There's so much noise about AETBAAR having the
same story as Vikram Bhatt's last release INTEHA
[released in Diwali 2003]. There's talk that the
two films are inspired by the same Hollywood
thriller – director James Foley's Mark Wahlberg-Reese
Witherspoon flick FEAR , which itself was
inspired by FATAL ATTRACTION.
Yes, INTEHA and AETBAAR have similar storylines.
That film had an over-possessive woman acting as
a wall between her step-sister and her eccentric
lover. AETBAAR talks about an over-possessive
father out to save his daughter from the
clutches of her weird lover.
But INTEHA and AETBAAR do differ on one solid
ground – while INTEHA lacked the grip to keep
the viewer hooked for two hours [it also went
unnoticed due to lack of publicity], AETBAAR
does succeed in keeping the viewer on edge at
Let's put it this way: AETBAAR may not be the
most original thriller ever made, but it works
to a large extent.
AETBAAR deals with one of life's most beautiful
relationships – the father and daughter bonding.
Right from the arrival of the little princess to
the time she moves to her own kingdom, a father
always shares joy, sorrows, treasured memories
and sworn secrets with his daughter. But the
greatest concern for the father remains – the
man in his daughter's life.
Dr. Malhotra [Amitabh Bachchan] believes he's
simply a protective parent, while his daughter
Ria [Bipasha Basu] believes he's simply
possessive. All is well till Aryan [John
Abraham] walks into their life.
Aryan is the epitome of all the values that
Ria's father abhors – wild, unpredictable,
overpowering and obsessive. But he has all the
qualities that Ria had always wished her life
partner should have – an intriguing and magnetic
Aryan has only one mission in life – being in
love with Ria. Nothing else matters!
Soon begins a war of ideologies, desires and
wits. How far can Dr. Malhotra go to convince
his only child that she's headed towards
An interesting plot well narrated by Vikram
Bhatt, is the right way to describe AETBAAR. An
intense love story, the film is embellished with
some skilfully executed sequences and effective
AETBAAR is not the routine formulaic film. Yes,
you know the girl will get involved with the
wrong guy, disobey her father, figure out she's
wrong and run back into her father's protective
Yes, you're sure the father will go to any
lengths to safeguard his darling daughter from
the psycho boyfriend. And yes, you are also
convinced that the finale will have a violent
showdown between the psycho boyfriend and the
father, with good triumphing over evil.
But it's the handling of this complex story that
deserves the marks!
Director Vikram Bhatt along with screenplay
writers Robin Bhatt and Sanjeev Duggal build the
tension slowly. The interaction between John and
Bipasha on a rainy day and the sequences
thereafter, which reflect John's unstable mind,
make for an interesting start. The sequence
between John and the prostitute soon after
John's introduction is amongst the most volatile
sequences of the flick.
There are several twists and turns in the first
half. The sequence when John visits the family [Amitabh,
Supriya, Bipasha] for the first time keeps the
pace alive. Ditto for the sequence when Amitabh
learns of John's past through a newspaper
cutting and confronts him. The subsequent
altercation [interval point] raises the
expectations from the second half tremendously.
But the film slips in the second half, albeit
slightly. The goings-on turn into a game of cat
and mouse. Nothing wrong with that, but the
predictable path the story follows in the
post-interval portions is slightly tough to
Besides, the tempo slackens in this half – it
actually moves at a lethargic pace, which
shouldn't be the case in view of the fact that
it's a thriller. Even the song just before the
climax [picturised on Amitabh, Bipasha] looks
completely forced and could've easily been
On second thoughts, the film could've easily
done away with the mandatory song and dance
routine. In fact, the songs throw a spanner in
the otherwise smooth narrative of the film. Even
the best song of the enterprise, 'Chhodo Chhodo'
[John, Bipasha], looks completely out of place
because it isn't in sync with John's psycho
behaviour. Note this: The sequence depicts John
almost strangling Bipasha for not meeting him at
the appointed hour and the very next moment, the
lovers break into a romantic duet. Strange,
On the script level, the writers should've taken
care to explain a few things. First and
foremost, John's psychotic behaviour is not
explained till the end. May be the writers would
argue that some people are just black, not grey,
but there should've been some statement or
sequence to justify his anomalous behaviour.
Then, again, Bipasha keeps telling John that his
behaviour scares her no end, but despite knowing
that he's an oddball, she continues to meet him
and defy her parents. Why?
The film gathers momentum yet again towards the
climax. The brilliantly executed finale does
manage to send a chill down the spine and the
violent end gels well with the mood of the film.
Director Vikram Bhatt seems to be in form after
a long, long time. The film has able
performances, several thrilling moments, a
believable plot, but a bit more emphasis on the
loose ends [script] would've only enhanced the
Girish Dhamija's dialogues are noteworthy.
Pravin Bhatt's cinematography is of standard.
Rajesh Roshan's music is strictly functional.
The action sequences [Abbas Ali Moghul],
especially towards the climax, are first-rate.
Amitabh Bachchan enacts his part with utmost
conviction, reassuring the viewer yet again that
there's none to match him when it comes to
dramatics. Bipasha Basu springs a surprise.
After a series of second-rate performances, the
actress succeeds in making you sit up and take
notice of her talent. The sequence when she
revolts against her parents is enough to prove
But the 'discovery' is definitely John Abraham.
John oozes intensity, love, hate, relentlessness
and some rabidly obsessive behaviour, making you
wonder that if this is what he can achieve in
his third film, imagine what the output would
be, say after 10 or 20 films.
Supriya Pilgaonkar [Amitabh's wife] is competent
enough. Pramod Moutho [Commissioner of Police],
Tom Alter [doctor], Shruti Ulfat [college
professor] and Ali Asgar [Bipasha's friend] lend
On the whole, AETBAAR has the merits to catch
the audience attention, but the path won't be
rosy taking into account the fact that it's
pitted against a mammoth opposition [KHAKEE].
Yet, despite the opposition, AETBAAR stands a
major chance with word of mouth. Go for it!