3.5 Very Good

Eklavya – The Royal Guard

With this movie, director Vidhu Vinod Chopra has embarked on a unique and bold trip. He has transposed an incident from the ancient Mahabharata involving the character Eklavya to a more contemporary period, this time involving a royal guard named Eklavya, played admirably by Amitabh Bachchan. In the process, Chopra has given us a modern interpretation of dharma, as opposed to the traditional concept delivered to us through our ancient Hindu scriptures. Chopra is at the helm of a brilliant technical team who have worked relentlessly to put up the most sumptuous visual treat to have come out of the Indian film industry in recent times. Whether, it be the cinematography of Nataraja Subramaniyam, the costumes of Subarna Ray Chaudhuri and Raghavendra Rathode, or the set designing of Nitin Desai, technically this movie is top notch. Acting wise, Bachchan and Saif are in their elements. Jimmy Shergill will surprise you, while Jackie Shroff and Boman Irani are efficient. However, despite the positives, the movie fails to hold the rapt attention of its audience. Although its running time is only 105 min. it loses pace at crucial moments and hence prevents the movie from being the masterpiece that it could have been with a tighter script and sharper editing. The background score is impressive but the one song included in the movie is uncalled for and seems forced. There are brilliant sequences, but they are interspersed by periods of dullness which rob the movie of its cutting edge. Overall, Eklavya should be watched and appreciated solely for attempting this bold and novel concept. However, its appeal at the box office will be limited and will lose steam after the first weekend.