Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Kaal & KKPK 


It’s a regulation horror flick, not the kind that should have got producers Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar delirious with excitement.

Writer-director Soham has reportedly worked with Ram Gopal Varma and Karan Johar before making Kaal— it seems, he has been more influenced by the Bhoot and Vaastu Shastra kind of films from the Varma camp than the sweetness-and-light Johar romances.

A fabulous Shah Rukh-Malaika Arora ‘item’ number accompanying the credits, and Kaal plunges right into Orbit National Park, where a man-eating tiger has been causing havoc. National Geographic sends wildlife expert Krish (John Abraham makes a sexy bare-chested entry with a python wrapped around him!) and his photographer girlfriend (Esha Deol) to Orbit.

Another group of friends Dev (Vivek Oberoi), his girlfriend (Lara Dutta), and two friends (you need to have tiger fodder) land up in the jungle too.

Krish, Dev and gang have to hook up because both their car break down. They hire into a battered open jeep and enter the forest. Soon enough, people around them start getting mauled. Landslides prevent them from leaving the forest, till a mysterious black-clad man called Kali (Ajay Devgan) offers to help them.

The killings, however, go on and the film ends with a tame climax, that leaves room for a sequel.

A loose and implausible plot (even by the stretchable logic of the horror genre), several loopholes and ill-defined characters mar the film (with ideas borrowed from Wrong Turn, Blair Witch Project and a bit from The Ghost and the Darkness), but it hits bull’s eye in the technical departments.

Even though the topography inexplicably shifts from dry bush to lush forest, the film has a superb visual quality (Santosh Thundiyil). The sound (Dwarak Warrier) and background music (Salim Sulaiman) add to the ‘creepy’ quotient of the film.

Soham sets up some really scary scenes, but on the whole the story doesn’t hold. People utter platitudes about ‘khatarnak’ jungles and the destruction of animal habitats, but the way the film goes, you can’t even take its ‘Protect Wildlife’ message seriously. The characters just don’t come alive; and why on earth do women in films get up in the middle of the night to fetch water from a spooky well, when they’ve just been warned against it? Why would half a dozen people try to cross a flimsy wooden bridge in a jeep instead of walking across it? Throughout the film, people are begging to be killed, not a trait that gets them sympathy.

Ajay Devgan and John Abraham keep interest in the film alive to some extent, while Vivek Oberoi battles, unsuccessfully, with his badly written part. The two girls—most inappropriately dressed in minis and bikini tops)— contribute more irritation than glamour to Kaal.

Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen

Today, Preity Zinta would cringe if she saw Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen. It obviously belongs to the time Govinda was still managing to draw some of his fans with David Dhawan imitation comedies.

Today when the Govinda magic in films is waning, this old Harmesh Malhotra film comes out, bringing no credit to anyone. Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen is almost a one-man comedy act, with Govinda playing a street-smart Bihari who manages to outwit two dons (Kader Khan-Prem Chopra).

The warring dons have been ordered by their boss (Sadashiv Amrapurkar) to get their children married so that they will be forced to behave. Raja (Govinda) lands up at Preity’s (Zinta) house, pretending to be the man she is to marry. He wins her over, charms her father, and even manages to keep the con going when the real fiancé (Mohnish Bahl) appears.

Loud comedy, crazy characters and silly gags abound. Everybody tries so hard to get laughs that a few scenes do turn out funny, but there is a tired, worn-out, been-there-done-that feel to the film, that makes it so unappealing.


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