Saturday, January 20, 2007


Right from the opening voiceover about Mumbai, and that gunshot and flight of pigeons, you know just where Vishram Sawant’s Risk is coming from (the Ram Gopal Varma influence) and where it will end. Such a high level of predictability can be death for a film, no matter how well-made it may be.

Randeep Hooda played a deadpan gangster in the same director’s D; he plays a deadpan cop in Risk. It’s as if the same character has crossed the fence to the right side of the law. All the dark (aren’t hitmen ever fair?), thuggish-looking actors who must be on Ramgopal Varma’s casting-for-taporis file, find themselves in this film. The same brown, gritty look and grimy locations. The only thing different is the presence of Vinod Khanna in the role of Bangkok-based don Khalid Bin Jamal- the actor in designer Pathanis giving the role more dignity than it deserves.

Suryakant Satam (Hooda), with a nagging mother and inexplicably posh girlfriend (Tanushree Datta in a dispensable role) is an ‘Encounter Specialist’ like Nana Patekar in Ab Tak Chappan. He can’t live without his uniform, he says, and the gun is an extension of his arm, as he expressionlessly guns down pleading-for-mercy gangsters.

Satam is caught in the complicated web of deceit involving the home minister (Anant Jog), Khalid’s henchwoman in Mumbai (Seema Biswas), rival Don Naidu (Zakir Husain with bootblack make-up) and the commissioner of police (didn’t get the actor’s name). His immediate superior (Shiv Subrahmaniam) is supportive, and he also has a couple of loyal associates on his killing sprees.

Like in Ab Tak Chappan, he is punished for doing his duty a little too diligently and then pretends to joins hands with Khalid. And so and so forth till the end which anyone can see coming a mile away.

A few well done scenes- like the riot outside a politician’s house when Suryakant goes to arrest her; or the one where he shrugs and goes on to do the job at hand when he hears of his mother’s fatal heart attack. And a lot of ‘why’ ones—like Khalid always feeding or massaging his spastic son. Or Suryakant’s girlfriend haranguing him about their relationship. But it is clear that Sawant’s attempts to ‘humanise’ his robotically violent characters are hurriedly inserted, so that he can get back to the mind-numbing encounter killings.

If it was the first one of its kind, then maybe Risk might have had some novelty value, but seeing it now after so many RGV films and me-toos, the only question that repeatedly comes to mind is, why did Vishram Sawant even want to make this film?


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