By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Thursday 20 March 2008
Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Baus, Katrina Kaif, Anil Kapoor, Sameera Reddy
Race?s story has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster and instead of feeling thrilled, you feel a bit dazed at the end of it all. The constant attempt of trying to impress the viewer with a-twist-a-second is that overwhelming.
Durban, South Africa: Anil Kapoor?s voiceover introduces us one-by-one to all the players; a tired and outdated way to establish characters. You meet with Ranvir Singh (Saif, suited-booted) who is passionate about horse racing and has even employed his own horses for the prestigious Durban Cup. The voiceover drones, ?Race iska passion hai. Uski zindagi hai. He lives life on the edge.? We are then introduced to Dalip Tahil in a bizarre beard who is supposed to be Ranvir?s arch rival at the race, and on winning actually laughs `ha ha ha? Mogambo style. Subtlety is certainly not the forte here.
Then there?s Sonia (Bipasha Basu), an upcoming model who has the hots for Ranvir. But Ranvir?s laidback, alcoholic brother Rajiv (Akshaye Khanna) falls for Sonia as well and promises to give up drinking if Sonia were to accept him. Ranvir is moved and steps back sacrificing his love. Meanwhile, Ranvir?s secretary Sophia (all secretaries perplexingly have Christian names in our films) played by Katrina Kaif in her trademark short outfits and blinding lip gloss enters the complicated state of affairs. All this and there?s also the race for a multi-million dollar booty. What happens next are murder attempts, some character surprises, and lots of unexpected developments. Post?interval Anil Kapoor appears as Investigating Officer Robert D`Costa, a fruit-munching Karamchand rip-off with an assistant Mini (Sameera Reddy) who keeps exclaiming ? `Sir mera dimag aapke jaisa sharp kyon nahin hai?. By the way, neither are ever in uniform and report to nobody about the case they are following. Like all of Abbas-Mustan films, the thrills and revelations are simple and superficial; there aren?t too many layers to peel.
The portrayal of ladies is in keeping with most mainstream Hindi films, especially masala actions flicks ? all three heroines play sorry accessories, some more than the other. What takes the cake is Mini?s character ? dumb as a sparrow, dressed in summery short dresses and a ton of lip gloss with a handbag daintily resting on her wrist, we are supposed to believe she is an assistant to a senior officer. There?s more ? the dialogue has a marriage registrar (Johnny Lever) comparing a wife to a chewing gum and explains why a mobile phone is better than a wife (can exchange it for a new one, tsk tsk). Come on now, you want to tell Abbas?Mustan, evolving does not mean just using snazzy techniques, but also keeping up with and incorporating new thoughts and ideas.
Of the cast, Sameera is so-so, Katrina does fairly well, and Bipasha is smokin?, smoking? hot. Saif is superb in the film Akshaye looks good when he decides to keep his chest hair covered and Anil Kapoor tries his best to do well in a clich?role; his comic timing is impeccable as always. Saif and Akshaye carry the film with aplomb and their crackling chemistry as stepbrothers is fantastic. Saif is superb eye-candy too and is in great shape as displayed in his shirtless scenes.
Dialogue is archaic and dull with yesteryear words like `galat fehmi? (misunderstanding) peppered throughout. Camera work (Ravi Yadav) is ok ? the occasional handheld feel is interesting, but does the camera have to quiver like its going to fall off, especially in the opening scene where you get an overhead view of a beach? Background music is reminiscent of Dhoom, and here too, the film?s title is repeated in action sequences. Music by Pritam is fun with songs like Bin Tere Sanam and Allah Duhai, but the others are pretty much run-of-the-mill. Action sequences are not eye-popping as one would expect. Like always, Allan Amin?s action is good, but there?s nothing new to offer here, except perhaps a few races in snazzy sports cars. Special mention to Anaita Shroff Adjania?s styling especially for Bipasha and Katrina; they both look smashing.
If you're content with watching mindless glamour and silly twists being presented as thrills, you might consider this one. But be warned, this frothy soda has nothing else except the fancy bubbles. Verdict: 1-and-a-half stars