QUICKTAKES

Visual custard, though stolen Musafir From the desk of the director Rok sako to rok lo Audience-protected, anyway! Badshah

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 17.12.04
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Visual custard, though stolen

Musafir

Director: Sanjay Gupta
Cast:
Anil Kapoor, Sunjay Dutt, Sameera Reddy, Koena Mitra, Aditya Panscholi, Mahesh Manjrekar
5.5/10

Musafir is the sort of flick guys like when they watch it with buddies and pretend to hate when they carry girlfriends or wives along. Slick and stylised like his earlier effort, Kaante, director Sanjay Gupta?s new film is about smart-talking men without morals. And cool women without both clothes and morals. Story centres around hard-on-luck crook (Anil Kapoor), out to save his skin and every other part of his body, from big crime daddy (Sunjay Dutt). Worse, he ends up getting involved with a woman (Sameera Reddy) who wants to bump off her husband (Mahesh Manjrekar) and vice-versa.

Grey is a new colour in black-or-white Bollywood. And, to its credit, Musafir opts for fresh shades. But towards the climax, Gupta?s guts head for the gutter as the desi take on Oliver Stone?s vastly underrated but splendidly dark, U-Turn (1997), moves towards familiar Hindi masala.

If you haven?t seen U-Turn, chances are you might still like Musafir. Then you can avoid sub-consciously comparing Sean Penn?s skills with Anil Kapoor?s. And, it?s blasphemous but one must say it, Jennifer Lopez?s body with Sameera Reddy?s.

We have Koena Mitra, too. You like her. Especially, when she starts soaping herself, instead of the car. But, seriously, as a woman who first steals the hero?s heart, and then his money, she is better than Ms Reddy. That?s not saying much though.

The entire male cast behaves like studs. Both Anil and bad cop Aditya Panscholi also act like one. Only Sunjay?s gold-toothed, knife-twirling Billa, the bad guy who loves Hindi movies, exudes real star power. Along with Mahesh Manjrekar, Sunjay gets the taalis and the ceetees.

The film?s digitised lenswork is firang class and the songs have a with-it feel. Musafir is gorgeous, visual custard. Okay, it?s stolen. But why should that stop you from enjoying it?

Avijit Ghosh

From the desk of the director

Rok sako to rok lo

Director: Arindam Chaudhuri
Cast:
Sunny Deol, Yash Pandit, Manjari Fadnis, Carran Kapur, Aparna Kumar, Rakesh Bedi, Anjan Shrivastava, Deepti Bhatnagar, Shubho Shekhar Bhattacharjee, Rajit Kapoor, Tinnu Anand, Archana Puran Singh, Tiku Talsania, Namrata Shirodkar
3.5/10

Disappointed is how Rok Sako To Rok Lo, a hugely hyped ensemble project, leaves its audience. With so many overseeing panellists around, it still ends up as a straight lift from Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. And blandly made. Or, remade.

The marathon race rivalry between two high schools, one posh and the other ?fatichar?, is how the story goes. There?s a friendship theme as well, with Yash Pandit?s friend circle standing for mini India, having a representative from each zone. But themes fall apart as an inane script combines with trite dialogues, making sad attempts at humour. With below-par editing (Robiranjan Moitra not in his element here) and literally poor-looking sets (Sameer Chanda), it doesn?t build up any dramatic tension except in the well shot marathon race.

As for the acting, debutant Yash looks more in command of his biceps than his facial muscles. The other debutante, Manjari Fadnis, is pretty and more acceptable, but it is Sunny Deol, as a deus ex machina, who is a bizarre piece of casting. He looks clearly overage and overweight and, worse, distinctly uninterested. Rajit, Tiku, Archana and Namrata fare slightly better.

The music by Jatin Lalit is not too rocking either, though this and the well-shot climax (Santosh Thundiyil) salvage the film somewhat towards the end, but it?s much too late by then. Corporatised film, anyone? Bana sako to bana lo.

Arnab Bhattacharya

Audience-protected, anyway!

Badshah

Director: Shankar Ray
Cast:
Prosenjit, Koel Mallick, Subhashis Mukherjee, Dulal Lahiri, Labony Sarkar, Anamika Saha
4.5/10

Shankar Ray?s Badshah comes with the tagline ?Born to Protect? (sic). Could well have been splashed on the posters of any of Prosenjit?s films. In every film of his, he is an avataar, born to protect everyone from annaay and attayachar. In fact, which Indian hero, isn?t? Not every Indian hero, of course, can carry it off, film after film, so effortlessly, like our Tollywood Badshah. And effortlessly, with reference to him, means literally that. Period.

Our flustered Shah Rukhs and Aamirs and Saifs and Sunnys may desperately go looking for new stories, and more importantly, new looks, in new films, but our Prosenjit can simply sit back and relax. And make the same dramatic entries, mouth the same dialogues, in the same born-to-protect storylines, and remain stuck to his jackets, like Jeetendra to his whites, Dev Anand to his mufflers, and audiences to him!

Being protected in Badshah are not just the para boys, but also pretty Koel, playing a college girl terrified of her uncle. And critics muttering that he needs to put in a little effort at least to change his baddie-bashing and cigarette-whisking style, can go and take a walk, for he has the audiences rooting, anyway.

Deepali Singh