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Monday, May 19, 2008

Review : Tashan

Tashan (drama)

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor
Direction: Vijay Krishan Acharya

DESPERATELY seeking some scriptwriters for Yashraj Inc. After the no-brainer Jhoom Barabar Jhoom, get ready for another plot-dead film that tries to score on presentation alone. Sadly, there isn't even a zany, new age tashan to boast about here. There is a pathetic attempt to exploit the Nostalgia Inc, but unlike Om Shanti Om which made an art of retro, Tashan fails to whip up old-is-gold sentiment, despite rendering Amitabh Bachchan's seminal Deewar soliloquy before Bhagwan in tootie-frootie Angrezi and milking good old Gabbar dry. More importantly, the film fails to capitalise the Saif-Kareena chemistry completely and almost relegates Saif as a sidekick, a role he has ably played against Akshay Kumar in the 1990's with films like Main Khiladi Tu Anadi, etc. But what saddens you the most is the gangster act by Anil Kapoor. As the English-loving Bhai, hailing from small-town Kanpur, Kapoor is absolutely unintelligible and ends up a pale copy of Jaaved Jaafrey's rib-tickling cameo in Salaam Namaste. Now that from an actor of his calibre is absolutely heartbreaking.

So what's worth a dekko? Akshay Kumar as a small-time thug who dreams of becoming a big-time ‘sooter' (shooter) and a zero-size Kareena Kapoor in a bikini, recreating the oomph of Ursula Andress in Dr No. Akshay has progressed into a natural scene-stealer by now and simply walks away with the applause, be it action, comedy or emotion. As Bachchan Pandey, the goonda who is pulled out of Kanpur to work as a ‘recovery agent' for Bhaiyya ji (Anil Kapoor), Akshay creates a tashan that actually works. His job is simple. He must find the two fugitives, Saif and Kareena, who have walked away with Bhaiyya ji's moolah. And he does it with a pizzazz that makes the film work, in bits and pieces. Watch him jump around like Hanuman (or is it Keanu Reeves in Matrix) in a death-defying fight sequence or ward off the slutty con-girl Kareena and then get goofy and giddy in love: you'll join the audience as it applauds his antics with taalis and seetis.

That's it. After that, it's khallas. All the conmen and their crooked acts fail to create a jagged edge, even though you have Saif and Kareena trying to dupe any and everyone, including each other, in the frame. Truly, it's the season of wickedness in Bollywood. Yet, unlike the bhai versus bhai treachery of Race, this roulette of deceit and upmanship lacks sophistication. Stylistically, it is loud and gaudy and peppered with strange lyrics that make a mockery of Hinglish. No, this one's not really a film that lives up to the repute of YRF productions and can be viewed merely for moments of pleasure, whipped up by a manic Akshay.

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