There's drama. There are moments atypical of Hindi films. There's the regular Bolly-masala. It entertains and it engages but not for the entire length. Ultimately like many films longer than 2 hours it doesn't arrest you in your seats.
Friends are forever or maybe they are not. Or maybe they become best of friends except for that thin line that still keeps them apart. Does being human mean taking care of yourself or does it mean giving yourself to one and all? Can a human be so selfish or so selfless? Both nauseating in their own way? Well, it takes all kinds to make this world. And that I guess makes it an interesting place to live in albeit insane. Yes. A Vipul Amrutlal Shah film made me think beyond what was going on, on screen. And this is, despite having a few of the quintessential Hindi film touches to it.
That's because it ALSO had broader non-standard and pleasantly surprising strokes. Example, there's no one event or line that transforms the good to evil or vice versa, the character is written in such a way that the transition is smooth. Another such stroke, which I thought made this entire film worth its while, was Arjun's (Ajay Devgn's) character. His traits established, the passion that drives him to his goal and maybe even to insanity. Whether or not he achieves his goal and/or insanity is for you to go and watch. And that's the beauty. The film maintains a dark-ish atmosphere where you know anything could happen and it's equally likely that the film won't end on a popular note. And that keeps the interest alive. Ajay, of course, makes and maintains the serious ambience through the film. The twitches and the way the eyes move to disclose what's on Arjun's mind are not to be missed.
But, then again it's a mainstream Hindi film and it keeps reminding you of that. For instance, almost all the other characters are pretty much flat. Including Manu (Salman Khan) and Priya (Asin). And the actors didn't do much with whatever little scope their characters had either. Salman Khan is his usual stuff. His comic timing is best at some of the really funny lines given to him. It's amazing how the man can do the same thing over and over and over and still have his fans cheering and hooting for him all through. Though in this one there are a few dashes of facial muscle movement here and there.
In a script that did so much with the male protagonist, it’s a shame that the lead woman was so etchily sketched. She could have been more involved. She could at the very least have not disappeared from one of the most crucial plot points in the film!
The show-down is a bit too much to swallow. And the climax came way too quickly and was abrupt. Yes, and I'm still complaining about its length. It's sad when a film is long and you still find something amiss.
Whatever the drawbacks of the film are in terms story or dialogues the improvement, in the entertainment-quotient of these two departments (of a Vipul Shah film) came as a pleasant surprise. And so did the aesthetics in terms of cinematography and sound design. Maybe just losing Akshay Kumar might have done the trick. Ok, sorry, couldn't resist that unwarranted dig.
It's a film that makes you want the hero to win and the anti-hero to not lose. You flinch when the latter is punished and want to reach out to him and tell him it's ok. This one also has a strong hard work vs. talent+charisma debate as a backdrop. But the drama goes on a tad too long. Long enough for you to notice the holes in the other departments. And there they lose us.
- meetu, a part of the audience