Friday, January 23, 2004


What can be done in a cop film that hasn’t been done before? Rajkumar Santoshi does not even bother to come up with a fresh storyline; he simply concentrates on making a hackneyed cop-vs-crooks film on such a large scale, with furious action, several twists and mini-climaxes, so that people notice the plot holes and lapses in logic much later.

A tired over-the-hill cop DCP Anant Kumar (Amitabh Bachchan) is assigned the mission of bringing a terrorist Ansari (Atul Kulkarni) to Bombay from a small town in the interiors of Maharashtra. With him are inspector Shekhar (Akshay Kumar), sub-inspector Ashwin (Tusshar) and two constables. The routine chore is made complicated by the fact that an earlier police team had been shot dead in an ambush.

Things start going wrong as soon as they reach the place, and the enemy—a rogue ex-cop Angre (Ajay Devgan) --bent on getting to Ansari, snapping at the heels of Anant and his men, so there is one life-threatening crisis following another. A social worker Mahalaxmi (Aishwarya Rai), joins the convoy too, as a potential witness.

The first half of the film piles up the problems, and in the second, the various skeletons come tumbling out—who was doing what devious deed and why. This part is a bit too contrived – people seem to what the scriptwriters want—like Shekhar taking Mahalaxmi along to retrieve an important file; or a crucial character inexplicably dying without a whimper, or people having instant change of heart just because DCP Anant gives them a sermon. The investigating journalist (stereotyped kutra-jhola type), the evil minister and the corrupt office in cahoots with the villains are stock characters.

Where Santoshi is absolutely sure-footed is in the smooth narration and technical finesse – though the songs could have been dispensed with. Also, the performances are first-rate. Bachchan exudes sincerity; Akshay Kumar has some of the funniest lines, Tusshar looks the part of a newbie learning the ropes the hard way, Ajay Devgan drips venom and Atul Kulkarni expresses anguish very effectively with his eyes. Aishwarya Rai is the only grating element when everyone else fits their parts perfectly.


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