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Knock Out review: A patriotic mish-mash

Knock Out review: A patriotic mish-mash

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Movie Title

Knock Out review: A patriotic mish-mash

Director

Mani Shankar

Star Cast

Sanjay Dutt, Kangna Ranaut, Irrfan Khan, Gulshan Grover, Rukhsar

This might be difficult to imagine, but Knock Out - which heavily borrows from Colin Farrell?s Phone Booth - slowly morphs into a patriotic drama much like our Naseeruddin Shah-starrer A Wednesday.

Here?s how.

Like in Phone Booth, you have the expensive car driving, fancy watch-wearing central character who?s cheating on his wife. Irrfan Khan?s Tony Khosla is an investment banker who, despite having two mobile phones, prefers conducting all dubious business over the anonymous P.C.O.

Irrfan?s character correctly calls the booth a ?sheesh mahal? complete with a magazine rack, bullet-proof glass, and even a first-aid kit.

The story takes off when he enters his frequented phone-booth, and receives a call. The call is from an anonymous person (Sanjay Dutt) who has been following him for months, and knows all his uncomfortable secrets - like the fact that he is having an extra-marital affair.

The mysterious sniper insists on letting the wife in on this. He also doesn?t mind shooting a bullet right through the phone booth from his undisclosed location to show he means business. All he wants is for Tony to follow his orders.

Add to that a glam reporter played by Kangana Ranaut (yet to see a journalist cover crime in eye-shadow and heels), a cop stuck between duty and a tempting bribe (Sushant Singh, always good), and a slimy politician played by Gulshan Grover.

The film then goes on to talk about politicians stashing away crores of black money in Swiss accounts and the efforts of one person in bringing it all back to the country.

Interesting thought, but needed more conceivable detailing to pull it off.

The interactions between the sharp-shooter and his potential victim, with smidgens of anticipation and nervousness, are interesting. And the two actors sportingly put in their all despite the implausible characterisation.

Irrfan is fabulous as the wheeler-dealer balancing obnoxiousness with an odd sense of humour. Sanjay Dutt is solid as the shooter who wants Tony to hop sides and turn a good guy.

After a long time in our films, you see a character smoking on screen just to look cool and in control; a tad disappointing.

Kangana Ranaut's out-of-character look and diction inconsistency robs the punch out of her otherwise spirited performance. Gulshan Grover gives a surprisingly restrained rendering of the corrupt politico.

In the second half, writer-director Mani Shankar (Mukhbiir, Rudraksh) swerves the thriller into the preachy mode with long dialogue playing to the tune of Vande Mataram. The finale is a mash of hand-to-hand combats, shattering glass, whizzing helicopters and chases, all set to a high-energy background score.

The ?let?s bring money back to the country where it belongs? message could have been far more involving. This idea is executed in a thriller-genre not meant to challenge the viewer. A desi version of Phone Booth folded in with a dash of instant patriotism is what you can expect from Knock Out.

Rating: 2 stars

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