Friday, July 23, 2004


If anyone comes out after a show of Asambhav not feeling befuddled, annoyed, bored and headache-y, they deserve a medal for valour.

Rajiv Rai has made some satisfactory entertainers before so such a turkey was not expected from him. Besides, there are so many espionage thrillers to copy, why do a botched-up job of imitation?   The biggest laugh, of course, is Rai taking credit for ‘story and original concept’ both of which are conspicuous by their absence.

It takes too much effort to figure out who is who, what is what, and why any of this is happening on screen.   There is the kidnapping of the Indian President (Mohan Agashe, deadpan), some 50 million dollars floating around,  a gang each of mercenaries, Afghanis, ISI operatives, Indian Embassy staff in Switzerland, plus Swiss and Italians extras and so many others that the screen looks like Kumbh Mela at any given time.

To add to these are the official ‘heroes’—Captain Arya (Arjun Rampal),  Sam Hans (Naseeruddin Shah), an Indian club owner in Locarno,  Bhargava (Jameel Khan), a RAW guy in Switzerland plus Priyanka Chopra and Dipannaita Sharma, presumably for the glamour.

The President and the dollars keep changing hands, can’t keep track or why or to whom.  Priyanka Chopra keeps dropping by to dance, Arjun Rampal to do his commando number and Naseeruddin Shah to just go ‘boom boom.’

Ten minutes into the film and you are cowering under the assault of too many words and too little action. Someone spouts poetry, someone spouts Pashto and everyone In Locarno speaks high-falutin’ Hindi, as if they just studied Sanskrit in Benaras.

Like a lot of bad films, this one’s not even unintentionally funny. It’s just brainless and clunky and absolute torment to sit through.  The ‘misuse’ of Naseeruddin Shan and the excessive use of split screen should be enough to debar Rajiv Rai from film direction for a couple of years!


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