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Surfer Review: Sandeep Bhushan

When your last film is Omkara, in many ways among Bollywood's finest, it is difficult to live up to expectations. Vishal B has the same predicament....

entertainment Updated: Aug 19, 2009 15:31 IST

Hindustan Times invited Facebook users to submit their reviews on Vishal Bharadwaj's Kaminey. Thanks for the tremendous response. Here's one of the five selected reviews, that clearly stood apart.

When your last film is Omkara, in many ways among Bollywood's finest, it is difficult to live up to expectations. Vishal B has the same predicament.

Kaminey has an interesting premise with fabulously etched out lead characters Guddu, Charlie and Sweety. Twins-leading-to-a-mix-up formula is used smartly to introduce dark humour. It's an interesting ride with the story touching upon themes of crime, politics, corruption, family and of course choices that the protagonists are confronted with.

The style is gritty and in-your-face for the most part. The smooth, improvised choreography of Dhan ta nan and Fatak symbolise the realistic style chosen. The music is the true hero, to the extent that one does not wish it chopped to keep up the pace. Gulzar's lyrics team up with Vishal's music to push the envelope.

It is easy to identify with the three protagonists and understand why they make certain choices. Shahid is coming of age and is a brilliant surprise. Priyanka continues to dazzle - from Fashion to Dostana to Kaminey - she is out to prove that she is far ahead of her peers.

Full justice has not been done to the villainous characters. The Maharashtrian rabble rouser played by Amole Gupte moves unsurely from the diabolical - in the scene where he shoots Mikhail - to the worried man, in the scene where a kid spies on him. Tashi too leaves one uncomfortable, spouting cheap humour to introduce himself and is reduced to a caricature while splitting the booty.

The climax is farcical and takes away from the clever buildup. The director unfortunately decided to play safe by pulling away from grit to fantasy. Bharadwaj uses a device which is sure to have viewers going home happy, with a Bollywood style ending. He clearly shied away from the gut wrenching style of Omkara.

While many reviewers have pointed out parallels with Tarantino, the critical difference is that exaggerated characters do not necessarily mean a farcical style, say in a Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. The script unfolds tightly and sets up the situation at intermission, but starts to falter as the culmination comes closer. The African angle is superfluous. The critical piece of Charlie's angst and change of heart is lost in sloppy editing of the fabulous number Kaminey.

As per Charlie's fad, it is not the road that you take, but the road that you don't which defines your outcome. Bharadwaj has not taken the path to a great movie, as it leaves the viewer with the unsettled feeling of an opportunity lost.