The beauty of this movie, is that I can write about it very quickly. Because it is not worth a lot of words. The other beauty of this movie, is that 2 of the most attractive men in Indian film are in it, and also Rahul Khanna. And the third beauty of this movie is that it is smart enough to know how dumb it is. The best kind of dumb movie. And anyway, I have a semi-tradition of writing about bad movies on Friday the 13th.
This is not my favorite big dumb action film. That would be Asambhav, in which the Indian Prime Minister and his daughter are kidnapped by evil people in Switzerland, and the only ones who can save them are former Delhi gangster Naseeruddin Shah, ditzy night club singer Priyanka Chopra, and army commando who can also sing and dance (he has to go undercover at one point) Arjun Rampal. Elaan is good, Asambhav is better. But Asambhav doesn’t have John Abraham, so that’s one point against it. Only one young hot dude instead of 3. But on the other hand, it has both Naseerji and Tom Alter while Elaan merely has Mithun Chakraborty. Really, it’s an impossible decision between the two. I’m going with Elaan merely for the John factor.
This is a movie from that magical time in the early 2000s when low budget big cast action movies were a thing. Now, it’s all low budget big cast comedies, which I find much less amusing. This movie has Rahul Khanna, John Abraham, Arjun Rampal to play our heroes. And Ashmita Patel and Lara Dutta as our heroines. And Mithun Chakraborty in a come back to film playing the villain. Character introductions alone take up the first hour.
(Never explained: what they heck Ashmita sees in dopey looking Rahul Khanna)
Oh, that’s the other thing, they had actual characters! Not deep characters, but individual ones. I am so sick of the “an elite team of police/army/whatever” shorthand that gets around making actual backstories, unique skills and stuff. In this one, we have the redeemable ex-criminal, the ex-cop, the rich guy (that’s his special skill, being rich), the reporter, and the dancer.
And best of all, the bad guy is NOT a “terrorist”!!!! You may have noticed, I never use the word “terrorist” in my plot descriptions. Because I think it is lazy and reductive and also immoral. Either they have an actual motivation, in which case you can call them “Kashmiri separatists” or whatever. Or they don’t have a motivation, in which case you should just call them what they are to the narrative, “bad guys”. “Terrorist” implies that people like this exist in the real world, rather than being simply invented “bad guys” for film. In this movie, I don’t have to do any of that, because Mithun isn’t playing a “terrorist”, he’s playing a gangster who wants money. That’s it, he’s just greedy and ruthless in how he makes his money. So refreshing!
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Rahul Khanna is the millionaire son of a kind businessman (remember my Ambani post? This was the era when the Ambani’s and their “made from nothing, remember their roots” storyline was till popular). His father gets a call from Mithun, demanding money or threatening his life. Rahul convinces his father to stand up to Mithun, to instead spend the money helping Mithun’s other victims. See, it’s not that he is greedy and won’t give up the money, it’s that he is noble and brave! Oh, and then Mithun kills him. Obviously.
So Rahul decides to use his powers and put together a team to go get Mithun and bring him back to India to face justice for all he has done. Rahul’s powers being that he is very very rich. And therefore noble and responsible and all of those things, because it is the Businessman who will save us all and carry the country forward.
Rahul’s first recruit is saintly single father Arjun Rampal. Arjun’s pregnant wife was attacked (no!) and he killed the men who attacked her, and then was fired from the police force. Because the state is weak and cowardly, it is the individual who needs to take action. Oh, and now he spends his days happily raising his adorable daughter while living on……air, I guess? He’s certainly not getting a police pension.
Arjun tells Rahul the next person he needs, John Abraham. Former driver for Mithun, he was framed and put in jail, he hates Mithun and has all the connections they will need. And here is where the film kicks it up a notch to AWESOME. John is introduced shirtless (naturally) with tattoos all over his body, in the middle of a prison yard fight. That’s awesome enough, but after Arjun and Rajul help him escape, it gets awesomer. John tells them that they need to get a bunch of money and pay off a bar dancer who knows Mithun. They do this, go to the bar, there’s Lara Dutta dancing all sexylike. She comes off stage, sees John in her dressing room, and TWIST! They embrace passionately and cry a little because they are in love.
(Why is there a swimming pool on the dance floor?)
See, John is supposed to be “bad” and not caring about anything but vengeance. And Lara is supposed to be “bad” and a naach girl and all of that. The audience is going along with the idea of John getting a pay out for his revenge, and Lara being willing to do anything for money, just a sexy image, and Rajul and Arjun are going along with this as well. But turns out, under the surface, John and Lara are true lovers. She has been waiting for him to come out, he came to her as soon as he was free, they just want to be together. And you kind of sympathize with them when they decide to take Rahul and Arjun’s money and go on the run and finally start their lives together.
Of course, if they’d actually done that, the movie would be other. So instead they get captured, Rahul and Arjun save them, and the team is finally together! Oh, plus one more, Amisha Patel as the ambitious investigating reporter who has been stalking Rahul Khanna and kind of awkwardly flirting with him too. She’s not a ditzy reporter like Priyanka in Krrish 2, she’s actually interested in getting the story. And also maybe kind of likes Rahul and vice versa.
(Best way to get over grief from your father’s death…put together a revenge team that also sings cheering up songs to you!)
The plot details really don’t matter after this. Mithun does a lot of scenery chewing monologues while on snowy Italian mountains, people run holding guns, there are dramatic confrontations, and so on and so on. The only twist that matters is that Arjun dies (NOOOOO!).
It’s an interesting twist, because Arjun is the “good” character. The noble ex-cop who is doing this all to make the world a better place. He is the character that would usually survive. And John and Lara, they would die, because they are “bad”. It’s as if Deewar ended with Amitabh and Parveen Babi happily getting married and Shashi dead. And I kind of love it? The movie’s final statement is “bah to morals! We just want the hot sexy couple to live because they are sexy, let’s kill off the guy who won’t take his shirt off”.
(Too sexy to die)