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Shiney's subtlety says it all!

Ahuja's portrayal of a lover caught on the horns of a dilemma in Woh Lamhe is remarkable, writes Arnab Banerjee.

india Updated: Sep 30, 2006 19:41 IST

With his debut movie, Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi, Shiney Ahuja attracted the attention of critics and lovers of good cinema, and with his good looks, which had young girls swooning, Shiney Ahuja seemed to have it all.

Here was an actor who could both look good and act too – a rare combination which many supremely talented actors like Pankaj Kapur or Irrfan Khan didn't have. He upholds the faith only too well in his latest movie, Woh Lamhe ...

The film Woh Lamhe… has him playing the lead opposite Kangana Ranaut. Ahuja plays the lead in this supposed screen adaptation of the liaison between film director Mahesh Bhatt and the late actress Parveen Babi.    

Ahuja's portrayal of a lover caught on the horns of a dilemma in Woh Lamhe deserves compelling viewing. 

Ahuja is Aditya Garewal, a film director on the look out for that elusive "hit" which will make him a big name nationwide. What he needs to fulfil this dreams is the casting of ruling diva Sana Azim in his movie. He meets Sana and shatters her world of make believe when he tells her that she has compromised her self-respect to reach the top. He tells her that she is no great shakes as an actor.

Sana decides to take his challenge head on. Exactly what Ahuja had been playing for. It is to Ahuja's credit that he proves his point by underplaying his role. He sounds intimidating even though he seems to be speaking in a matter-of-fact, unemotional tenor.

In the second half of the film, he realizes that Sana needs medical help and emotional support to cope with her problem  - she suffers from schizophrenia. It is also when he realizes that he is in love with the troubled Sana, who needs medical help immediately. The pain of losing someone he dearly loves makes him lose touch with reality – a defenselessness he communicates with his body language. There is a brief reference to the protector becoming the victim as his doctor friend tells him in no uncertain terms that he himself could fall prey to the mental disorder.

If only he had been given more lines to deliver or better scripted scenes to enact the pathos-ridden dilemma that he endures with so much resilience, Ahuja could have walked away with all the sympathy. But the film belongs to Sana. At least its focus is, which is why she pulls in more compassion from the audience.

In essence, it is Ahuja's portrayal of a lover caught on the horns of a dilemma that deserves compelling viewing He does it without any support either from heavy-duty dialogues or attention-grabbing gimmicks.

It's just his subtle restraint which shines.

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