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Irrfan Khan, Jimmy Shergill, Hrishitaa Bhatt, Ashtosh Rana, Tinu Anand, Sudhir Pandey

india Updated: May 17, 2003 18:46 IST
Vinayak Chakravorty
Vinayak Chakravorty

Here’s a standing ovation for Irrfan Khan. If adept character actors are increasingly hogging the limelight in Bollywood – think of Manoj Bajpai or Atul Kulkarni – add another name to the list.

Khan, who’s been sneaking in and out of the mainstream frame with perfect performances in some rather imperfect films – Ghaath and Gunaah come to mind – comes of age as a force to reckon with in Haasil. Raise a toast also to debutant director Tigmanshu Dhulia. Here is another NewGen filmmaker who dares to defy the most tested norms that define masala moviedom.

No, Dhulia’s Haasil isn’t perfect. Far from it, this tale of two lovers trapped in a murky web of college politics has its flaws. Where Dhulia shows his class as an emerging force is in conceptualising and execution. From Ram Gopal Varma to Mahesh Manjrekar, crime as a formula has been tapped realistically to unfold life in various levels of society so many times that you’d expect not much of it is left to rehash.

Where Dhulia scores is in opening up the can of worms as it exists on the campus. Indeed, barring Varma’s Shiva, you can’t recollect another film that has dealt with the subject so closely.

The flavour of smalltown Bihar (or UP, if you wish) is evident in the university where Anirudh (Jimmy Shergill) meets Niharika (Hrishitaa Bhatt). Dhulia doesn’t waste much time in drawing the volatile political scenario, a face of which is Ranvijay Singh (Irrfan Khan), who lets his gun do the talking mostly. As Anirudh gets close to Ranvijay, he’ll discover when it’s too late that the campus leader is just using him to realise his own gains – one of which happens to be a desire for Niharika.

Don’t blame Shergill or Bhatt if, despite sincere efforts, they are overshadowed by Khan’s powerhouse performance. Clearly, the actor who made his mark as the protagonist in Britain’s official entry to the Oscars this year, The Warrior, has a lot in store for Bollywood.

First Published: May 17, 2003 12:35 IST