Friday, January 19, 2007
Post Ardh Satya, Bollywood has witnessed a slew of cop versus gangster movies. Right from Govind Nihalani [Ardh Satya] to Rajkumar Santoshi [Khakee] to N. Chandra [Kagaar] to Madhur Bhandarkar [Aan] to Shimit Amin [Ab Tak 56] to Ramgopal Varma [Shiva], a number of storytellers have tried to portray the tough and courageous lives of the men in uniform. Some succeeded, some didn't!
Risk, directed by Vishram Sawant, bears an uncanny resemblance to two movies in particular: Ab Tak 56 and Kagaar.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]To start with, Risk gives you the feeling of dÉjÀ vu constantly. The Mumbai underworld, the cop-gangster-politician nexus, the honest cop facing the heat but bouncing back to settle scores... moviegoers have had their fill of gritty stories. Really, this genre has been beaten to death in Bollywood.
Given the fact that Risk charters a similar path, it's difficult to pinpoint anything path-breaking or novel in director Vishram Sawant's narrative. The only difference is that the cop follows the gangster's commands and does a complete volte-face in the penultimate reels. He shows his true colors by eliminating the don finally!
Another factor that goes against Risk is that it tends to get too violent and brutal. Agreed, the genre demands guns, bullets, blood and gore, but it's a complete put off in today's times. Isn't there an overdose of violence and bloodshed in real life? Aren't newspapers and TV channels devoting ample space to acts of violence, carnage and terrorism? Certain themes are passÉ already.
Vishram Sawant is an able storyteller. He showed flashes of brilliance in his directorial debut D and in Risk too, Sawant has handled a number of sequences with flourish. But how one wishes, the efficient director had something novel to say in his second outing. He holds tremendous potential, but why is he limiting himself to similar kind of movies?
Risk tells the story of an honest and upright cop Suryakant [Randeep Hooda], the poster boy of Mumbai's police force. His intentions are noble: Eradicate crime from the metropolis and put an end to the illegitimate rule of the don, Khalid [Vinod Khanna], who operates from Bangkok.
But Suryakant faces impediments and perils, is falsely implicated for being hand-in-glove with gangsters and even put behind bars. Khalid plays his cards well and gets Suryakant his uniform back. The don wants to have absolute monopoly over the underworld and uses Suryakant to settle scores with his arch rival [Zakir Hussain].
Unknown to Khalid, Suryakant has his own agenda. He eliminates Khalid's younger brother [Yashpal Sharma] and his trusted aide [Makrand Deshpande]. Khalid is also arrested and deported from Thailand. The battlelines are drawn, a confrontation is inevitable...
Director Vishram Sawant's execution is far more impactful than the subject material. In fact, the story -- besides being oft-repeated -- has a few loose ends that just cannot be ignored. Take for instance the sequence involving the honest cop [Randeep] and the South Indian gangster [Zakir Hussain], who is picked up from the international airport while trying to flee the country. Why doesn't the cop eliminate him, even though he guns down his accomplices? Why does he let him go scot-free?
Also, the cop shoots the dreaded don's brother [Yashpal Sharma], his aide [Makrand Deshpande] and also the Home Minister [Anant Jog] inside the Minister's residence itself. Is it so easy to kill a Minister and walk away without batting an eyelid? Difficult to absorb, isn't it?
Even the climax, when the cop shoots the don inside the prison [it's well executed though], looks like one cinematic liberty. Khalid is no gali ka goonda, he's the all-powerful don and yet, not one police officer fires at Randeep when they know his intentions so clearly [he's charging towards the don's cell to eliminate him].
Although he carries the burden of an oft-repeated story and lackluster screenplay, there's no denying that Vishram Sawant's direction is a notch above the ordinary. You can find faults in the writing, but not in his execution. There's no scope for music in this enterprise and the song at the start ['Hitchki'; music: Akbar Sami; singer: Sonu Kakkad] is strictly passable. Nonetheless, its choreography is interesting. The other track [theme song; music: Bapi-Tutul] registers minimal impact. The background score is first-class. Mahesh Muthuswami's camerawork is perfect.
Randeep Hooda is in terrific form and the role seems tailormade for him. He looks the character and emotes with precision. It's good to see Vinod Khanna after a hiatus. He's energetic all through. Tanushree Dutta gets no scope. She's hardly there. Seema Biswas gets no powerful scenes to compliment her talent. Yashpal Sharma is reasonably good. Makrand Deshpande is wasted. Anant Jog is alright. Zakir Hussain goes over the top. Shiv Subramaniam [DCP] is fair. The actor enacting the role of the Commissioner makes his presence felt. Chetan Pandit [lawyer] is good.
On the whole, Risk is letdown by a weak and predictable script. At the box-office, the Mumbai theme and flavor will restrict its prospects to Mumbai/Maharashtra belt mainly, that too in the single screens mainly. In other circuits, Risk will prove to be a risky proposition for its distributors!