Disclosure (1994) and Aitraaz (2004) – Bolly Holly Films – 4

The movie “Disclosure” made history by showcasing a unique twist to a more common tale – Sexually aggressive, predatory behavior by a woman towards an unwilling man. When the woman is the stunning Demi Moore and the man is Michael Douglas, the film is bound to draw substantial interest.

I liked Disclosure. Demi Moore looks great and carries the film. As a story, Disclosure revolves around the conflict between Demi Moore and Michael Douglas. But, the rest of the script seems made up to give some semblance of reality to the story. For example, it is not at all clear why Demi Moore is so desperate to seduce Michael Douglas and that too in her office. (There is a brief but undeveloped allusion to a series of past predatory seductions of other men who reported to her.) The character of Michael’s wife, played by Caroline Goodall, is virtually ignored in the conflict between Demi and Michael.

Michael’s lawyer, played by Roma Maffia, is another powerful character in the film. The arbitration hearing, where Roma plays the tape of Demi assaulting Michael, is the high dramatic point in the film. From here, the story gets too Hollywoodish and totally unrealistic from a corporate point of view. The final scene is ludicrous. Their company is involved in a merger transaction in which the CEO is going to make a fortune. During the media briefing, Demi confronts Michael and accuses him of botching the key product of the company (the product being the main reason for merger transaction).  If Demi turns out to be right, she could get Michael fired, but the director does not seem to realize that, in that case, the merger would collapse. What CEO will allow this charade to take place in the full glare of the media?

“Aitraaz” (2004) is an interpretation of Disclosure. I call it an interpretation because the only aspects common to both films are the sexually predatory behavior of a woman towards an unwilling man and the key piece of technical evidence that exonerates the man.

Aitraaz begins with a chance meeting with Akshay Kumar (Michael Douglas character) and Priyanka Chopra (Demi Moore character) on a beach in South Africa. They get along great and begin a relationship. Priyanka gets pregnant and breaks the news to Akshay. He is thrilled and wants to get married. Priyanka is horrified. She is set on being a supermodel and getting to the top of the hill. A pregnancy would damage her career. They break up and Akshay warns Priyanka that she may get where she wants to go but she will totally lonely when she gets there.

Akshay returns to Mumbai.  He meets and fall in love with Kareena Kapoor, a young lawyer. Life is great until, one day at his company’s reception, the Chairman of the company introduces his new and young wife as the Managing Director of the company. She is Priyanka, Akshay’s old girlfriend and now his boss.

Priyanka has reached the top of the hill but is incredibly lonely. She is an old tycoon’s trophy wife with money and power.  Now she wants Akshay back in her life. She promotes Akshay and makes him report directly to her.

She finds an excuse to ask Akshay to come to their home one evening to discuss a critical project. When Akshay gets there,  Priyanka is alone. She tells him that she does not want to break up Akshay’s marriage but demands a physical relationship. Akshay refuses. This confrontation should be viewed rather than described. (see the first half of the clip below).

Priyanka tells her husband that Akshay tried to rape her. Akshay is fired. He sues Priyanka and the company.
The rest of the movie is about the legal confrontation. The power of the company is hard to overcome. Akshay’s lawyer meets with an accident when he is about to obtain key evidence. Kareena Kapoor, his wife and his lawyer’s assistant, then takes over the case.  The final courtroom scene is worth watching.  (See the second half of part 18 and first half of part 19 below).

(Aitraaz part 18 on You Tube)

(Aitraaz part 19 – YouTube)

In my opinion, Kareena Kapoor carries the second half of the film. She is sensuous as his Akshay’s romantic love as well as a tour de force as a wife fighting for her husband and a lawyer defending her client.

Visually both Disclosure and Aitraaz are beautiful films. Demi Moore and Michael Douglas are A-grade stars. Demi Moore is perfect as the predator and looks terrific.

Her counterpart in Aitraaz, Priyanka Chopra – Miss World 2000, is gorgeous as well. Kareena Kapoor looks sensational in this film and is the true star of the film. Akshay Kumar shows why he has become the most bankable actor and star in Bollywood. The musical score of Aitraaz is superb.

The first song shows the sizzling relationship between Akshay and Priyanka.

The song below is during the happy and romantic period for Akshay Kumar and Kareena Kapoor.

Priyanka is introduced at the corporate party as the new, young wife of the Chairman of Akshay’s company. She cannot hide her feelings for Akshay and Kareena notices.

Priyanka fantasizes about Akshay before meeting him in her office.

When Akshay rejects Priyanka and returns home, he finds his wife has thrown a party for him.

Perhaps, the softest and the prettiest song of the film is during the final credits

Do get a DVD of Aitraaz and watch it. Then tell us what you think. You could also watch the entire film (in a series of 19 clips ) on You Tube.

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