A feeble copy
Actors: Anil Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Boman Irani
Tezz is an unapologetic, unacknowledged copy of the 1975 Japanese film The Bullet Train. Director Priyadarshan and writer Robin Bhatt liberally lift the plot and entire sequences from the film. So here too, we have a bomb on a train that will blow up if the train slows down. But protagonists in Hindi cinema who indulge in criminal activities must be accessorised with a suitably tragic backstory. So the mastermind behind this heinous deed — Aakash, played by Ajay Devgn — is an illegal immigrant who is rudely evicted from the UK and separated from his pregnant wife. He joins hands with two other illegal immigrants and decides to teach the authorities a lesson!
Even if you can get past the foolishness of this premise, Tezz has little to offer. Once the situation is set up, all the characters start to snarl orders. So the head traffic controller, played with minimal finesse by Boman Irani, rages at his counterpart from the counter-terrorism unit, Arjun Khanna played by Anil Kapoor (yes, all the key jobs in the UK have been taken by Indians). To up the emotional stakes, the traffic controller’s daughter is on the train, but this narrative thread goes nowhere (in the second half, the film becomes the chase-for-Aakash and the train and its passengers are almost forgotten). Meanwhile, Aakash makes ransom demands but also finds time to mope about London reminiscing about his wife. There’s even an item number in a place called Desi Club, where London Indians gather to watch Mallika Sherawat shimmy about, surrounded by dancers dressed as vampires.
The best thing about Tezz is its length — mercifully short — and the action, choreographed by Gareth Milne (Bourne Identity, Bourne Ultimatum) and coordinated by Peter Pedrero.
There’s an interesting parkour-inspired chase sequence and even Sameera Reddy, playing one of Aakash’s helpers, gets to do some nifty moves on a motorbike. But, for a film with a speeding vehicle at its centre, Tezz is curiously inert. I felt most sorry for Mohanlal, one of our country’s finest actors, here doing a cameo as a cop on the train. At one point, he is straddled between two trains, helping passengers shift from the one with the bomb to one without, as both move at deathly speeds. Can Bollywood please offer him a better role?