Guzarish Art Gallery
Guzaarish, a film by Sanjay Leela Bhansali is such a deep and sombre art gallery, I felt cheated when the movie screen said INTERVAL. What happened? We just got here.
There are rare paintings in an art gallery. Ethan Mascarenhas is the most valuable painting. He is in a wheelchair, cannot turn left or right, cannot brush his teeth or swat a fly that insists on a chess game. This is his life now. His other life had more motion. He used to mesmerize Goa in India 14 years ago as the master magician, who moved like a willow tree on stage, before delivering some magical magic. Bas!
The other painting in the Guzarish Art Gallery is Sofia D’Souza, Ethan’s nurse. She is brisk, even her long skirts comply with her briskness. She opens curtains to let today come in, wakes up Ethan, brushes his teeth and washes his hair. She doesn’t say much. She is just brisk. She sits in a corner and does some embroidery when she is not brisk. Her eyes are always on the prize, Ethan.
There’s a painting from the outside world by the name of Devyani Dutta, Ethan’s attractive and brilliant lawyer. She always flops on Ethan’s bed and gives him whatever news she has brought. She is shocked when Ethan says he wants to apply to the Supreme Court to kill himself. He is talking about euthanasia, assisted suicide.
Devyani Dutta is in love with Ethan. You do not look at your client that way. She calls his doctor Nayak when she realises that Ethan is serious about euthanasia. Dr. Nayak hits the roof and gives Ethan a long lecture about how he fought to live 14 years ago and succeeded. Dr. Nayak is also part of the art gallery.
A self-imposed painting in the form of Omar Siddiqui places itself on the wall and irritates Sofia to no end. Omar is Ethan’s great fan. He has been following the magician since childhood. He wants to be Ethan’s student. Sofia wants to call the police to arrest the intruder. Ethan slowly warms up to Omar and teaches him a few tricks while Sofia watches him like a hawk.
Ethan has a successful radio show that is popular with people on wheelchairs like him and the general public. He floods the airwaves on Radio Zindagi and poses the question: should he ask somebody to take his life? He has such a sense of humour he calls it ‘ethanasia’ not euthanasia. Sofia reads about it in a newspaper and flips. Ethan tries to apologise for not telling her but in vain.
Guzarish is an art gallery because Sanjay Leila Bhansali makes all the paintings equal. I swear he directed the film with a stop watch, allocating all characters the same time, the same importance. The film is fluid, like water gliding over lonely rocks, not stopping for a kiss, but galloping to the next date.
Every gallery has a curator. Who is the curator in Guzarish? I’ve thrown the film in my shopping cart for the one million films this blog is looking for. Euthanasia is always in the news. It is how this story is told that makes it an original film.
Next blog: The curator.
Ethan Mascarenhas = Hrithik Roshan
Sofia D’Souza = Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Lawyer Devyani Dutta = Shernaz Patel
Doctor Nayak = Suhel Seth
Omar Siddiqui = Aditya Roy Kapoor