Most art galleries have a curator. Guzarish, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film has two. Ethan Mascarenhas, whom we identified as the main painting in the gallery, wants to take the euthanasia route.
He wants someone to help him die. He used to be a famous magician until Yasser Siddiqui, a rival magician tried to kill him by tampering with the cable Ethan used to create the illusion of magic. Ethan survived but lost the use of all his limbs and has been in a wheel chair for 14 years.
He is tired of being assisted by a machine if he wants to stand up or to be elevated using some contraption so that his nurse Sofia D’Souza can wash his hair. He is tired of bed sores, not having sex and the urine bag tied to his bed.
Devyani Dutta, Ethan’s lawyer and Sofia are the two curators both vying for the best painting, Ethan’s heart. Sofia knows her place. She is a servant. She is married and goes home every evening, something she has been doing for 12 years. Her husband hates Ethan and doesn’t understand how his wife is devoted to a ‘vegetable.’
Sofia is civil to Devyani, offers her tea when she comes to visit and does not speak when Devyani is with Ethan. Sofia knows they are rivals because she loves Ethan, and can see that love in Devyani’s eyes.
Sofia starts to be rebellious when Devyani prepares the High Court petition for Ethan’s assisted suicide. Devyani tries to make her understand that she is merely carrying out his instructions. She tells Sofia that he has suffered enough. She argues in court that just as Ethan had the right to live after that accident 14 years ago, he also has the right to decide when he wants to die.
Devyani handles Sofia’s outburst with kid gloves because she is clever enough to know that as the nurse, Sofia is the real curator. She brushes Ethan’s teeth, washes him and cleans him up when his organs fail him. She even knows when he wants a cigarette. Doctor Nayak is also aware of Sofia’s power.
Sofia could lock Ethan in a glass case, and keep him to herself if she had her way. This is the reason why she initially disliked Omar Siddiqui, the young man who wanted to be his student. Sofia doesn’t like competition. Love and devotion is what she can offer Ethan.
Omar, on the other hand, has something stronger. He is the link to his previous life. Magic! Omar remembers spectacular magic tricks Ethan did in his heyday. The problem with all these curators vying for Ethan’s love is that he is vain.
He always lived for his beautiful self. Estella, his assistant loved him and still does, although she is married with children. Ethan told her to get married.
Sofia decides that if you can’t beat them, join them. She takes Ethan to the city for the euthanasia court application. They go to a night club on their way back. Omar and Ethan are mesmerised when Sofia warms up to the music and joins the dancers. She moves like a Spanish dancer.
Ethan laughs when she twirls her skirts because it is something he always teases her about. He has asked her repeatedly to come to work just one day without her long skirts. Ethan and Sofia know why she danced. Omar didn’t.
Devyani and the Sofia, the two curators both lose in the end. They never talked about it but knew that they loved the beautiful painting, “Mr Mascarenhas,” as Sofia calls him.
Next blog: Spaces
Ethan Mascarenhas = Hrithik Roshan
Sofia D’Souza = Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Lawyer Devyani Dutta = Shernaz Patel
Doctor Nayak = Suhel Seth
Estella = Monikangana Dutta
Omar Siddiqui = Aditya Roy Kapoor
Ash Chandler = Yasser Siddiqui
Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness The Novel.