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Review: Deshdrohi and misplaced politics

Review: Deshdrohi and misplaced politics

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 17/5

Tuesday 27 January 2009

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Movie Title

Deshdrohi

Director

Jagdish Sharma

Star Cast

Kamal Rashid Khan, Gracy Singh, Manoj Tiwari, Hrishita Bhatt, Yashpal Sharma, Kader Khan, Kim Sharma

New to Mumbai, Raja gets a first taste (pun unintended) of the city as he sees two college kids laugh loudly with a paanwala talking about how drugs-peddling has made them so rich.

We see actor Kamal Rashid Khan (Raja) with an open-mouthed expression suggesting shock, and this expression remains stuck for some time to come, as if by glue. An altercation takes place on the road and Sonia (Gracy Singh ? her hair varying lengths in every scene) arrives on a bike to bash up a circle of goondas. He remains open-mouthed as always, but then gives a hint of a smile. Cut (rather abruptly) to a song where Sonia is in chiffon sarees and an armful of bangles, and KRK in jeans, a jacket and shades. This is to be his uniform for all songs in the film (always broken into without warning); otherwise he is donned perplexingly in pink and lilac floral shirts, not much like a lower-income group UP immigrant.

Ever since his arrival into Mumbai, Raja is treated badly because he is uttar bharatiya: Improbable incidents occur? like a vada pav seller insisting Raja hasn?t paid him and then going on a tirade against ?people like him?; or a bus conductor and driver abusing him because he doesn?t have the exact change. A kindly gentleman (Kader Khan) tells him that in Mumbai there is sajawat jyada, rishte kam. We are told that Raja has come into the city to look for his friend Shekhar, who over drinks and an item number by Rozza Catalano (looking resplendent) back in the village, had boasted about the money in Mumbai. Raja also remembers other things from his village ? like how his father ruthlessly beat him up for being a loser and his grandfather?s dream that people would salute Raja some day. He thinks back to Neha (Hrishita Bhatt) who was in love with him, but he refused as he felt he was good-for-nothing. He finally finds his friend Shekhar and is shocked to see him employed as a building watchman.

A fight on the road leads to Raja killing a man who was holding Sonia at gunpoint. Then on, the deceased man?s brother, a politician is determined to kill Raja. Fed up with the slimy politicians and the cops who work for them, Raja decides to pick up the gun, take the law into his hands, and wipe out the deshdrohis.

The problem with the film is its misplaced politics. For a film that wants to highlight prejudice against North Indians, it?s grating to see the film go on its own trip of uttar bharatiya jingoism. And his mad killing spree towards the end with a kasam ganga maiya ki dialogue, where he also guns down innocent people, can hardly be justified whatever the intention.

One can imagine why the film worked at a rudimentary level. The film has it all: the underdog becoming a hero, melodrama about his grandfather dying, and simple comedy (not the unintentionally comic bits where a Dawood look-alike gangster makes a call to the quivering politicians). The politicians, like always, are spineless, slimy, corrupt and laugh ha ha ha-like. The film is forward than most in several areas: in a big-budget Yash Chopra starrer, the hero would have certainly chosen the meeker Neha over the bike-riding, fast-thinking Sonia; here Raja falls for Sonia who rescues him from goons and also good-heartedly gives him a lift on her bike. Songs are surprisingly good.

Of course, KRK?s acting is not inspiring in the least. Gracy Singh and Hrishita Bhatt are wearing bad make-up and the styling is below par. Despite its obvious flaws, this writer took guilty pleasure in enjoying this genre where most love songs are actually dreams, where emotions are always displayed loudly, where the villains are always obvious and the hero can do almost anything despite being pintsized.

Verdict: One star

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