Friday, January 28, 2005


First of all, why is this film called Blackmail? Nobody blackmails anyone in it!

Misleading title apart, what the film proves again is that if you give an ignorant person a bag of gold, he won’t know what to do with it. Which is more or less the case with Anil Devgan, who takes up Clint Eastwood’s profoundly moving A Perfect World, and by the time he has finished Indianising or ‘chutnifying it’, it is a boring, unpalatable mess.

In the original, a criminal and a child who comes from a dysfunctional background, bond and for a few days create their own perfect world, which is then crushed by the well-meaning cruelty of the law-protectors.

In Anil Devgan’s Blackmail, a criminal Shekhar (Ajay Devgan), kidnaps the child of a cop Abhay Rathore (Sunil Shetty), not knowing it is his own son (Parth Dave) by his dead wife (Dia Mirza). By the time he finds out, it is too late to forge a real relationship with the boy, though he tries very hard.

Director Devgan adds a don (Mukesh Rishi) so that some more action sequences can be put in, plus the usual quota of song and dance, including the worst item number ever seen in Hindi films.

Abhay’s son Chirag, comes from a stable family (Priyanka Chopra plays the mother), where he is not deprived of anything, except that his father does not give him too much time. Why would this child go along having a picnic with the kidnapper, instead of shouting for help! Perhaps if the kid were younger-- but this kid is shown to be eight years old, big enough to have more sense.

Devgan does a good job with the action sequences, and the film is quite well shot, but he misses the point of the original; so Blackmail is just a meandering, meaningless crime flick that fails even to thrill at a surface level. Getting the audience involved in the story of the two men fighting for the love of a child, is way beyond the ability of the director.

Only an actor like Ajay Devgan could have carried off this role, towards the end, he does manage to wrench the audiences’ sympathy. But one performer against a host of ‘lamp posts’ -- it’s an uneven match.


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