A wounded man searches for his sweetheart in the Mexican desert while on the run from the police, bounty hunters, and others.A wounded man searches for his sweetheart in the Mexican desert while on the run from the police, bounty hunters, and others.A wounded man searches for his sweetheart in the Mexican desert while on the run from the police, bounty hunters, and others.
But in true blue Bollywood fashion, there's always a little time for song and dance, since Jay is a drifter in Las Vegas trying to carve a living through 1001 jobs, with the one he loves most being a dance instructor which doesn't pay a lot, and supplementing his income through green-card schemes by marrying illegal immigrants in a scam set up by his friend Robin (Anand Tiwari). As chance would have it, daddy's rich girl Gina (Kangana Ranaut who disappears to make way for Mori) has the hots for Jay, and the latter only reciprocating because of her money and legacy of her casino-owning father.
Enter Natasha, the fiancé of Gina's brother Tony (Nicholas Brown), who also is set to marry the casino scion for the sake of money, never mind his constant ill-treatment and bad temper, and soon we have everything set up for the lovers Jay and Natasha, who go way back because of that green-card scam, to decide if they will risk everything, including their initial prime motivations of striking it rich the easy way, for true love, despite not being able to communicate directly except through broken, halting English phrases, since she's Mexican, and him Indian.
Told in non-linear fashion separating two timelines present and past through a series of flashbacks, this technique actually managed to draw plenty of emotions at the last major sequence where all is revealed about a key character, which is delivered brilliantly so much so that you'll be hard pressed not to reach for a tissue. It's shot in a peculiar fashion as well though with plenty of close ups on its beautiful leads, that offers plenty of opportunity to milk those symmetrical facial expressions in a very in-your-face fashion, which I suppose nobody in the audience will mind having to gaze at good lookers anyhow.
Hrithik Roshan's performance is almost flawless, but somehow I felt that his Jay is one of his weakest cinematic personas thus far. Opportunities to show his toned body comes by the by the bucketloads (and makes those struggling to fight flab extremely envious), and so does the chance to dance, being one of the best dancers Bollywood has to offer. He demonstrates once again he's Mr Flexible, and his dance number opposite Kangana Ranaut actually sizzles, with Ranaut actually showing that she can dance to the demands of a Hindi film heroine.
The revelation of the film though, as I mentioned, still belonged to the charismatic presence of Barbara Mori, who is likely to gain plenty of adoring fans from the Indian continent for her heartfelt portrayal as the drop dead gorgeous heroine who's vulnerable, yet able to show who's boss by wearing the pants in the relationship. She's no flower vase, having to take charge most of the time especially when Roshan's Jay goes into puppy dog mode, and frankly, in my opinion, her Natasha has him all wrapped up around her little finger. Mori makes the character believable, has moments where she injects natural comedy, and possessing a smile that is able to disarm the most stern of demeanour. I'm certain that most reviewers will find positivity from her performance even if they somehow adopt a lukewarm response to the hype surrounding the film which is basically a simple love story told in a roundabout manner.
Even if it clocks in at 130 minutes which is short by Bollywood standards, Anurag Basu still managed to throw in so many sub plot and elements into the film, that it pretty much travels at breakneck speed from start to finish unfolding in quite an expected manner. Action sequences in the film somehow had a ring of familiarity to them, and sadly none of them excites or puts you at the edge of your seat, being nothing more than peripheral for the major love story. Basu seemed to champion cars smashing against cars followed by noisy explosions, and exploits this so much that it becomes generic and a formulaic yawn. The action sequences needed to be more imaginative, just as how main villain Tony has to be more than a one-dimensional caricature to add to that sense of menace and danger.
It's reported that two versions of the film were shot simultaneously, one with the language predominantly in English, while the other in Hindi, the former for the Hollywood and Western markets. So enter director Brett Ratner who's re-editing it for a more "international" audience which promises no dance sequences and a lot more sensual scenes than what's shown here (where a simple kiss can raise eyebrows), while yet keeping true to the nature of the story, with Hrithik Roshan even moved by this version. I don't mind sitting through another round actually, just to compare and evaluate if the Ratner version is superior. Here's hoping the DVD will come with both!
- DICK STEEL
- May 21, 2010