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Melbourne-based Samir Khanna meets with an orphan, Raina, both fall in love, get married, and live harmoniously until Samir loses his job. Differences crop up between the two so much so that when Samir asks her to live with his Delhi-based parents, she refuses and stays on in Melbourne, while he re-locates to Singapore. He does fairly well financially and returns back home - only to find that Raina is about to get married to an Airport Cafe employee by the name of Aakash.Written by
This is not a film I can recommend. For the record, I fled during the interval. Ever since his first notable appearance in Maine Pyaar Kiya (his debut, if I recall correctly, was in another film), Salman Khan has always been a Star, inspiring millions of fans- of both sexes- to dizzying heights of frenzy. Yet- and this is a fact even his fans, should they decide to look at things objectively, would find difficult to deny- he doesn't have the faintest clue about acting.
His directors- Sooraj Badjatya and Sanjay Leela Bhansali, to name two- have always known this: in two of his biggest best films (Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam etc.) all his characters are required to do is to look dashing, smile and make at least one big selfless sacrifice; they are, however, rarely expected to act.
In Wanted: Dead or Alive (playing in theaters now), Mr Khan does an Arnold, not an Aamir (a la Ghazni): actions speak louder than words. Not only does he not have many dialogues to deliver but his role doesn't even require him to appear romantic (the wooing, in this case, is also left to the girl so that he can get on with the more important business of disposing the villains in highly imaginative and bloody ways). Likewise in his comedy films, in which he is part of a larger ensemble, loud slapstick (scatological jokes and farts not excluded) compensates for the lack of acting.
Having said that, all of these films have worked- marvelously so- not despite but precisely because of this: people don't go to a Salman Khan film to see acting; they go to worship their Star. And that- more than anything else- is the reason for Mr Khan's iconic success. It's a pity then that his own brother, Sohail Khan, who acts and directs this film, doesn't seem to realize this. By putting the burden of acting on the Star, he has ended up making a very bad film, which rather than celebrating his brother's stardom only ends up bringing out his deficiencies as an actor. Even Ms Kapoor seems to realize this: she is quite the misfit in this company of complete non-actors, and I couldn't help feeling that the only reason she did this role was as a personal favor to the Khan fraternity.
Even Mr Khan's die-hard fans might be slightly disappointed: his efforts at acting make him look tired and it is all to clear that India's Star has, like the rest of us, grown old. Worse, attempts to disguise this fact with a hair-transplant and bigger biceps only tend to make him look hopelessly desperate.
Perhaps Main Aurr Mrs Khanna will make him realize the virtues of aging gracefully à la Amitabh Bachchan & c- and much more importantly, help him come to terms with the fact that it's too late for him to be taking up acting. Mr Khan would do well to remember that once a Star, always a Star- and if he does try to act, then all that film might hope to get is One Star (on a 5-star rating scale)!
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