Eklavya - The Royal Guard (18) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

This lavish Indian saga opens with a Shakespeare sonnet and, with its plot about a troubled prince, a king murdered by his brother and a mentally disturbed young woman, it recalls Hamlet. The death of his mother brings Prince Harshwardhan (Saif Ali Khan) back to the royal fort in Rajasthan, where he becomes embroiled in intrigue, learning the lifelong secret guarded by Eklavya (Amitabh Bachchan). Thematically, it explores the total obedience to dharma, or sacred duty, and the countervailing demands of familial love, a tension that gathers wonderfully. Set pieces are well handled by Chopra, the best a murder scene played out in total darkness. It's ripe melodrama, with little regard for realism, but that's what makes it enjoyable.