Saturday, October 30, 2004

Inteqam: The Perfect Game 

Is it by chance that Basic Instinct has been released in Mumbai at the same time as Pankuj Parashar’s Inteqam: The Perfect Game? So that audiences (at least the ones that do not have access to DVDs) can see the difference between a Hollywood original and its pitiful Bollywood rehash?

Parashar has claimed in an interview that his film is not Basic Instinct—he’s right, it’s not. Because he has taken a few scenes from Paul Verhoeven’s erotic thriller and turned out a mindless, convoluted, boy scout suspense flick of no consequence.

Actually, even the original film highlighting the power female sexuality (12 years later, a Hindi film in the era of sexual boldness in the movies, dares not replicate the famous uncrossing-of-legs scene) seems tame by today’s Hollywood standards. Back then, jaws dropped because Sharon Stone ‘flashed’, now the reaction would be ‘big deal’.

But the voracious sexual predator had the macho cop almost on his knees.
In Inteqam, the heroine is a vain, badly dressed, thriller writer Avantika (Ishaa Koppikar). It so happens that a couple of murders are committed according to scenes in her book and it gets encounter ‘specialist cop’ Uday (Manoj Thakur) all hot under the collar.

Far from being a threat, Avantika looks like a pouting kitten trying to pass off as a tigress. She is soon reduced to a quivering, hysterical mess, but not by Uday, who is kept busy in the bedroom by his psychoanalyst girlfriend Mehak (Nethra Raghuraman).

When its time for all to be revealed, the unfolding of the suspense is so spectacularly daft, it would rate as the corniest climaxes of all time.

Parashar manages to shoot some scenes stylishly and expose a lot of female skin in the MTV-like song interludes, but surely that doesn’t interest anyone any more. Performances? No go – all characters miscast. Manoj Bajpai is not in the least cool in leather jackets and dark glasses; Ishaa Koppikar looks as if she couldn’t even think of a few coherent words, leave aside write them (she talks into a dictaphone in Hindi, and it come out on her laptop in English), and if Nethra Raghuraman is a psychoanalyst, then lipstick, blush-on and eyeshadow sales must have gone up in the medical community, since one last met a real shrink.


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