Jaal - The Trap
Sunny Deol, Tabu, Reema Sen, Amrish Puri
Sunny Deol won’t rest in peace. Not until he has wiped out last of the nation’s enemies in reel life, from the snowcapped terrain of our northernmost frontiers. Suits us fine. Nothing like good old Dharam puttar going full blast, after all. That’s how we like our Deol — when it comes to Sunny, gimme red.
The problem with Jaal — The Trap lies therein. No, Sunny hasn’t given up his biceptual prescription at thrilling. Guns, stunts or the desi ghee punch — you name it, he does it. But only after — horror of horrors — he’s tried a loverboy grind in the entire first half. One fails to fathom why Dhanoa, a filmmaker who has given Sunny hardboiled flicks like Ziddi and Salaakhen, indulges most of the pre-interval session in gift-wrapping his 45-plus hero as a moonstruck romeo: funky gear, leather cap, chasing his girl on a bike and, oh yes, doing the mandatory item jig too. Was apna hero influenced by Shahid Kapoor? C’mon Sunny, it’s not funny.
Whatever interesting unfolds in the first half, happens within the first 10 minutes. After a fantastic ski-chase opening shot set in New Zealand, where some terrorists try to kidnap the Home Minister’s daughter Anita (Reema Sen), you come to know that Major Kaul (Amrish Puri) is in charge of her safety. The attempt is foiled by Kaul and his men, and precious little happens in the rest of the soporific first-half: The Major’s son Ajay (Sunny) lives in Shimla and spends his waking hours mooning about Neha (Tabu), a widowed school teacher. At interval, just after Sunny and Tabu have finished running around the hills for the mandatory love song to celebrate their impending wedding, some terrorists kidnap the girl. Their demand: Ajay has to kidnap Anita from his father’s custody and deliver her to them. Only then will they release Neha.
Dhanoa should have gotten into action mode straightaway after interval. Instead, he wastes time establishing Anita’s love for Ajay. The film finally gains momentum late in this half but when it does it is, admittedly, a thriller all the way. Indeed, the climax — where Sunny hits vintage form as an action hero — is the film’s saving grace.
Tabu is perfect in her short but pivotal role. The most impressive twist in the film comes through her. Reema Sen is good when she acts normal, but someone better tell her to curb her tendency to go over-the-top.