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Review: Naqaab

Like it or not, Abbas-Mustan have lost the plot. This Naqaab is best left unveiled, writes Khalid Mohamed.
None | By Khalid Mohamed, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 13, 2007 07:54 PM IST

Cast: Bobby Deol, Akshaye Khanna, Urvashi Sharma
Direction: Abbas-Mustan
Rating: **

Note the point, she works in a burger joint, lives in a Dubai villa bigger than the Lal Quila and doesn’t know whether to love the poor man or the rich man. Meanwhile flash, cuts, zips, zaps, toinks and boinks hint at some eerie events from the past and future. Everyone is Dubai seems to be either unreal or surreal. Eesh.

In fact, throughout Abbas-Mustan’s Naqaab, you even keep wondering if you’ve turned into a Daliesque tangdi kabaab? With possibly the most insane whodunwhat made in world cinema, the duo even pay their belated homage to Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali. Being watched on DVD, the classic prompts someone to exclaim, “Arre wah, Ray saab made the real so very real.”

Really, this happens out here. Like it or not, Abbas-Mustan have lost the plot. Result: the right royal headache of the year!

Come on, the directors and their story-screenplay writer Shiraz Ahmed, have merely lifted a Hollywood turnip called Dot the I, which is about as adaptable to our milieu as an igloo is to the tropiocs.

Strange sights-`n’-sounds abound. Collapse! Everyone even trots off to the Cannes film festival to win the Palme D’Or (can’t reveal why but merde!), an Egyptian dancer organises mating sessions at a cabaret palace, and a beach dance jigaloo is performed by Akshaye Khanna as if were trying to outclass Himesh Reshammiya’s surroor. Mr Khanna is a competent actor but would he please stop going off his limborockers?

As puzzling as Sudoku, he goes around video-graphing Urvashi Sharma (new mystery-history-geography girl, it seems) when she’s sipping champagne. Bubbly boo. He thinks she’s chilli capsicum, she thinks he’s a kobe sizzler. Trouble bubbles. Urvashiji is already engaged to the richest dude in the world, aka Bobby Deol, who sits with a gang of executives at a table discussing business over a bowl of apples and lemons. Going bananas or what?

Anyway Urvashi runs out of her church wedding to the Fruit Dude, scaring the daylights out of a couple of little girls who had just told the bride, “You look so beautiful.” Debatable. But hang on, there are miles to go before you sleep (at home that is).

Next: Akshaye, Bobby and Urvi talk as expertly as Ashok Mehta and Santosh Sivan about the rapid strides in video technology. So boring. Theatre actor Ganesh Yadav shows up as a cop to look menacingly at a couple of irritating nerds who hang all around the place like Chinese lanterns. Yet nothing is more comical than Akshaye Khanna (given yards and yards of footage) in the wardrobe of either a schoolboy’s or of Jeetendra’s.

To be sure, the editing chops by Hussain Burmawallah are snazzy but why an abruptly short first- half followed by lumbering post-intermission antics? Pritam’s music score is a snoozer.

Of the performances, Khanna despite his odd wardrobe, has his better-than-the-script moments. Bobby Deol – except for a solitary solo piece of dialogue – is criminally wasted. And imagine, that too by Abbas-Mustan! As for Urvashi Sharma, well, she is obviously dubbed. And despite the camera going ga-ga-ga over her, she doesn’t display any USP.

Serious advice: Naqaab is best left unveiled.

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