The setting is mofussil India -- a small town in Uttar Pradesh. The story is about rivalry and revenge between the cozy club of local gangsters, politicians and the police. Nothing new, I hear you say? That's the first befuddling question. Why make a bad film on a subject that has been explored (done-to-death, really) in far more aesthetic ways?
So Raja (Saif Ali Khan) and Rudra (Jimmy Shergill) are "youths" searching for jobs. Their bromance develops at first meeting. Circumstances lead them to joining local politico’s (Raj Babbar) army of thugs. They become his favourites and each other's too. All this affection is interrupted by an ego-clash with a wealthy businessman that makes them several powerful enemies.
We see Raj Babbar, again doing a pooja or feeding a cow or something, doing the regressive small-town politician act. Vidyut Jamwal is brought in as the ‘I’m too cool for a uniform' kinda cop. There are stunts and action scenes where people just keep killing each other. The Quentin Tarantino-esque 'excessive violence to cool music' routine is tough to pull off, and the film just doesn’t get it right.
Meanwhile, director and co-writer Tigmanshu Dhulia indulges his ego by making references to his past films throughout. It’s unbecoming but more importantly, distracting from the story!
The characters are not well-moulded and we honestly don’t know what to make of them. The biggest mystery is Sonakshi’s character that comes from a middle-class Bengali family in Kolkata. In her pursuit of an acting career, she meets a producer in his hotel room, telling him she’ll only peck him on the cheek.
When she meets Raja and Rudra (they kidnap her briefly), she begs them to take her along. She falls for an obviously dangerous, criminal person (who is a relative stranger, still), and forget being scared, is happy cooking for him and his clan.
Sonakshi Sinha is made to do the babe-in-the-woods act and has maybe two proper dialogues in the movie. The other female character -- Saif's sister-- is there to be harassed by goondas and then to get engaged to a 'nice boy'. I don't think she gets to talk at all in the movie.
Saif Ali Khan is supposed to shoulder the film but his dapper clothes, a distinctly urban air, and sudden accent shifts surprise you. Jimmy Shergill, a constant in Dhulia’s movies, is more convincing and restrained.
Raj Babbar and Ravi Kissen are impressive. Vidyut Jamwal with the bulging biceps is miscast in a role that asked for more charm and conviction.
The dialogue doesn’t touch your heart. It’s either too smart-alecky or just plain off. So you have Saif saying, ‘Yeh gussa hai ki manta hi nahin’ in a serious scene. Then you have politicians magnanimously talking about “poora Uttar Pradesh” in every other dialogue, or comparing politics and prostitution.
Journalists belong to ‘Breaking News’ TV (how obvious can you get?) and there are several unsuccessful attempts at dark comedy. So you have a character pointing a gun at a victim but refusing to shoot, arguing with his crony that he wants to shoot him from afar to break a record. Only the music gets it right in this scene. Then you have Saif crashing through a glass window and jumping down an under-construction building only to have the labourers applaud instead of running for their lives after hearing the gun-shots.
There are gimmicks-galore for shock value. Like Ravi Kissen’s character who dresses up as Radha (in lehenga etc) making love to another woman. The garb is to prove himself insane, but why be in full costume in the confines of the bedroom? Then there’s the objectionable one where a person is self-flagellating himself with a whip, placed strategically in the background, as a character speaks on the phone.
About the only interesting part in the film is the Tammanche Pe Disco number, but then nobody goes to a movie to enjoy a song.
It’s unfathomable that this was made by Tigmanshu Dhulia. He, of the Paan Singh Tomar and Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster fame. One doesn’t know if it’s his desire to go commercial, interference or, just a bad work phase, but the result is slipshod.
Watch if a dumbed-down film about senseless revenge and violence fills your heart. Otherwise, strictly avoid.
Rating: One star