30 April 2017 | Peter_Young
Excellent performances by one and all
Vidhaata is a very enjoyable Hindi movie of its time. Subhash Ghai gathers some of the greatest talents of those times, including Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, and Amrish Puri. The story is quite an interesting one, and the development is very well brought out. The film does veer into formulaic caricature from time to time. Much of the action borders on the fantasy, but then it is well made up for by some intriguing twists. One scene between Amrish Puri and Dilip Kumar, which involves the explosion of a car, is greatly entertaining. Unfortunately the second half is marred by proceedings which are uncalled for. Similarly, the love story involved is not very convincing and contributed little to the story.
The main high-point of this picture is unquestionably the acting. No one can ever doubt Dilip Kumar's extraordinary acting prowess, and in this film he turns in what I consider his best work of the decade (along with Shakti). He is tremendous as Shamsher, a simple working man who turns into a mafia don. This is one of the few Hindi movies where such a transformation is credible and, without question, due credit for this should go to the actor himself for his renowned ability to portray complex characters with rare, natural ease and realism. As his character adopts a new name and identity, he appears greatly stylish and sophisticated, but his immense love for his grandson and the pain over the loss of his son are utterly convincing. This is just another understated performance, which never fails to leave a lasting impact on the audience.
The rest of the cast are there to support the screen legend in his author-backed role, and all do well. Sanjeev Kumar is unsurprisingly dependable in a small supporting role, and Amrish Puri is excellent in a villainous part which is slightly better than his usual parts of this sort. Sanjay Dutt makes a confident debut, and he is well paired with the beautiful Padmini Kolhapure, even if the two are the least impressive here. The one who almost, if not totally, manages to steal the show, however, is the wonderful Shammi Kapoor, whose well-etched comic part provides the main glimmer of relief in an otherwise heavy story. He is simply brilliant as Shamsher's age-long and loyal friend, soulfully portraying the wholesome, admirable kindness of the character and exuding warmth at all levels.
Vidhaata is like many films of its kind but at the same time it is a cut above the usual fare presented at the time. In this sense, it is a very good film well worth seeing. Ultimately it is the acting, particularly by Dilip Kumar and Shammi Kapoor, which elevates it to an altogether different level and more than makes up for its flaws.