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By: By Taran Adarsh (Indiafm.com)
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Friday 16 September 2005
RGV has acquired the reputation of coming up with new stories in film after film. The stories seem straight out of life, are minus songs and action/stunts [most of the times] and charter a new path all the while.
But RGV does a somersault this time! James goes against the rules set by the film-maker himself. Its story isn't original by any standards [it's a done to death plot], it has loads of bloodshed and action [from start to end] and there're songs as well. It's a typical masala fare you may've witnessed a zillion times!
James isn't path-breaking cinema at all, but it works intermittently. Reasons: The rawness exuded by lead man Mohit Ahlawat [might appeal to some] and the well-crafted action sequences. Debutante director Rohit Jugraj packs just about every commercial ingredient available on the shelf and garnishes it well before offering it to the moviegoers.
But never stretch a rubber band beyond a point. That's what happens in the second half of James. A waferthin storyline has been stretched and overstretched, so much so that by the time it reaches its finale, you've already run out of breath? and patience. Ideally, the story should've concluded the moment the girl commits suicide, but the next 30 minutes are devoted to the hero flexing his muscles and settling the score with the villains.
If the first hour of the film is topnotch, the hackneyed plot notwithstanding, the post-interval portions and stretching the goings-on ruins the impact completely. At best, James seems like a showreel to launch an action hero [Mohit Ahlawat] more than anything else!
Shanti Narayan [Zakir Hussain] and his henchmen have spread terror in Mumbai. He makes his own rules, he doesn't shy of using muscle power when he wants to, he is well 'connected' to look after his interests?
James [Mohit Ahlawat] arrives in Mumbai, hoping to find a foothold in the city of dreams. He starts living with his childhood friend Babloo [Snehal Dabhi] and takes up the job of a bouncer at a popular nightclub.
James meets Nisha [Nisha Kothari], a well-known model, in the gym first and at the nightclub later. The casual acquaintance between James and Nisha develops into friendship.
James finds himself at loggerheads with a drunkard, misbehaving in the club. This guy has set his sights on Nisha too. James sets the guy right, only to find that he is Radhe Narayan [Shereveer Vakil], the younger brother of Shanti Narayan.
Shanti and Radhe want to settle scores with James?
James looks like a film out of the 1980s. The hero can bash up 20 goons at a go and confront blood-thirsting dogs, without getting a scratch on his body. The film rests on a thin plot, but the director packs the narrative with every possible ingredient that would lure the hoi polloi. The volatile combo of action and sex gets precedence, while logic and realism are thrown to the winds.
The narrative moves at a rapid pace in the first 30 minutes. The introduction of James in the train, the confrontation at the pub, the fight in the gym, the villains' henchmen attacking James at Nisha's residence and the chase on the streets soon after are sequences worth applauding. At the end of the first hour, you're already hooked to James!
But you are grounded in the second hour. While the chase in the jungle, which starts from the church, is superb, the moment the lovers seek refuge at Rajpal Yadav's mansion, the story comes to a screeching halt. The portions thereafter are as predictable as yesterday?s newspaper headlines.
The biggest culprit is, without doubt, the screenplay [writers: Manish Gupta, Kona Venkat]. The villains' begin a hot chase of James and Nisha in the first half of the film. James bashes and reduces their henchmen to pulp. The villains swear revenge. A perfect setting for a vendetta film. But when Radhe nabs James at Rajpal's mansion and ties him to a chair, all he does is lust for Nisha. Why doesn't he eliminate James then?
James returns to Mumbai to settle scores and kills the main cop [Ravi Kale] right in front of other cops, but no one utters a word. Why? James then proceeds to the villains' den and has a long-drawn fight in their courtyard. And those portions are very formulaic, with the hero looking like the desi Superman.
Director Rohit Jugraj presents the story in a stylish fashion. The execution of the subject is very upmarket, very contemporary. He manages to involve you in the proceedings [in the first half at least] with his grasp over the medium. But how one wishes the debutante wouldn't have fallen prey to mediocrity [script].
The director gets major help from two departments: Action and background score [Amar Mohile]. The film rests heavily on action scenes and the impact is tremendous. Ditto for the background score; it elevates the impact of even average scenes. Cinematography [Amal Neerad] is first-rate. Music is strictly okay.
James is more of a showereel for Mohit Ahlawat. The debutante has a soft face and a tough physique to carry off the role with flourish. He is an average actor [why does he wear one expression from start to end?], lacks fire in dialogue delivery but is exceptional in stunts. Nisha Kothari appears camera-friendly and exposes her anatomy without inhibitions. In fact, her exposure in the 'Zindagi' track will send the masses into raptures. As far as acting abilities are concerned, she needs to better her skills.
Zakir Hussain proves yet again [after Sarkar] that he's a supremely talented actor. Shereveer Vakil is another actor that catches your attention. He is venomous to the core. Ravi Kale is excellent. Rajpal Yadav tries hard to make you laugh. A terrific actor like Mohan Agashe is wasted in an inconsequential role. Snehal Dabhi and Ishrat Ali are adequate.
On the whole, James is a masala film that might appeal to the hardcore masses. At the box-office, the action film may strike a chord in some territories [the Hindi belt], but its prospects at metros and multiplexes mainly appear dim.