Folk tale, fairy tale, fable, Bollywood masala, fantasy, exaggerated larger than life dacoit drama, freedom struggle salutation? Sadly, a tasteless amalgamation of all this in a thoroughly meaningless collage camouflaged as big business, high budget entertainment. There is just too much self-indulgence in this narrative. Karan Malhotra seems to replicate the Manmohan Desai formula. Only, […]
Folk tale, fairy tale, fable, Bollywood masala, fantasy, exaggerated larger than life dacoit drama, freedom struggle salutation? Sadly, a tasteless amalgamation of all this in a thoroughly meaningless collage camouflaged as big business, high budget entertainment.
There is just too much self-indulgence in this narrative. Karan Malhotra seems to replicate the Manmohan Desai formula. Only, today’s audience is not likely to swallow a rehash of Thugs of Hindustan. In terms of passion, it is a farce, art it is perverse, narrative it is convoluted, scale it is amateur, action it is juvenile. Take the attack on the corrupt police official at the wedding, it is symbolic of the entire 156 plus minutes: Much Ado About Nothing.
If you are searching for a story: Samshera (Ranbhir Kapoor looking lost as never before) is a rebel tribal leader fighting hard to restore respect for the Khameerans in the city of Kaza. More dreadful is an outlandish police constable Daroga Suddh Singh (Sunjay Dutt). One false coercion when Shamshera’s wife Iravate Harshe declares the leader a traitor the heads turn around and pelts their beloved leader to death.
No parallels please! The tide of time springs its own new stream with Balli (Ranbhir as son rebel) now still fighting the colonial regime which is tempered. The endless clash between the tribals now organized under Balli with the help of Mahi Chacha (Saurabh Shukla) forces the audience unsympathetically through the hills and forests of no-no land. The eagle from Coolie inspired by the Daphne De Maurier’s Parasites arrives to the most challenging script to discretely attack the evil doers at crucial moments.
Even as Balli takes the road not travelled with parchment maps and background advice the fiasco of a film unfurls. Just as the protagonist is required to endure severe tests of sandstorms, ravines, mountains, deserts, the audience is tested through tough terrain and more.
There is then the Crown of the British Queen on a symbolic subcontinent tour to reflect Her Majesty’s grandeur which Balli manages to rob with consummate ease to have the colonial rulers and the old devil Daroga thirsting for his blood.
In the midst of all this the filmmaker gets Mithun (music director) to intervene with his creativity and lets lead pair Balli and local dancer Sona (Vani Kapoor) dance and croon to glory. As a mutiny that mock sanity is at its peak in the midst of sand dust lecherous laughs and a defeaning background score the climax goes berserk and you cringe.
Your heart goes out for Ranbhir who tries his best to respond to an image change. He obviously did not read the script. You can give him an unkempt look, dress him in a shabby hairdo, and bad beard but you cannot get the quintessential Kapoor out of him.
With Raj Kapoor’s Chaplinesq gait, Shammi’s sense of rhythm and Shashi’s charm playing a patriotic dacoit (whatever that means!) is not easy. The casting director Shanoo Sharma gets nothing right. Vani Kapoor as a tribal dancer!?
Sanjay Dutt fails to install any hate, anger, fear, or dread.