Sunday, February 10, 2008

India nominates flop film ‘Eklavya

Eklavya: The Royal Guard”, which was selected from among five films, is about palace intrigue and the loyalty of an old guard who carries a secret about a royal family.Director Vidhu Vinod Chopra says he was trying to increase his ...
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Sunday, April 29, 2007

'Eklavya: The Royal Guard'

Maybe it's the trains. Maybe it's the camels. Maybe it's the intermission. No matter: Something about "Eklavya: The Royal Guard" suggests a lost film by David Lean. With some muted echoes of "Hamlet." And a whiff of "Rigoletto."Like so many Indian movies that make their way to Los Angeles, "Eklavya" — based on the low-caste warrior hero of "The Mahabharata" — is a movie masala. Unlike so many, thisstirring dramatic feature by Kashmiri director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, his first in seven years, marries its varied elements — in this case modernity and classicism, current-day India and its feudal past, contemporary corruption and blood tradition — in a coherent and propulsive fashion. There may be songs, but they are not sung by kohl-eyed virgins in rainstorms; there may be excess, but "camp" is thelast thing one would call "Eklavya."

Something is rotten in Devigarh, an ancient Shangri-La of royal pretense, where the aging but still lethal Eklavya (Bollywood vet Amitabh Bachchan) protects the all-but-powerless king (Boman Irani). When the queen (Sharmila Tagore) calls out on her deathbed for Eklavya, the jealous sovereign strangles her, unleashing a tempest that will bring the brooding prince, Harshwardhan (Saif Ali Khan), home from London, and a whole world tumbling down.Chopra and co-writer Abhijit Joshi's portrayal of characters according to sex or caste is a bit dubious. Harsh's Ophelia-like twin, Nandini (Raima Sen), is more silly than disturbed; Rajjo (Vidya Balan) is Harsh's Sabrina (she's even the chauffeur's daughter). And the "untouchable" policeman, Pannalal (Sanjay Dutt), is simply a goofball.Harsh himself might have seemed the more obvious choice of protagonist in this melodrama of honor and revenge, but it is Eklavya who provides the far more potent and complex hero. He is faced with an insurmountable dilemma: Whether to honor the code of the royal guard or spare the life of his son.Chopra and his cinematographer, Nataraja Subramanian, create startling images that are used for seduction or, just as often, alarm: The shift in energy and rhythms and the velocity of the action keep the viewer off balance yet always in the flow of the story.There are dry spots, but Chopra is aspiring to epic cinema, both in his themes and his visuals, and most of the time it works. And, yes, there really is an intermission, just in case one needs to catch one's breath."Eklavya: The Royal Guard." Unrated. Running time: 2 hours. Exclusively at Laemmle's Fallbrook, 6731 Fallbrook Ave., West Hills, (818) 340-8710, and Naz8 Artesia, 6440 E. South St., Lakewood, (510) 797-2000.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Exclusive synopsis - Eklavya

Vidhu Vinod Chopra has now a super-successful hat trick in the form of 'Munnabhai MBBS', 'Parineeta' and 'Lage Raho Munnabhai'. Now is the time for him to come up with a blockbuster himself and that seems just a little distance away in the form of 'Eklavya - The Royal Guard'.
It's theatrical promo has caused quite a stir and no wonder the film is turning into one of the hottest flicks early next year when it arrives [most likely] on February 9th. Earlied titled 'Yagna', the film was slated for a January 26th release but now has been delayed by a couple of weeks. Shot in a major way in Rajasthan, the film is produced and directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and has his 'now famous' team of music director Shantanu Moitra, lyricist Swanand Kirkire, cinematographer S Natarajan Subramaniam and art director Nitin Desai.
The film stars Amitabh Bachchan as the central protagonist along with Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Saif Ali Khan, Vidya Balan, Jimmy Shergill, Raima Sen, Sharmila Tagore and Boman Irani. We bring to you an EXCLUSIVE SYNOPSIS of this much awaited film.
For nine generations his family has protected the Kings of Devigarh, a centuries old citadel in Rajasthan. Eklavya (Amitabh Bachchan) trains everyday, from sunrise to sunset, with one steadfast goal in mind: protect the king. In an independent, democratic modern India, the King (Boman Irani) is a mere figurehead, an archaic relic of the past. But this does not alter Eklavya's zeal toward his duty. Eklavya remains in a self-imposed time wrap. With the passage of time, his marksmanship becomes the stuff of legends, and his unflinching loyalty inspires ballads. The arrival of Prince Harshwardhan (Saif Ali Khan), for the deceased Queen's (Sharmila Tagore) funeral rites brings solace to Eklavya.
Harshwardhan is barely tolerant towards the suffocating customs of his land but he feels a strange affection for the aging bodyguard and his eccentricities. But the fragile peace of the land is shattered by bullets. The bloodshed, which ensues engulfs the life of both Eklavya and the Prince. What follows is a contemporary edge-of-the-seat thriller with characters such as the irreverent police officer Pannalal Chauhar (Sanjay Dutt), the king's wily younger brother (Jackie Shroff), his murderous son (Jimmy Sheirgill), the mentally challenged princess (Raima Sen) and the prince's first love, Rajjo (Vidya Balan).
Stay tuned as we bring more information about the film in weeks to come!