Director: Neeraj Pathak
Actors: Sunny Deol, Irrfan Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma
‘The Subhash the Ghai’ – self-styled showman of ‘80s Bollywood – could intrigue you as a person of motion pictures. A popular director once, a prolific producer still, Ghai also runs a popular film-training institute (Whistling Woods) out of Mumbai.
Given this, it remains a mystery to me how the producer himself has honed the finest talents under his wings.
There’s a famous episode of R D Burman, getting kicked out without reason or warning from Ram Lakhan (1989) – a fact that left the betrayed composer, in the worst phase of his life, share his hurt in a fanzine interview. More recently, I am told, Ghai had picked all A R Rahman songs on the soundtrack of Yuvraaj, over Jai Ho – a track that eventually won for Rahman both the Oscars and the Grammys!
Nagesh Kukunoor was a perfectly sensible filmmaker until he directed Bombay To Bangkok (2008). Another one, Ashwini Chaudhary, had made a promising debut with a fine film, Dhoop (2003), before he dished out a ‘crappola’ called Good Boy Bad Boy (2007) for this producer. And then there are first-rate veterans, Prakash Jha and Mukul Anand, who’ve made for Ghai, movies with names like Rahul (2001), and Trimurti (1995). Given the track record, must admit, the script the producer’s chosen this time at least comes with a relatively thoughtful idea.
The movie’s a thriller, though not a whodunnit. You already know who did it – committed murder, that is. Sunny D plays a ‘ghayal’ policeman – paralysed waist-down, on a wheelchair. His wife (Eesha Koppikar) beds his cousin: a topless jock, who wears shades in his bedroom, and promises her a “Mainhetan apartment”. Mista D employs these two uncanny companions to plan his own murder. The outcome, as it were, turns out entirely opposite to the supposed plan. Another top sleuth (Irrfan Khan) smells something incredibly fishy in his buddy-cop’s case, rightly set in Goa, where Tito’s is a huge Punjabi wedding banquet hall.
The hero, Sunny boy, hence sits before an enquiry commission of three posh suits. He goes through an over-extended courtroom drama later. The trial is topped up with a nugget of Sach Ka Saamna, and a lie-detector test. We already know who did what, and why. We just twiddle our thumbs through what’s Right Ya Wrong. It’s just trite and long. The premise, I suppose, centres on whether killing someone, regardless of the motivation, is correct. You can’t quite fathom a legal or moral dilemma here.
Come to think of it, a film like this would’ve been infinitely more unbearable, were it for sharp performers like Irrfan, or Konkona Sen Sharma (lawyer), or even walk-on presences like Suhasini Muley, or Govind Namdeo. What a waste of talents again; I guess then!