Directors like Sudhir Mishra and Zoya Akhtar have in the recent past tried to give an insider's view of the workings of the entertainment industry through their films. Director Rajiv Nath has tried to do the same with 'Anubhav', which tries to underline that men are as vulnerable to sexual abuse as women in Bollywood.
Though a thematically good film, 'Anubhav' has not been executed properly, especially the first one hour.
The only saving grace in the film is Sanjay Suri, who plays the title role. The scenes where Sanjay is shown grieving and regretting his decision to be a gigolo to save his newborn daughter are extremely touching.
Gul Panag, who plays his wife, is good in the emotional scenes.
Anubhav (Sanjay) is the brightest student of Mumbai's theatre academy but all his hopes of making it big in Bollywood are shattered when he fails to get a good break. For survival he starts playing bit roles.
While looking for a foothold in showbiz, Anubhav bumps into Meera (Gul Panag), a business tycoon's daughter, and after a whirlwind romance the two tie the knot.
Meanwhile, his classmate and buddy Aadi (Anoop Menon) manages to get a producer for his film, an adaptation of 'Hamlet'. He casts Anubhav in the lead and things go smoothly till the sudden death of the producer. The project is then shelved and there is no hope to complete it.
At the same time, Meera develops some pregnancy complications and gives birth to an ailing child who needs to be operated soon. The sequence of events and the urgent need for money forces Anubhav to turn into a gigolo.
Apart from Sanjay Suri and Gul Panag, the casting of the film could have been better. Jackie Shroff doesn't look convincing in the role of an acting guru and Meeta Vashisht does not impress as a successful, lonely doctor trying to find solace in the company of male prostitutes. The director has failed to exploit these otherwise talented actors properly.
While Sudha Chandran, who plays a senior TV actress, looks convincing in the role of an aeging actress trying to exploit Anubhav, she she too is wasted.
Nath has handled the emotional scenes pretty well, especially the climax. But the rest of the sequences are not so well executed and there are too many hiccups in the narrative. For instance, a scene where Shruti Seth confesses her love for Anubhav looks out of place.
Music is an integral part of Hindi films, but there is nothing much to write about in the songs of 'Anubhav'. The cinematography is so-so.
'Anubhav' could have done well with a tighter script, better narration and right casting.
Watching 'Anubhav' is not the experience one expected it to be.