Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Taarzan The Wonder Car 

A car with a mind of it’s own? Funky idea, but Abbas Mustan’s Taarzan The Wonder Car is a heavy revenge drama, rather than a frothy comedy like the series featuring the cute Volkswagen ‘Herbie’, or the all time kiddie favourite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The violence and morbidity makes it unhealthy for kids – though they will like the car’s almost human antics--and it is much to juvenile for adults to enjoy. A neither here-nor-there film, but at least a bit off the beaten track.

Car designer Deven (Ajay Devgan in a special appearance) is killed by five villains and his designs for a futuristic car stolen. Then this aspect of the plot is promptly forgotten, because that car never seems to make an appearance on the road.

Years later, Deven’s son Raj (Vatsal Sheth)- -college student and part time mechanic, finds the wreck of his father’s car and rebuilds it using that design. As he romances fellow student Priya (Ayesha Takia), the ‘wonder car’ tracks down the villains and kills them one by one.

After the first two murders, the shock and novelty value of the driverless car chasing and killing people wears out, and then the remaining murders stretch the film out beyond boredom point.

Abbas Mustan stuff the film with every character actor available—from Amrish Puri (Raj’s boss at the garage) downwards. And there are some weak attempts at humour (including some double meaning lines), but on the whole, tone of the film remains ponderous.

The car looks like a garish horror no classy person would be seen dead in, but some of the special effects – like the car repairing itself after a battering---are not bad at all.

Of the two newcomers, Vatsal Sheth is earnest; Ayesha Takia’s skimpy wardrobe and harsh voice take away from the freshness a new actress should be able to convey.

Once again the point comes up that filmmakers should reconsider the three-hour running time of commercial Hindi films. If Taarzan were a 90 minutes long, it would have been fast paced and entertaining— an action adventure going over this limit is as uncomfortable as a ride on a pot-holed highway.


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