Sunday, January 16, 2005

Musafir and RSTRL 

A borrowed plot, sluggish pace, crass rambling dialogue and a script that often shoots itself in the foot, Sanjay Gupta’s Musafir has so much over-the-top style, that it is unwatchable.

A down-on-his luck gangster, ironically named Lucky (Anil Kapoor) runs afoul of bigger gangster Billa (Sanjay Dutt), when his girlfriend Lara (Koena Mitra) runs off with stolen millions. Lucky is given a chance to save his life by the whimsical Billa, which, for some inexplicable reason requires going to Goa to do a fairly simple money-for-drugs swap. This also gets messed up because a ruthless Goan cop called Tiger (Aditya Panscholi) gets on to Lucky’s case.

In spite of Billa cracking the whip (or rather barking over the cell phone), Lucky finds the time to fall in love with Sam (Sameera Reddy), who is married to a lout Luka (Mahesh Manjrekar), and manages to wrap Lucky around her finger with a sob story of child abuse. Luka tells Lucky another sob story about how the young ‘Lolita’ wrecked his life and begs him to kill Sam.

Lucky, who has ‘sucker’ stamped all over him, gets trapped into one dead end after another, till Billa decides that “the story is coming to an and there has been no action.” He speaks for the audience almost falling asleep, with nothing happening – that too in sepia tones and flashy music video editing. Though you appreciate the labour that has gone into all this gimmickry, it still ends up leaving you headachy and cross-eyed!

Billa leads the film to a very unsatisfactory climax and an uncharacteristic happy ending that makes you wondering how come nobody will count the bodies of all those Goan cops shot by Lucky and Billa.

The actors have all been carefully and ostentatiously styled – Sanjay Dutt has played the bhai in so many films that the only way you can tell him apart in this film is by the gold teeth and a funky weapon he swings like a key chain. Anil Kapoor gets spiky hair and grungy wardrobe, while Sameera Reddy gets a bronzed look and skimpy clothes, which don’t make her look in the least bit sexy— she could try acting next time.

So after seeing what a good cameraman and a good special effects studio can do, you still need to know what the heck’s going on in the film.

Sanjay Gupta probably imagines himself to be India’s answer to Quentin Tarantino and Oliver Stone ( U-Turn is his basic source of inspiration for Musafir), but the film just makes him look like an overeager debutant trying to show off his technical skills. If after making so many films (all plagiarized), Gupta still needs to come up with this cinematic swagger, he ought to be sent back to film school to clear his mind of Hollywood junk.


Why bother to rip off an old teen flick if there is nothing fresh to say. Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander was a well made but standard issue youth movie, so it’s new version Rok Sako To Rok Lo by Arindam Chaudhuri offers just a load of déjà vu.

The management guru and first-time filmmaker tries to make up for lack of directorial skills by throwing money into the movie. Unfortunately, with a no-go script, the money doesn’t go too far.
Newcomers Yash Pandit and Manjari lead a group of losers in Bharti School—they are broke, brainless and not even good at sports. The boys seem to spend all their time teasing girls and grumbling about the more privileged students at the posh Valley High School led by Ranveer (Carran Kapur). It takes a mysterious biker Kabir or ‘Phantom’ (Sunny Deol) to motivate this bunch of dorks.

There is a predictable love triangle, too— how can there be a teen slick without the obligatory romance? Then, there is an additional element of ‘national integration’ as Yash’s group comes from diverse regional groups; there are the usual stereotypes-- a Sardarji, a Tamilian, a Bengali family. And of course the marathon in the climax, which the ‘loser’ has to win after crossing many hurdles!

None of the young cast is particularly impressive and the music just so-so. You’d expect that a man who runs an educational institution himself, would be more clued into the minds and aspirations of students and make a film with some depth, instead of the usual rich-poor, nerd-jock conflict.


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