Cast: Vicky Kaushal, Sarah Jane Dias, Manish Chaudhary
Director: Mozez Singh
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
– Lord Buddha.
This quote bests sums up Zubaan.
A story about battling one’s inner demons, evolving to be better versions of our dreams, and dealing with disappointment – the movie is a visual manifestation of the philosophical journey most of us go through.
Director Mozez Singh takes us on this journey through Dilsher (Vicky Kaushal) – a dynamic, hard-willed youth from Punjab’s Gurdaspur who sets out for Delhi for a better life. His motivation is to become like Gurucharan Sikand (Manish Chaudhary), a self-made real estate giant.
Dilsher schemes, conspires and works hard to enter Sikand’s world, but once there, he realises the futility of it. So what now? Should he turn back, or move forward? How can he know that he is not wrong this time? Can someone read cosmic signals in their purest form?
The journey of course is different for everyone, but Kaushal takes his audience along every nuanced histrionic of Dilsher’s. A crafty combination of the fire in Amitabh Bachchan’s Vijay from Deewar with Raj Kapoor-like innocence, Kaushal proves he is every bit the actor through Dilsher.
But Singh isn’t entirely original as we have seen many similarly themed stories before; his craft nevertheless is noteworthy.
Supported by actors like Raghav Chanana and Meghna Malik, Singh manages to convey the intended intensity. Chanana as an unwanted-unloved son is particularly good. There are some over-the-top scenes, but overall, the pain of a lonely heir of a realm is real and evocative.
After a fabulous job in Angry Indian Goddesses, Sarah Jane Dias only gets better here. But it is Manish Chaudhary, with his layered and piercing portrayal of a ruthless businessman, who packs the acting surprise.
So does Kaushal. What we saw of him in Masaan is no fluke; this guy is here to stay. He is dignified and composed in a unique way.
There’s no denying that Zubaan fits the frame of most of the rags to riches stories, but these frames have been shot with a lot of thought. The camera work of the song ‘Music is my art’ demonstrates the faultless use of a confined space.
Watch: Trailer of Vicky Kaushal’s Zubaan
At the same time, the magical surrealism of open, vibrant spaces fire your imagination, and you start dreaming of a similar space. The song Dhruvtara is a perfect example of that.
Singh does slip up a few times (blame it on the lack of coherence in screenplay), but to his credit he retains the flow of the story well. He quite excellently captures a unique father-son relationship, and these are quite the best moments of Zubaan.
Music and choreography also give the movie an extra edge over other musicals. The songs are very much part of the narrative; they are mysterious and imply more than the obvious. While you may forget everything about the movie sometime later, Ashu Pathak’s music and lyrics will haunt you.
Overall, Zubaan is one of the better music-based films in the last couple of years, and will make for a quite a movie experience. Don’t miss it if you can help it.
(Interact with Rohit Vats at Twitter/@nawabjha)