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Lacking in originality



Two much: Nikhil Dwivedi and Amrita Rao in the film.

Film: My Name is Anthony Gonsalves

Director: E. Niwas

Cast: Nikhil Dwivedi, Amrita Rao

At a time when Bollywood is increasingly wearing the colours of uniformity, this has turned out to be a rare week. If Ashfaque is the hero of Rajkumar Santoshi’s “Halla Bol”, it is Anthony Gonsalves in the title role in E. Niwas’ film. However, the change is mere cosmetic. Sandpaper away the names of the two heroes. Ignore the Haji Ali song in “Halla Bol” and a few church sequences here, and you realise our dream merchants only skim the surface.

There is not even a pretence to know the different psyche of two minority protagonists beyond mere symbolism. Result?

A film that flatters to deceive. However, Why expect something better from a film whose title itself is inspired from a late 1970s’ song in Manmohan Desai’s “Amar Akbar Anthony”? Originality has seldom been Bollywood’s forte.

So, excuse Niwas too. But what one cannot digest is the complete inability of the director to get the viewers hooked on to the film which starts off as a love story of a struggling actor and an upcoming assistant director. A little into the film, a couple of songs out of the way and suddenly the film turns an underworld saga.

The hero predictably is an orphan who has been reared by one who is now wanted by the cops!

As Niwas goes about solving the riddle, film changes the track as he remembers to bring the love angle back and the viewer longs for the exit point.

The story move in fits and starts. Newcomer Nikhil Dwivedi’s dialogue delivery barely makes a mark. His co-star Amrita Rao, in comparison, comes across as a bubbly girl, at ease in front of the camera now. Pity Nikhil also has to share the screen space with seasoned pros like Mithun Chakraborty, Anupam Kher and Pawan Malhotra. Each of these artistes does his bit to perfection though Mithun is a bit wasted as a clergyman who seldom steps beyond the church and hardly interacts with any other soul except the hero!

The film could have done with better music, a more amiable hero, and Niwas in his “Shool” form. Still want to go to watch this film? Well, all one would say is, “Aaj jaane ki zid na karo,” a Farida Khanum ghazal Anupam Kher so lovingly quotes in the film. Please.

ZIYA US SALAM

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