By Troy Ribeiro
Film: “All Is Well”; Cast: Rishi Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Asin, Supriya Pathak, Seema Pahwa, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub; Director: Umesh Shukla; Rating: **1/2
“All Is Well” may seemingly start as a film where nothing is going well in the relationships and family life of the Bhallas – Inder (Abhishek Bachchan), and his parents Bhajanlal (Rishi Kapoor) and Pammi (Supriya Pathak), but as we are made privy to their lives, there are several life lessons learnt about commitment, responsibility and duty towards your family, albeit couched in robust Punjabi humour.
It is the tale of a disgruntled son, Inder, who loves his guitar and nurtures the hope of pursuing a career in music, away from his small town Kasol where his unambitious father runs a small bakery. His father’s disdain for his music and the constant discord between his parents, coupled with his father insisting he helps him in the bakery, drives him away from home to Bangkok. Years later, he returns to Kasol on a selfish motive and realisation dawns upon him that his parents need him.
An oft-seen family drama, with clashes between a father and son, what makes this film stand out from the rest is its treatment. What could have become a preachy, it’s-all-about-loving-your-parents kind of melodramatic film, director Umesh Shukla has handled lightly, injecting the teachings and messages with oodles of entertainment. The laugh-a-minute gags in the film which seem frivolous and superficial are actually layered with intense sentiments.
At every juncture, the dialogues are laced with humour and there is enough of situational as well as slapstick comedy, to keep one entertained.
Abhishek is sincere as the rebel, Inder and it is fascinating to see his character metamorphose from an estranged son to one who cares deeply for his parents. He is ably supported by Rishi who plays the strict patriarch with aplomb. Supriya, with minimal dialogues, tugs at your heart strings as she emotes through her eyes, filled with fear and pathos. Asin as the devoted girlfriend, Nimmi, delivers what is expected of her.
But some of the striking performances in the film are perhaps delivered by two character actors – Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub and Seema Pahwa. Ayub as Cheema, the local goon with a heart, is endearing and holds his own against all the actors, while Seema as the greedy, wicked aunt, is outstanding. Right from her get-up to her over-the-top loud performance, she is every inch the crass Punjabi small town lady and is a delight to watch.
The background score and the songs intelligently uses a lot of remix versions of the old film songs which is nothing to write home about. Sonakshi Sinha’s item number seems forced, but succeeds in upping the glamour quotient of the film.
Cinematographer Sameer Arya, captures Kasol, Chandigarh and the smaller towns in the vicinity with honesty and panache. His night shots of the hilly path is definitely worth a mention.
What the film lacks perhaps is depth and novelty in terms of the story and characterization. Also, with a static camera, some of the scenes seem staged, giving the film the feel of a play on celluloid.
If you delve deep seeking logic, then film could be disappointing as the script is loaded plot-holes that range from the daft to the futile.
With romance, chases and heartbreaks, interspersed with emotional drama and ample humour, “All is Well” is overall a well-meaning entertainment film, even if not refreshingly original.