Yash Raj Films’ Aurangzeb (UA) is a film about power, corruption, deceit and crime. Arya Phogat (Prithiviraj Sukumaran), a police officer, has been brought up by his uncle, DCP Ravikant Phogat (Rishi Kapoor). His father, police inspector Vijaykant Phogat (Anupam Kher), had lost interest in life years back, after messing up an operation to kill Yashvardhan Singh (Jackie Shroff), due to lack of evidence against him. Yashvardhan’s wife, Veera (Tanvi Azmi), had become a police informer against her own husband and had had to run away from him with one of her twin children. Years later, Arya learns that Veera had married his widower-father, Vijaykant. Veera and her son, Vishal (Arjun Kapoor), who were presumed dead years ago, have actually been living separately but under Vijaykant’s care. Vishal bears a striking resemblance to his twin brother, Ajay (Arjun Kapoor), who lives with father Yashvardhan Singh. Ajay does not get along with his dad.
DCP Ravikant Phogat, who is corrupt to the core, hatches a plot to expose the criminal activities of Yashvardhan, a mission left incomplete by brother Vijaykant, who has recently died. The DCP joins forces with nephew Arya and convinces Vishal to enter Yashvardhan’s house, posing as Ajay. To facilitate matters, Ajay is kidnapped by Ravikant and Arya and held captive by them, paving the way for Vishal to take his place and leak information about Yashvardhan Singh’s illegal activities to the police. Vishal has to pose as Ajay not just in front of his own father, Yashvardhan Singh, but also in front of Neena Wadhwa (Amrita Singh), Yashvardhan Singh’s paramour and business partner. Why, Vishal also has to feign an affair with his twin brother’s girlfriend, Ritu (newfind Sasheh Agha). As days pass, Vishal falls in love with Ritu.
Vishal keeps leaking information about his dad to Ravikant and Arya, who move forward in their exposé with the help of the incriminating evidence. On the other hand, Ravikant and Arya unite Ajay with mother Veera and also try to brainwash him (Ajay) into spilling the beans about his father’s illegal businesses before them.
Over time, Vishal develops a soft corner for his father and pleads for his safety from police. He also wins the confidence of his father, who is unaware that Vishal has replaced Ajay in the house. Calamity befalls Yashvardhan Singh because of action initiated by DCP Ravikant Phogat, and he has to be hospitalised. Vishal manipulates things in such a way that Neena has to resign from Yashvardhan Singh’s company.
Even as the tension between Arya and foster-brothers Ajay and Vishal refuses to be diffused, the task before Ravikant and Arya becomes very difficult. To make matters more difficult for Ravikant, his son-in-law, Vishnu (Sumeet Vyas), lays his hands on evidence against Ravikant’s equally corrupt police officer-son, Dev (Sikandar Berry). Since Vishnu is the only honest cop in the family, he threatens to expose brother-in-law Dev. Is he able to do so?
Meanwhile, Vishal is called for a meeting by Neena and her new partner, Bilal. Ravikant wants Vishal to use the meeting to give him more information about Yashvardhan Singh. Ravikant plans things in such a way that Yashvardhan Singh would be killed once the meeting between Vishal and Neena is over. Arya realises that Ravikant wants to eliminate Yashvardhan not as much to complete brother Vijaykant’s mission as to take over Yashvardhan’s business empire. Also, Vishal has revenge written all over him because Neena’s son, Inder (Kavi Shastri), has killed his beloved, Ritu.
Here, Ajay finally relents and agrees to help Arya but he also wants his dad, Yashvardhan Singh’s safety. Arya asks Ajay to attend the meeting in place of Vishal. Who attends the meeting finally – Ajay or Vishal? Can Yashvardhan Singh’s life be saved? What happens to Neena and her son, Inder? Does Arya support uncle Ravikant or his foster-brothers, Ajay and Vishal?
Atul Sabharwal’s story and screenplay are long-drawn and convoluted. They are also so confusing that the audience has to actually make an effort to remember things. And this is not only because Ajay and Vishal look alike. There are a number of unbelievable and ill-timed twists and turns in the drama, adding to the implausible factor in the story. For instance, Veera’s explanation to Ajay about why she had left him as a kid while running away with his twin brother does not cut ice with the viewers. Likewise, Vishal developing a soft corner for his dad happens quite abruptly. Again, the resolution of the problem which arises when Vishnu gets evidence against Dev looks a bit hurried and even though it is justified, it still fails to impress the audience. The angle of the message being recorded on the cell phone of Vishnu’s wife looks forced and its implication through the retrieval of Vishnu’s cell phone is unexplained. There are so many sub-plots in the drama that the audience actually gets fed up of the games the characters are playing with one another in the film. For example, Neena has planted Ritu to spoil and ruin Ajay; Vishal has replaced Ajay; Arya hates Ajay and Vishal; Ajay and Vishal hate Arya; Ajay hates Vishal; Inder hates Ajay; Vishnu is upright while his father-in-law (Ravikant) and brothers-in-law (Arya and Dev) are corrupt.
The screenplay may be logical but because it is convoluted, it loses impact quite early on in the un-folding drama. Besides, the entire drama looks far-fetched and unbelievable. Dialogues, penned by Atul Sabharwal, are unnecessarily in flowery language and very long-winding, adding to the monotony of the audience. It would not be wrong to say that it sometimes becomes difficult for the viewer to understand the very lengthy dialogues, not as much because of the intent as due to the language used.
Arjun Kapoor is good in his villainy but the same cannot be said about his other scenes. He has not been able to immerse himself in the characters of Ajay and Vishal and give himself up completely to the two characters. The distinct characteristics of the two characters he plays are not well brought out by him. Sasheh Agha makes a poor debut. She looks ordinary and her acting leaves plenty to be desired. Rishi Kapoor acts ably but looks disinterested, maybe because of the inadequate script. Jackie Shroff is unable to add anything worthwhile to the character of Yashvardhan Singh. Prithviraj Sukumaran is sincere and earnest and impresses with his acting. Amrita Singh gets limited scope in a stereotypical role; she is effective. Deepti Naval is as good as wasted. Tanvi Azmi does a fair job. Swara Bhaskar has a tiny role to which she does justice. Sikander Berry passes muster. Sumeet Vyas has his moments at places. Kavi Shastri is ordinary as Inder. Others lend very average support.
Atul Sabharwal, in his maiden directorial venture, has taken on more than he can handle. The drama, with so many characters and sub-plots, probably becomes unwieldy for him. Amartya Rahut and Vipin Mishra’s music is a terrible letdown. The songs are of the kind which just don’t entertain. Puneet Sharma, Manoj Kumar Nath and Vipin Mishra’s lyrics are not at all easy on the lips. Remo D’souza’s choreography is nothing to shout about. Vipin Mishra does a rather poor job of the background score. N. Karthik Ganesh’s camerawork is average. Sham Kaushal’s action scenes are routine. Mustufa Stationwala’s sets are okay. Editing (by Niraj Voralia) should have been sharper.
On the whole, Aurangzeb lacks the basic ingredient of a commercial film – entertainment value. It is a dull, dry, convoluted and boring drama narrated at a slow pace. Its box-office performance will be dull. Business in multiplexes will be below the mark while in single-screen cinemas, it will be ordinary.