Sunday, April 17, 2005


For two new directors (Radhika Rao and Vinay Sapru) to get a star like Salman Khan, a generous budget and gorgeous Russian locations -- that’s a lucky break. To blow it up on a boring, plodding, inane film is no way to go.

Lucky—No Time For Love had the potential to be a wonderful action-adventure-comedy, if only the characters and situations had been better etched, and the pace kept brisk. But the lead pair starts singing slow romantic songs (composed by Adnan Sami) in the middle of what could have been a nail-biting moment, or get an easy rescue in a very sticky situation-- the little excitement the plot builds up dissipates completely.

Lucky (Sneha Ullal, a cross between Mandakini, Mayuri Kango and Aishwarya Rai) is the school-going daughter of an embassy official (Ravi Baswani, after ages) in Russia, who sneaks into a car to escape a molester.

The car belongs to Aditya (Salman Khan), the son of the Indian Ambassador (Vikram Gokhale), which drives right into a ‘jung’ (war) situation with soldiers and insurgents blasting away. What the problem is, who is fighting whom, when, why—is conveniently glossed over. So when Lucky and Aditya are lost in the Russian wilderness, from where they will emerge unscathed—this is a movie, right?—you don’t get that pulse-pounding sense of danger, that would have made the movie work.

The two have these cute little spats as they get into one crisis after another, from which they are invariably rescued by the mysterious PD Kapoor (Mithun Chakraborty), clown, master of disguise and supposed “Intelligence Officer” (huh?), who gets everywhere in a jiffy even with a Civil War on!

The directors go very wrong in the screenplay department— for instance, to have one scene of the lead pair hiding from soldiers chasing and shooting terrorists, immediately followed by a dance under blazing lights is unforgivable. Not to mention gaffes like Lucky being on the wrong side of the border when the ‘war’ breaks out, or her jumping out of a train and running miles to join Aditya lying wounded on the tracks.

Why have a teenage heroine if she is so devoid of energy and spirit? The dialogue should have crackled with witty banter. All Lucky does is whine and squeak “Adi” like a wind-up doll. There is even a ‘Princess and the Pea’ scene forced in, making you wince at the extra delicate, damsel-in-distress, who just so outdated! Of course, Salman Khan whoops it up playing the modern day equivalent of a knight-in-shining armour, and he is one of the two reasons for watching this film. The other is the beautifully shot (Sudeep Chatterjee) locations not seen in a Hindi film before.


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