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There is always room for improvement; leave a comment tell me what you think. And please, be brutal. Nothing like being eviscerated by the general public (though in reality no one reads this so maybe not so general public).

02 11월, 2007


Whenever I think that there is no hope for Bollywood, that the endless deluge of cute, benign romantic comedies, Shah-Rukh-in-tears ridden dramas and bland we're-going-to-steal-something action movies would absolutely destroy any hopes that Indian cinema would speak to an international audience, some movie comes along and changes all that. The first was Eklavya (2007) which was good, but still fell back on some tried and true Indian cinema trademarks. Then along came the caper Johnny Gaddaar (2007), and I am still in recovery. Why you ask? This movie was freaking awesome!!!!!!

The storyline is intriguing enough; Vikram plans to steal 25 million rupees (Just under $640,000.00) from his 4 partners in crime in order to run of to Canada with his true love, who just happens to be the wife of partner number 2. This starts him on a journey that he was ill prepared to make and things grow from bad to worse for our lead man. It is one of those movies where a decision made with a coin toss at (quite literally) a crossroad just snowballs and bad decisions create solutions that just mire you so deep, that the thought of escape seems impossible.

Where do I begin with this movie? Is it the retro fabulous opening credits? Great contemporary soundtrack? Great pacing, dialogue maybe? A combination of all three and more. It is rare that I know whether or not I will like a movie from the first couple of scenes, but when this much effort is put into just the opening titles and backgrounds your expectations are raised, and this is one movie that just keeps giving, hand over fist. The soundtrack, keeping in line with the general cinematography and visuals, also employs that sort of nu-retro vibe. The mod sixties and seventies are screaming at you unmistakably, but you also hear reggaeton, rock, and pop vibes in there that I have to say left me damn impressed. I personally want to say that the soundtrack deserves all the accolades it can possibly get and that the producers Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have seriously captured my attention.

The cast is also top notch featuring not just newcomers but some old standards as well, making for a great ensemble cast. Neil Nitin Mukesh, descended from a long line of singing Mukeshes, makes his cinematic debut as a lead character, Vikram the gaddaar, in the movie. Apart from being totally smokin' (no seriously, he's damn hot and he can wiggle that little Indian butt), he projects the very palpable essence of a man winging it and hoping that it all turns out right. The script is great in that it allows the actors to portray the humanity of their characters; they have family, loved ones, and are human beings who deal with the pressures of day to day living. There is no sense that we are watching evil doers out to ruin the world. That is one of the many things that makes this movie so good: We may not condone the things these men do, but we empathise with their lives and their problems.

I love crime capers. From Cary Grant's debonair turn in Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch A Thief (1955) to the fabulous Brit movie, Layer Cake (2004), watching a well hatched, well thought out plan come to fruition or unravel is always a good watch. Not too much concentration is required, there really is no emotional investment in any of the characters the directors use such movies as an excuse to make something that is stylish, sexy and cool. It seems that Bollywood also has a history of crime movies, unfortunately my vague recollections of sitting in my uncle's home and watching such movies only evokes the music, which I found really annoying. Thanks to Johnny Gaddaar's director Sriram Raghavan, I may just have to find and revisit that bit of Indian cinematic history with some fresh eyes as the director makes no bones about where his inspiration arose, what with posters and clips showing up all over the place. It seems that Johnny Gaddaar has made Mr. Raghavan a welcome addition into list of directors to keep an eye on.

NB:- This movie bombed at the cinemas in India for the very reason that it is so atypical.

4.5 out of 5 for making me a fan of indian cinema again!!

댓글 1개:

Florence Craye :

Don't think it's here yet but definitely added to my watch list.
Cheers. ~Pavi