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Ajay Devgan, Shahid Kapur, Bipasha Basu, Amrita Rao, Jawed Sheikh

india Updated: Jan 02, 2006 19:55 IST
Vinayak Chakravorty/ HT City
Vinayak Chakravorty/ HT City

It’s called the 'second film banana slip' and it’s the latest malady in Bollywood. Debutant directors come with those absolutely impeccable first films, and then somehow slip up with their more-hyped, loaded-with-expectations second films. A few weeks ago, it happened to Jhankaar Beats director Sujoy Ghosh, whose second flick Home Delivery was a washout. Now, it’s the turn of John M Matthan, who, you thought, couldn’t have made a better first film than 1999’s Sarfarosh.

Six years after Sarfarosh, Matthan cuts a disappointing figure with Shikhar. His itch to tell you a superb tale is still evident. But watching Shikhar you realise that the filmmaker has committed the telltale fallacy that most new-gen directors seem to commit: he has goofed up on the narrative. A very mediocre screenplay rings the death knell for Shikhar, which could have been a riveting tale. That Matthan’s cast comes up with okay performances doesn’t help.
At the centre of Shikhar is a safe formula: good versus greed. Yes, it does have shades of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, though the premise differs.

Matthan’s film tells the tale of Gaurav Gupta (Ajay Devgan), a self-made tycoon who believes that life is all about making money. Gaurav’s guruji (Jawed Sheikh) is an industrialist-turned-philanthropist who believes all wealth is useless unless it’s used for a larger good. Caught in between the idealistic war is Jaidev (Shahid Kapur), Guruji’s son, who respects his father but is clearly starry-eyed about Gaurav.

Gaurav, or GG as he is called, uses every trick in the book to manipulate Jaidev. He pitches the gorgeous Natasha (Bipasha Basu) to bedazzle the young boy, and also employs all his political clout to wrest land that legally belongs to tribals. Of course, Jaidev will realise his folly finally.

A noble, original idea gone awry- that’s Shikhar in a nutshell. The biggest problem of the film is it tries to preach, unconvincingly and unimaginatively. We hope for better execution from a director of Matthan’s calibre the next time.

First Published: Jan 01, 2006 13:00 IST