Plot: Aditya has everything in his life - love and success. His life takes a turn when one day he gets a heart attack and goes for an emergency heart surgery. The film focuses on the medical phenomenon called anasthesia awareness, a condition where a patient cannot move his body, but can hear and understand all that's happening around him/her.
Movies often show souls of dead people, looking semi-transparent and emitting a mild white light, looking at their own dead bodies, shocked that ...
Movies often show souls of dead people, looking semi-transparent and emitting a mild white light, looking at their own dead bodies, shocked that they’re dead but they still actually exist in a different form. Shekhar Suman’s Heartless is the kind of mind-bending movie that’d put the likes of Nolan to shame, where Aryan (played by Adhyayan Suman), whose body is still very much alive, is present elsewhere too, in the form of his soul. Amidst all the inanely built drama, there are moments such as a European-operatic song whose visuals emulate gothic art, or another one on a beach which looks like a dream sequence but surprisingly turns out to be real – where the surreal tragic song is interrupted by the arrival the police, establishing that all this while we were in a world very much real and what we just witnessed isn’t just a fragment of the character’s imagination. The protagonist’s struggle in the second half harks back to Alfred Hitchcock’s terrific short film Breakdown, a diegetic depiction of the thoughts of a paralysed man is presumed dead by everyone around him. But it’s hard not to laugh at the arty histrionics Heartless has in for us when the drama that triggers this conceit is so amateurishly realized and the movie advocates the flawed and flimsy “Parents are always right” thought.
Hollywood is teemed with medical thrillers. Corresponding example is Awake, a 2007 American film written and directed by Joby Harold, showcasing th...
Hollywood is teemed with medical thrillers. Corresponding example is Awake, a 2007 American film written and directed by Joby Harold, showcasing the story of a patient who is in a state known as 'anaesthesia awareness'. The multi-talented, multi-tasking wonder, Shekar Suman, is donning the director/producer's hat for the very first time with HEARTLESS (an official remake of the aforementioned movie), presented under his banner Windmill Entertainment, to rejuvenate his son Adhyayan Suman's [the man who made his big screen debut with Haal-e-Dil (2008), sang Soniyo & Aaya re in Raaz – The Mystery Continues (2009) and Jashnn: The Music Within (2009) respectively and dated Kangana Ranaut once] career. The movie too, is Shekhar Suman's tribute to his elder son Aayush who passed away to an irremediable heart disease. Making her foray into Hindi films is former Graphic Designer in New York, Ariana Ayam. A small role she had done in New York for a friend in Adhyayan Suman's short film there, landed her the lead actress role in HEARTLESS, that too, even without any audition.
For the uninitiated, Anaesthesia Awareness is a frightening medical phenomenon when a patient under general anesthesia is unconscious from outside but remains conscious from within, hearing sounds, understanding all that happens around him/her and experiencing pain, but the patient is often unable to communicate & cannot move his/her body, due to paralytic agent.
Addy alias Aditya Singh (Adhyayan Suman), 24, is the only son of a single parent Gayatri Singh (Deepti Naval), a business tycoon. Sadly, he is terminally ill with an incurable heart disease that has no cure and only a heart transplant can save him. But Aditya is opposed to the idea till he falls in love with Ria (Ariana Ayam) and agrees to get himself operated by his friend and mentor Dr. Sameer Saxena, a heart surgeon (Shekhar Suman) against his mother's advice to get it done by her friend Dr Sanjeev Trehan (Om Puri). The story takes an unusual and unexpected turn in the operation theatre where during the heart transplant surgery he experiences Anaesthesia Awareness. Aditya overhears certain horrifying and disturbing truths that will now change his life.
The prototype American film was bit of a botch script in itself. And Shekhar Suman's story, as per Indian sentiments & values, is no exception. One must agree that Nina Arora's mushy screenplay turns out to be a true-blue heart-wrenching drama, *only* towards the penultimate & ultimate moments. Dialogues (Niranjan Iyengar), entwined with meaningful poetries, are sure to leave the viewers moist-eyed. Derrick Fong's cinematography nimbly captures the picturesque locales of Dubai & Mumbai. Rakesh Yadav's art, along with Nahush Pise's prostheses and Vfx (AFTER) are noteworthy. Disha Pahadi & Alka Suman's costumes are modish, keeping in mind the mood & settings of the narration, consummately. Former IT Engineer & an IIM Ahmedabad graduate, Gaurav Dagaonkar's last *major* music release Joker (2012) was a dud. But the music of HEARTLESS has already caught the fancy of the listeners. The background score by Santosh Mulekar uplifts the mood of the film. In terms of scale and mounting, Shekhar Suman's direction is slick. He has handled several sequences of the movie adroitly. The heart surgery in the second half which gives the game away, Adhyayan dresses up Ariana and takes her to the party against his mother's wish and the emotional outbursts of Adhyayan & Deepti Naval in the penultimate moments are highlights of the enterprise.
On the grey side, too many songs in quick succession makes for a been-there-seen-that kind of a love story. The viewers may also feel a sense of deja vu, at the same time. Clocking in at precisely 131 minutes, the pace is excessively slow. Akshara Prabhakar's editing is absurdly prolonged. I have some reservations on the placement of the song "Heartless" in the penult moments, which was completely inexpedient. Aadil Shaikh's choreography too, is discursive. Adhyayan coming back to life, Om Puri suddenly carrying out the operation and the explanatory scenes of Adhyayan's father's death are roundly formulaic.
Casting by Shekhar Suman deserves brownie points. Adhyayan Suman excels in his role, thoroughly. He slips into the role of an imbecile lover cum friend with utmost ease. His portrayal of helplessness, haplessness and compunction need to be lauded. He masterly handles the dramatic moments as well. The debutante Ariana Ayam is photogenic & supremely confident. On the conclusion of the movie, she takes the cake away, indeed. Deepti Naval delivers a peerless performance. Om Puri and Madan Jain don't get much scope to exhibit their talents. Shekhar Suman has always been a delight to watch, but he's restrained himself to an adequate degree, which in turn, gives his son the required edge.
On the whole, HEARTLESS is the story of a rebel heart - Its desire, its dilemma, its magnificent resurrection. A competently acted drama about the wages of medical skulduggery. But the formulaic writing is complete let-down. The pace too acts as killjoy. The father-son duo deserves praise and commendation. In spite of that, it's a snoozefest!