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Movie Review: Shahjahan (2001) Back to Movie
Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam
Fans Rating: 80%%80%% 80% (126 votes)
Movie Still Vijay has had great success making sacrifices for the sake of love in Tamil movies. He sacrificed his love to unite two families in Poove Unakkaaga while he was ready to give up his love for his parents in Kaadhalukku Mariyaadhai. He follows the trend in Shah Jahan, unknowingly helping a friend fall in love with the same woman he himself is in love with. While it appears to be a role created to earn our sympathy, the contrived screenplay and poor characterization minimize the impact the character has on us.

Ashok(Vijay) is the youth lovers turn to when they have problems uniting and he has successfully completed the marriages of 24 such couples. But Ashok is insistent on the fact that the guy must know whether the girl too loves him before moving forward. The reason behind this is that his actions on behalf of his friend at a girl's house had ended in disaster for both the friend and the girl. So Ashok has decided to hide the fact that he is in love with Uma Maheswari(Richa Pallot) from his friends until he knows if she reciprocates his love. Raja(Krishna) asks for Ashok's help in impressing the girl of his dreams Mahi and not knowing that Mahi is none other than the girl he himself is in love with, Ashok helps him out.

Very rarely is the hero in a Tamil movie a loser and when such is the case, great care must be taken to make sure that the role has a positive impact on us and that we always root for him. Vijay here is definitely a loser when it comes to his own love affair. He never reveals his love to Richa and ends up helping another guy earn her love. That by itself is no crime but his character has been shaped so badly that we never get to sympathise for him. His action in the flashback is blatantly stupid and inspite of occasional trips to see his friend, we feel he himself never suffered much as a result of his actions. So it seems unfair when he falls in love. After a while, we are also irritated by his inaction with respect to his love for Richa. This kind of poor characterization is the main reason the movie doesn't work in generating sympathy.

Inspite of making frequent announcements in support of love, Vijay never even talks to Richa and Krishna's romance with her is understandably not given much importance. This puts Shah Jahan in a peculiar position where the movie is predominantly about love and romance but is unable to feature too much of it. So the fun and cuteness that typically characterise youthful romances in movies like Dheena and Dhil are absent here.

With most of the movie being based on Vijay not finding out that Krishna's lover is Richa, contrivances become the order of the day. Thankfully, the director does not generate too many of those. Ofcourse there are the usual close calls with Vijay and Richa moving, in slow motion, towards a meeting that is then interrupted. But since we know that they are not going to meet until it is time for the movie to end, there is rarely any tension generated by such sequences. The climax is overly melodramatic with Vijay's heroic deeds going quite a bit over the top.

Vijay seems to be trying to look casual on screen but is in danger of seeming disinterested. He should take more care about his make-up and costumes and appears to be enthusiastic during the well-choreographed stunt sequences only. Richa is pretty and has a nice smile but has little to do other than sing a few duets with Vijay. Vivek's comedy track with 'Kovai' Sarala is quite distasteful and has only a few laughs. Though song sequences seem to pop up a little too frequently, music director Mani Sharma has some nice tunes under his belt. Melliname... and Minnalai Pidithu... are melodious(though the picturisation leaves a lot to be desired with Vijay's dance steps not really suiting the slow songs). Achacho Punnagai... is the other good song while the fast-paced, 'dappanguthu' Sarakku Vechirukken... features some good dancing.

Rate movie A movie review by Balaji Balasubramaniam