Friday, September 08, 2006

Naksha and Dil Diya Hai 


Debut-making director Sachin Bajaj must have been fed on a diet of Hollywood action films, so he attempts an Indiana Jones kind of thriller. However, he also cannot get away from Bollywood film clichés, and the result, Naksha, is well-shot, but otherwise lacklustre.

The most important ingredient of a good thriller is pace, and Naksha moves too leisurely for its own good. A droning prologue, and then a scene of Vicky (Viveik Oberoi) bathing and dressing for a friend’s bachelor party. Try asking how many people want to see Viveik dress up and see how many hands are raised!

Eventually, Vicky comes to the point, stumbles across a map his dead archaeologist father had left hidden. These are days of satellite mapping, who needs hand-drawn maps? And why do film characters carry around precious papers without making copies? They never heard of computers and copiers?

So while Vicky is wandering around North India with the map fluttering in his hand, it just so happens that a man who had seen the map with his father 20 years back, also happens to be the villain Bali’s (Jackie Shroff) henchman, and so Vicky is picked up and hung upside down. His half-brother Veer (Sunny Deol) comes to the rescue, and reluctantly accompanies Vicky on the quest. Joining them, for no useful purpose but to scream at regular intervals is Ria (Sameera Reddy). If she is redundant, what is one to make of the half-dressed girl standing behind Bali, and in the freezing mountain air at that! Suddenly, she changes costume, and does an item number in the Himalayas! Really, Mr Bajaj, grow up!

When the film should have been moving fast towards unlocking the mystery of the map, the director wastes time over such dumb gags as Ria’s snoring and the trio’s encounter with a tribe of pygmies.

When Bali catches up with them, he actually stops to give them a lesson in mythology, and you get to see an animated version of an episode from the Mahabharat. By this time the film is already a goner, the climax in the caves (reused from the era of McKenna’s Gold) is just a mandatory exercise, because the heroes have to win and the villain has to die.

Sunny Deol and Viveik Oberoi are okay, Jackie Shroff looks bored. Sameera Reddy’s make-up is always in place, whether she is river rafting or mountain climbing—her costume being a mini skirt, lace top and knee boots. She seems to be weather-proof too, not to mention Sunny Deol traipsing over snow clad peaks in s sleeveless jacket.

For inflicting Naksha on us Sachin Bajaj should be made to watch the Indiana Jones series and Romancing The Stone a thousand times.

Dil Diya Hai

Aaditya Datt’s first film Aashiq Banaya Aapne was no masterpiece, but after watching his second, Dil Diya Hai, one can actually conjure up fond memories of the earlier one—the music was terrific, Tanushree Datta was Venus compared to Geeta Basra, and Sonu Sood made a decent villain. Emraan Hashmi and Reshammiya are the common factors, and both are not in form here.

The plot of Dil Diya Hai (written by Datt and four others—too many cooks) is weird, and the direction so sluggish that the film wakes up only after the interval. One is not even discussing the morals of the story in which a girl forgives a guy for selling her into the flesh trade, because he needed money for his mother’s operation!

Sahil (Hashmi) is a travel agent, who plans the London trip of an Indian family. The bimbette daughter Neha (Geeta Basra) is prone to stupid behaviour, and between one thing and another, she is left behind as her family goes to Scotland. Sahil is fprced to drive her there. On the way, she falls ill, is looked after by a strange Indian couple in the wilderness – Ronny (Mithun Chakraborty) and his wife (Kitu Gidwani).

Then a desperate Sahil sells her to a kinky pimp Kunal (Ashmit Patel) because his mother (some woman sleeping under oxygen mask) is dying and he needs money. The heartless pimp falls in love with Neha and immediately wants to marry her. This is actually funnier than it sounds, and an age-old ploy to keep the heroine “pure” for the hero.

Sahil, of course, gets pangs of conscience, goes to rescue her and the Indian couple play a big role in it. Though at one point, when Kunal’s goons are chasing Sahil and Neha, instead of calling the cops, Ronny picks up a guitar and starts singing, as if waiting for the inevitable shootout to start. Like the Indian cops, the London police also seem to be indifferent to all manner of crime on the streets, and appear right in the end, when all the work is already done.

Some scheme by which films shot in the UK get subsidies, is resulting in a whole lot of awful movies shot there; Dil Diya Hai is another of those misadventures.


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