Jackie Shroff, a successful media personality, takes him under his wing and Abhishek believes in him completely. Jackie's right-hand woman is Sushmita Sen, his ally and a temptress.
Slowly, Abhishek starts enjoying the luxuries of life ? a house, flashy cars, money et cetera. But he realises that that the man he has admired and wanted to emulate ? Jackie Shroff ? is not the good man he thought him to be, but a manipulative, calculating, power hungry person.
What happens next?
The dreams and aspirations of a small-town simpleton and how power hungry men use him to suit their interests, have been witnessed umpteen times before. But it is Goldie's treatment of the subject that makes the difference.
The painstaking effort of the director to make every frame look rich and glossy is visible from the word 'go'. The narrative keeps you involved right through the first half, although the pace slackens at times. Yet, the first half is quite engrossing and augments the drama that is to ensue.
But the impact gets diluted in the post-interval portions when Abhishek is entrusted the responsibility of launching a new channel for Jackie, 'Awaaz'. For, sermonising and preaching dominate these portions, which will not appeal to an average cinegoer. It is too elitist a concept and holds scant appeal for the hoi polloi.
The second blemish is the path Jackie Shroff's character takes subsequently. From being a media tycoon to joining politics to aspiring to be the Prime Minister, adds to the length of the film pointlessly. These portions ought to be trimmed for a better impact.
As director, Goldie's efforts are praiseworthy, but he needs to polish his skills as a script writer. The post-interval portions are prolonged and not as inspiring. Even the climax should've been more impactful.
The characterisation of Sushmita Sen seems half-baked as well. The viewer is left baffled whether or not she is positive or a negative character and if is she is in love with Abhishek or not. The inexplicable look on her face when Jackie is around, gives her character a vampish feel.
Cinematography (Sameer Arya) is mind-blowing. The portions of New Zealand, depicted in the songs, are akin to a painting on celluloid, while the color combinations in the sets and the overall look of the film keeps the viewer mesmerised.
Aadesh Shrivastava's score is an amalgamation of melodious and modern beats. 'Ye Hawaeen Zulfo Mein Teri', 'Ganga Maiya' and 'Kuch Aisa Jahan Hum Banaye' are seeped in melody, while the orchestration in 'Dil Nashi Har Ada' and 'Jhoome Ye Zameen' is laudable. The picturisation of the last two songs is dazzling. The background score is first-rate.
Dialogues are brilliant at places. The sets are opulent and give the film a lavish look.
Abhishek Bachchan essays his role to perfection, showing sparks of brilliance in sequences that demand histrionics. As an actor, he takes giant strides in this film, making you comprehend that he is capable of so much more.
Rani Mukherji excels. Her sequences in the college (initial portions) and later, when she comes face-to-face with Sushmita in the hospital, proves that she's competent enough.
Sushmita Sen displays class as Lara Oberoi, despite her ill-defined character. Her look, especially in the songs, will send the young crowd drooling. Jackie Shroff is effective in a negative role. Smita Jayakar leaves an impression. Gulshan Grover does a good job.
On the whole, BAS ITNA SA KHWAAB HAI has an engrossing first half, but an average second. The film is superb technically, but is not complimented by an awe-inspiring screenplay in the post-interval portions. An average fare, the film should do better in Mumbai mainly. But the opposition from the GADAR and LAGAAN wave and the forthcoming biggies will make a dent in its business.