Monday, October 22, 2007


Our filmmakers could write a book on how to pick up a good Hollywood film and mess it up. Cellular, which Vikram Bhatt rips-off badly, was a contrived but fast-paced and enjoyable thriller.

It was fabulously scripted (by Phone Booth writer Larry Cohen), and tautly paced. But with their Bhatt’s own additions and interpolations make Speed a total bore. And ridiculous too—the Indian prime minister visiting London is a woman (Suhasini Mulay); she is supposed to be there for a big event, which turns out to be a tacky open-air affair in the backyard of a hotel, which has all kinds of people walking in and out, despite talk of terrorist threats.

The basic idea is the same as that of Cellular—Richa is kidnapped by a Dhoni-haired villain (Aftab Shivdasani) and his black PVC-mini-clad moll (Sophie Choudhry). With a smashed phone Richa manages to dial a random number and it happens to be that of Sandy (Zayed Khan). He agrees to go to the cops and help her, but gets flung into a long-drawn out adventure involving trying to rescue Richa’s kid, a plot to assassinate the Indian PM and, in between running about, making desperate attempts to pacify his angry girlfriend Sanjana (Tanushree Dutta), who also jumps into the fray.

To complete the picture is Richa’s husband (Sanjay Suri), who works for the MI5 (the British secret service) and is the reason why the wife was kidnapped. Then there’s Indian cop Rohan (Ashish Chowdhary), who is assigned the job of guarding the PM, and at a tense moment takes off for a quickie with his girlfriend (Amrita Arora).

Bhatt sporadically remembers the female locked in some barn, so Urmila Matondkar gets to make some more faces. In this department she has solid competition from Sophie Choudhry, who in a hilarious scene gets into a ball-and-chain fight with Zayed Khan—where are all the guns when they are needed? Zayed is sprightly enough, which is what was required of him. Tanushree Dutta badly needs a stylist! And Aftab Shivdasani, at least in this film, is a lost cause!
The best scenes in Speed are the ones lifted from Cellular—like the battery running out. A couple of the scenes that could have been picked have been dropped—like the cross- connection bit and the track with the about-to-retire cop who turns up to help the duo in trouble.

Actually, there’s no good reason to recommend Speed—might as well watch the DVD of Cellular. It might even teach you how to use some functions on your fancy phone that you didn’t know about!


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