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Rajat Mukherjee's 'Road' is an exciting slick stylish black comedy-thriller. The makers inspiration from films like Spielberg's 'Duel', Lynch's 'Wild at Heart' and several other films clearly shows and what he comes up with is an enjoyable ride. In addition to that there are numerous fun references to Hindi movies. It does look very much like a Ram Gopal Verma film what with the playful camera-work, the cast etc yet Mukherjee puts most of it well together.
The film starts with the two romantic couples rock and rolling in the first few minutes and takes a different turn as they hit the road through the mysterious deserts of Rajasthan. From then on it's a road movie. The first time I watched it (about 6 years ago), I didn't like it. Therefore I must say that it's not a film to be taken seriously but just for us to sit down, watch and enjoy.
There are certain plot holes (e.g. Babu's reappearance in the Safari) but while a few of them add to the mystery element, others just require some explanation as it makes the following sequence look forced.
Sandeep Chowta, Amar Mohile, Nitin Raikwar and Sandesh Shandilya do an outstanding job with the music. Both the soundtrack and background score are awesome. I love the rock and roll tracks and the erotic 'Makhmali Yeh Badan'. However, the songs are used in the clichéd Bollywood way where many of them appear out of nowhere like music videos. The background score, combined with the amazing cinematography (by Sudeep Chatterjee), is brilliantly used and it creates characters out of the road and desert themselves.
What further elevates 'Road' are the performances. Vivek Oberoi is confident and fits his part a comfortable glove of the right size. Antara Mali is a sex bomb. Even though her fashion sense is at times awkward (especially in the first two songs) she too carries herself with confidence, sensuality and a kind of stamina and she wears her character like a comfortable modern top of the right size. Manoj Bajpai proves yet again what a gifted actor he is. One will have to watch the movie to know that this part was made for him as he effortlessly pulls it off with complete ease showing hues of comedy, intensity and subtlety.
Watching 'Road' brought back some memories that I had of enjoying the Ram Gopal Verma gems (he did produce it after all) like 'Satya', 'Rangeela' and 'Company'. He was one of the most successful experimenters while others kept making the same old Bollywood fluffy romance trash. Who knows what happened to him that he has opted for making money-spinning trash like 'Sarkar' and 'ki Aag' in recent years. One can only hope he goes back to making great movies.
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