There are multiple fake accents playing in your head when you walk out of Tezz. Kangana Ranaut’s Hinglish horror: “He eees my haas-band! I louuuu him”. Anil Kapoor’s Slumdog-meets-M:I-meets-jhakaas twang: “We gatta get that guy, duuuuudes!” Mohanlal’s grit-your-teeth liners: “My name is cheep insphetor Shivaaan Mei-non”.
Add Ajay Devgn’s permanent scowl and Zayed Khan’s gummy grin to this laugh-out-loud mix and you have Tezz. A trip to the movies that is an epic fail from frame one. A dumbed-down thriller that takes bits and pieces from every Hollywood actioner on the DVD rack — Speed to Die Hard, Unstoppable to The Taking of Pelham 123 — Tezz is a mangled mess of a movie. Even more mangled than the half-a-dozen cars and an entire train that have been blown up in the name of action!
Priyadarshan — who has made a career out of Akshay Kumar’s facial gymnastics over the past decade — leaves his trademark chaos-filled comedies to come up with the sob story of an illegal immigrant-turned terrorist who hatches a plot to bomb a London train. Reason? He felt “insulted” because he was deported! (Heard in the dark at the first day, first show in Fame South City: “I feel insulted when a cabbie refuses me a ride. Should I blow up a train?”)
In fact, Priyan — who “films” rather than “directs” his movies — can’t even be credited for Tezz. Almost every frame of its two hours has been liberally lifted from The Bullet Train, the 1975 Sonny Chiba edge-of-the-seat Japanese actioner that has provided the beginning, the middle or the end — and most often all three — of many a disaster film. In Tezz, of course, you really can’t make out the beginning from the middle or the middle from the end.
But let’s try and piece together this horror story. Devgn’s Akash Rana is the immigrant-turned-terrorist who gets separated from his pregnant wife Nitika (Kangana) when he is deported out of the UK. Since they haven’t really heard of the option of the wife taking the next flight out to India to join her husband, Akash returns four years later to take revenge on the Brits. The plan? Planting a bomb on a speeding London-Glasgow train. If the speed falls below 60kmph, the train blows up (in The Bullet Train it was 80kmph. Full marks to Priyadarshan for creativity).
The crisis brings out all the Indians in the Queen’s land. The chief controller of railway traffic is Indian (Boman Irani). The head of counter-terrorism operations is Indian (Anil Kapoor). A daredevil biker chick with a pout to put Angelina Jolie to shame is Indian (Sameera Reddy). The narcotics boss is Indian (Mohanlal). Mallika Sherawat, sporting Amy Winehouse hair and a total of two expressions, gyrates to a Hindi item number in a Brit club. Even the Brits here are Indian — their lip movements are in English, but the words that come out are chaste Hindi!
Devgn speaks in English when making threat calls, but does a Bhajji to reveal his Indian antecedents. No, he doesn’t bowl a doosra but just screams out ‘Teri maa ki!’ A satisfied cop (who is not Andrew Symonds) smiles: ‘He is an Indian.’
If you still haven’t figured out, this is that kind of a film.
Logic isn’t a strong point here. The cops depend on the wife to point out her criminal husband for they don’t have a picture of him, even though he is in the police files. Kapoor’s supercop doesn’t fish out his gun to shoot a criminal on the run just so that he can show off his Parkour stunt skills.
For a film that is so wannabe Hollywood, the VFX is embarrassingly poor. Whether it is the last-minute diversion of a train to avoid a collision or Anil Kapoor being thrown out of a window after an explosion, it all looks like the handiwork of a graphics trainee.
The only thing going for Tezz is that it is true to its name: it’s just about two hours long. But when a film is as foolish as this, even those 120 minutes can seem like a week. Especially when the background score (Sandeep Chowta) goes: Tezz… tezz… tezz… tezz… everyone tezz!
The dialogues plunge to new depths of idiocy, with Kangana’s being the pick of the lot. When her rich dad opposes her marriage to Devgn, she goes: “Woh aapse zyada padha-likha hai. He is an engineer!”
And the reason given to Devgn to name their son Akash? “Akash mein thoda sa kaash hai… aur main chahti thi ki kaash tum yahaan hotey!”