Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Johnny Gaddar

It’s a rarely witnessed category in India, the film noir. Even rarer is something like Johnny Gaddar, a well made one (‘Red’ springs to mind as a recent terrible example) though Hollywood is full of good ones ( like Maltese Falcon, Body Heat or even LA Confidential). The genre is a tribute to James Hadley Chase and some old Hindi movies like Parwana, both of which flash across the screen frequently as the obvious inspirations behind the plot.

The plot, like all movies in the genre, is too complicated to elaborate but has enough twists and turns to keep you engrossed till the last frame. There are tough cops, no good guys but good guys who are actually bad and bad guys who are actually good and the inevitable sensual babe. There is money, greed and a tangled love affair. Basically there is a gang of 5 criminals, there is a huge deal happening and then there is a double cross. All of this happens in the first 20 minutes or so. The rest of the movie revolves around whether the other gang members catch him or not.

I thought Zakhir Hussain, Vinay Pathak were excellent as two of the gang members as was Govind Namdeo as a very tough, finger chopping, wisecracking cop (‘in my life only duty, no beauty’ is his memorable response when asked if he’s married). Neil Mukesh is good, shows potential, Dharmendra is decent but is it my imagination that he seems to be slurring his every dialogue, as if he’s still high on his Bagpiper whiskey commercials. Rimi Sen and Ashiwni Kaslekar are very good as well, everyone fits their part and does justice to their roles, the movie is compact, slick and well edited. The music is decent and the only other thing that could be improved is the ending – it’s a bit incomplete and hence leaves you a bit unfulfilled. Also, there is a little bit of unnecessary gore.

Its unlikely to ever be nominated for an Oscar (after Eklavya’s nomination though would hesitate to say impossible) but is definitely worth the price of a ticket and succeeds in keeping you on the edge of your seats. Its fast, racy and provides cheap thrills – and wasn’t that what a James Hadley Chase was about ?


Sameer Panchangam said...

Neat Blog! Keep it going!

Also can you add an email feature, for us to subscribe (not RSS!)?

Sameer Panchangam

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Anonymous said...

I am not a Bollywood fanatic by any stretch of the term. I'm Hollywood pure and simple. But I HAVE come across a few Hindi movies which have taken my breath away.

And THIS movie did just that. If the intended atmosphere was a Chase novel, it has matched it scene by scene. The plot flowed as smoothly as I dared to expect.

I actually loved the ending too. Towards the end, my brother and I were cribbing about how they are going to spoil it, but we were pleasantly surprised.

Towards the end, when the girlfriend starts realizing what our guy is capable of, we felt that probably, she would be the one who'd pull the trigger, from the scene shown in the beginning...

We were frowning about that... because
a) it was predictable and
b) it wasn't logical enough to complement the movie...

And viola... the ending was different. And it made sense. Hallelujah. A truly great movie.