20 July 2014 | jmathur_swayamprabha
It's certainly better than Guzaarish
Shaayad(perhaps) tells the story of mainly three characters - Dr. Raakesh(Vijayendra), his ex-flame Sudha(Neeta Mehta) and her ailing husband Saroj Kumar(Nasiruddin Shah). Raakesh and Sudha could not marry because of their families not being ready for their union. Following bachelorhood since then, Raakesh suddenly comes across Sudha again after a few years who is now the wife of Saroj Kumar and the mother of his little daughter(Baby Manisha). Raakesh has never been able to let Sudha out of his heart during all these years but Sudha has completely devoted herself to her husband and her married life only, disassociating her heart from her past.
In a medical examination of Saroj Kumar done by Raakesh, he is diagnosed to be suffering from cancer which has reached the terminal stage. Now Saroj Kumar, a poet as well as a story-writer starts feeling that he's not doing justice to his loving wife Sudha and has become a burden for her. He also smells that his doctor - Raakesh has been her beau in the past. Considering these facts, his desire to die increases day-by-day despite Sudha's best efforts to rekindle the spirit of living in him. Raakesh expresses his suppressed love to Sudha again but now Sudha is no longer the girl who used to be his sweetheart. In this phase of her life, she loves nobody but her husband Saroj Kumar only.
One day Saroj Kumar dies and then Raakesh is arrested under the charge of murdering him. Mandatory courtroom drama follows his arrest covering the activities of the rival lawyers - the public prosecutor(Iftekhaar) and Raakesh's lady defense counsel(Simi Garewal). Did Dr. Raakesh, the frustrated lover on one hand and a frustrated doctor on the other, really kill Saroj Kumar, the husband of his ex-flame he still desires for? Or the truth is something else? While presenting this story written by Jaiprakash Chowksey(who is now well-known as a Hindi film critic and journalist) which is apparently a drama based on triangular relations, the filmmaker has discussed the issue of mercy-killing(or allowing the patient to die instead of removing some limb from the body to save his / her life) at length through the characters of Saroj Kumar and a young nurse Maisie(Farida Jalaal) working in the same hospital who is suffering from gangrene in her leg.
The narrator has raised the question of not only mercy-killing but also the right approach of the medicos to this issue. The movie begins with the display of the Hippocratic Oath only and later through a profound discussion between the doctors, the issue of relieving a patient who cannot be given a normal life in the present state of his / her body, from the pain of living without pleasure, peace or purpose; has been put before the audience.
If a doctor(like Dr. Raakesh in this movie) advocates mercy-killing, then he has to face harsh criticism because a doctor is considered to be a person whose job is to save a life and not to take someone's life. However a doctor is also a human-being and he also can a sensitive one who feels that when life has become worse than death for someone and it cannot be brought to normalcy, then the best thing for the patient(and also for those who are taking care of him) is to allow him to die and get rid of the agony of living.
The theme chosen for Shaayad is excellent but the writer and the director(Madan Baavaria) faltered by not sticking to the purpose of the movie and allowing the narrative to lose its way into the triangular male-female relationship involving a married woman, her husband and her ex-beau. Giving too much footage to this complicated relationship in which the woman has thrown her first (pre-marital) love out of her heart but the man is still fostering it, has not gone in favour of the movie. The final phase in which the lover of the lady who has also been the attending physician of her ailing husband, is charged for his murder and his trial takes place, has also not added any value to the movie.
The movie is very impressive for the major part of it all the same. Many scenes are very touching and throw light on the humanitarian aspect of the profession of medicine. There is no boredom in the movie and the curiosity of the viewer has been maintained by the narrator till the very finish.
I did not like one thing and found it quite unreliable also that the patients admitted in the hospital are shown as allowed to smoke. I cannot imagine any hospital which permits the patients under treatment to smoke or even permits the entry of such substances to the hospital premises.
Music by Maanas Mukherji made with the help of the touching and beautiful lyrics penned by Vitthalbhaai Patel, eminent Shaayar Nida Faazli and great Hindi poet Dushyant Kumar is completely in sync with the mood of the movie.
All the three main protagonists of the story - Nasiruddin Shah, Neeta Mehta and Vijayendra have performed excellently. The supporting cast members including the child artist Baby Manisha have also done their respective parts satisfactorily. Special mention is required for Om Puri who has played the role of a carefree patient who always forces his way into the hospital to pass his days comfortably there.
Sanjay Leela Bhansaali's Guzaarish (2010) deals with the same issue. However I have found lavishly made Guzaarish as an over-hyped and unrealistic movie containing characters those seem to have alighted on the Earth from some other planet. In contrast to that, Shaayad is a more honest, touching, thought-provoking, purposeful and impressive movie.