Actors: Ajay Devgn, Akshay Khanna
This is perhaps Priyadarshan’s first Hindi film that gives out a defined setting. It comes with its own set of issues. The director emphasises more than once at the beginning that the movie, apparently on honour killings, is entirely a work of fiction. Oh hell. Of course it is, almost a work of poor fantasies.
We’re supposedly in the badlands of Bihar. Everyone talks in a poor imitation of some godforsaken accent. The local superintendent of police, an IPS officer (Paresh Rawal; Mr Hammy) looks a portly thanedaar (station house officer). He walks around without his shirt in the police station, beats up his wife (Bipasha Basu) in public, pulls triggers at will, is an illiterate buffoon. His boss, the director general, is even more of a fat, bald roughian. The collector, an IAS officer, another one roguishly uncouth, puts vermilion on his forehead and dances around nautch girls at night.
Pretty much anyone can be shot dead here in broad daylight. Murders and deaths come cheap. Dogs lead more secure lives than Dalits.
Shehri log sachai se bahut door rehte hai (city folks are far removed from reality),” says Paresh Rawal's character. This would be true for the filmmakers. They’d rather watch Alan Parker’s Mississippi Burning (1998) in their air-conditioned living rooms to be inspired from, than research locations for their films.It’s a wonder anyone should care about a medical school student missing from Delhi in this dark village named Jhajhar. The CBI is sent in. The sleuths (Ajay Devgn, Akshay Khanna) land up super-scrubbed; walk around in smart shirts, trouser, tie, and an I-card in their pockets. They’ve set up a high-tech office in a cinema hall, are here to investigate a case of honour killing, where communities murder in the name of caste, and inter-caste weddings are a fatal taboo. But that’s merely the premise.
There's so much commotion that follows that you can barely follow the picture or figure its conspiracy. Camera jerks for effect. Sounds echo. Stunt sequences are piled up under the garb of a story line. Red chili powder from Ketan Mehta’s Mirch Masala is used as killer weapons. One Shool Sena attacks people with tridents. Guns go off everywhere.
This is the sort of film that’s sold under prestigious tags of “hard-hitting” and “issue-based”. They're a heavy assault on your senses all right.