By: By Taran Adarsh
Critic's Rating: 18/5
Friday 26 March 2004
Priyanshu, Cleo Issacs
There are ample instances of films starting on an interesting note, but running out of steam midway thanks to inept writing. Add one more name to this list - WOH. (Also see: `Woh`: Story in pictures)
WOH narrates the plight of an ordinary man who, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, becomes a victim of circumstances and somehow, for no fault of his, gets entangled in a web of deceit and treachery.
Desperately in search of a job, Shekhar [Priyanshu] travels to Mahabaleshwar and lands up at a bar [Laila Bar]. To his surprise, a stranger, Pratap [Nawab Shah] and his accomplice Laila [Laila Patel], pull out Rs. 1 lakh, a gun and a photograph of a girl they wish to eliminate.
Pratap wants his niece, Sonali [Cleo Issacs], eliminated so that he can usurp her property. However, Shekhar meets Sonali and reveals the evil intentions of her uncle. A visibly shaken and distressed Sonali thanks Shekhar and tells him to keep the money.
Shekhar is elated. With Rs. 1 lakh in his pocket, he leaves the town on a cheerful note. It is raining heavily that night and suddenly a man crashes on his jeep.
Shekhar is forced to return to Mahabaleshwar. In the hospital, he faces the head cop, who happens to be the same guy - Pratap - who had entrusted Shekhar the job of killing Sonali. Noticing a couple of bullets in the man's body, Pratap arrests Shekhar.
What follows is a series of bizarre incidents?
The basic plot of WOH is indeed interesting. And the film does hold your attention in the first fifteen minutes or so. But as it moves ahead, you realize that writer Robin Bhatt and director Raj Sippy have clearly run out of ideas.
The problem with the film lies in its post-interval portions. Just when you expect the twists and turns in the story to captivate you, the goings-on get so predictable that the impact created at the start of the film vanishes into thin air.
The turning point in the film - when truth dawns upon Priyanshu that Nawab and Cleo have been involved in a scam - is interesting. But the sequences thereafter - when Ayub Khan learns that Nawab and Cleo are millionaires and he demands his pound of flesh - takes the sheen away from the enterprise.
After several unwanted sequences, the film finally reaches its climax. Given the genre of the film, an interesting twist in the penultimate minutes was the need of the hour. Unfortunately, the finale - when Priyanshu gets another shocker - is outright predictable and doesn't shock or startle the viewer one bit.
Writer Robin Bhatt should've dared to experiment in the latter part of the film, instead of relying on clich?s and stuff to move the story forward. Really, there are hardly any moments worth recalling in the film.
From the writing point of view, there're two glaring loopholes in the screenplay -
If Nawab had duped people in Assam to the tune of crores and was wanted by the cops, how could he be appointed a top cop in the first place?
Priyanshu and Cleo hardly share any intimate moments, yet they profess undying love for each other. How come?
Director Raj Sippy does make an effort to keep the viewer on the edge of the seat with the way he has executed a few sequences, but he is letdown by the turn of events in the second half. Also, he should've avoided so many songs in the film. Frankly, the rate at which songs pop up in the first half only act as speed breakers.
Anand Raaj Anand's music is no great shakes either. Barring the ones filmed on Laila, which might excite the hardcore masses, the remaining numbers are plain mediocre. Cinematography [S. Pappu] is alright.
Priyanshu Chatterjee is natural, but his potential remains untapped in this enterprise. Cleo Issacs needs a crash course in acting and diction pronto. Nawab Shah does have his moments. Laila Patel is effective. Shahbaaz Khan impresses in a small role. Ravi Kissen is alright. Ayub Khan tends to go over the top.
On the whole, WOH is a dull fare. At the box-office, its fall is inevitable.