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HEARTLESS - An emotional but weak attempt to adapt a fine English thriller. (Review By Bobby Sing)

08 Feb, 2014 | Movie Reviews / 2014 Releases / Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / H

Expressing on a personal note, I can emotionally relate to the big unexpected loss experienced by director Shekhar Suman’s family a few years back and have my due respect for everyone who wished to convey a positive message through this film straight from their hearts. Hence if considered from the social awareness angle, HEARTLESS rightly talks about a case of medical conspiracy pointing towards the compromising state of this divine profession felt by many in the last few decades. But unfortunately all the positivity around its core theme gets lost when Shekhar Suman tries to give the message in a very conflicting, unethical and confused manner which simply falls flat without making much impact on the viewers due to its below average execution. Now revealing the three major drawbacks in this well intentioned attempt:
Firstly since there is no information of the film being an official remake so I am forced to call it a blatant copy of the English Flick AWAKE (2007) featuring Hayden Christensen and Jessica Alba in the lead. The film is entirely based on this borrowed script focusing on a mysterious medical phenomenon called “Anesthetic Awareness”in which the person lying on the operation table can hear voices and feel the pain too but cannot move his body or wake up, being in a kind of paralyzed form. So putting it bluntly if Shekhar was really willing to make a film with a strong social message talking about medical ethics then at least the remake should have been made following the ethical procedure too buying the official rights.
(However if Shekhar Suman did take the rights and didn’t announce it in the media or mentioned it in the titles (or I somehow missed it) then this first point stands irrelevant.)
Secondly if you are making a medical thriller (as I would like to call it), then it has to be made as a fast moving crime thriller only without wasting much time in the buildup. But since the director also wanted the film to be an emotional love story targeting the youngsters too, so he becomes confused and fills the entire first half with the same routine love scenes, 4 songs and a family drama saying nothing about the real subject of “Anesthetic Awareness” at all. As a result, the film actually begins in the second half only and one can straight away watch it post the interval without losing much of its basic storyline or any major scenes. Moreover, in editing terms the whole 70-75 minutes of its first half with many unwanted sequences and songs could easily be compiled into 20-25 minutes and that too with 1 or 2 forcibly inserted songs shot abroad (Dubai).
Thirdly, since it was a re-launch film for Shekhar’s son Adhyayan, so to keep the complete focus on him alone, a new girl was introduced in the lead along with veterans as Deepti Naval, Om Puri and Shekhar Suman himself. But actually the complex subject demanded more intense portrayal on the screen by the lead pair which becomes another factor responsible for its poor result. Adhyayan tries hard but he still needs to improve a lot in his various skills and Ariana also has to work on her Hindi diction first to get some more projects. Also in the supporting cast, at one end we have an impressive act coming from Deepti Naval playing the mother but on the other Shekhar Suman visibly tries to underplay his role intentionally and Om Puri looks totally unconvincing in his silly ‘Doctor in Love’ act doing the last minute operation.
Therefore despite having a novel, interesting and engaging plot for most of the viewers (who may not have seen the original English Flick AWAKE), HEARTLESS fails miserably since it has been made following a puzzled vision of catering all sorts of target audience together along with launching Adhyayan once again as the solo hero. Adding further, the mediocre outcome was inevitable & it will always turn out to be the same whenever any Hindi film-maker will try to adapt a mere ‘85 minute tight English thriller’ into a 130+ minutes stretched Hindi version unnecessarily without any clear vision.
As per the direction, HEARTLESS does have few moving emotional sequences between the mother and son, but also has many amateurish kind of scenes too in the first half ruining the initial impact completely. Plus later all the hospital or operation theater sequences are shot quite carelessly without following the basic rules & regulations of a big hospital in a hilarious or rather ridiculous mode. Interestingly AWAKE was also criticized a lot on the similar medical grounds but still at least they shot those sequences in a much convincing style without any doubt. The DOP tries his best to make a noticeable impression along with the CGI department (particularly in the title song) and the disturbing operation visuals might be upsetting for many clearly showing the open body parts like never before. The soundtrack is soothing to hear while one is watching the film but nothing stays with you after its over and the background score fails to generate any exciting tension in its final hour.
On the whole, had Shekhar adapted the original thriller as it is without much adulteration, he would have got a different story to tell at the box office or at least a decent film for the viewers in all possibilities. Nevertheless in the present version HEARTLESS is sure going to find it hard both at the box office as well as on the home video front too due to the obvious reasons. And in case you are very much interested in knowing about the subject of “Anesthetic Awareness”, then go for the original AWAKE instead and save some time.
Rating : 1.5 / 5

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08 Feb 2014 / Comment ( 2 )

It is indeed an official remake of AWAKE.
It has been mentioned in some articles and reviews on the net.
Here are some

Bobby Sing

Hi Chris,
The point is that if they did take official rights then why it isnt mentioned in the opening titles (and not the ending ones). Why the film-makers are interested in hiding the fact from their audience? Earlier this was done by Farah Khan in TEES MAAR KHAN too when she didint mention it openly.
But films like OH MY GOD did write that clearly and that is how it needs to be done ethically. And unless they do that in the desired way, it is bound to be taken as Copy by majority of people and ridiculed for that single reason too.

However, another point is that one of these links quotes the rights bought for 4-5 crores which is simply impossible as a whole decent film can be made in this budget alone in India. And the amount is truly insane to pay in businnes terms.



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