Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

September 18, 2009

Fight club

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 1:33 pm

September 18, 2009

Cast: Salman Khan, Ayesha Takia, Prakash Raj, Mahesh Manjrekar

Director: Prabhu Deva

Salman Khan-starrer Wanted is a film that makes no bones, no pretences about the fact that it’ll do anything to get a reaction out of you. It’s loud, vulgar, offensive, violent, cold-blooded, dumb, and silly. But that’s all part of the design.

Salman stars as a glum hitman-for-hire named Radhe who, for the right price, will bump off rival gang-members like he’s snapping twigs. Radhe can take as many as 10 to 12 scoundrels at a time; he dodges bullets, leaps across scaffoldings, and smashes through glass panes without so much as a scratch. In between such nefarious activities, Radhe’s eyes fall on a middle-class girl named Janhavi (played by Ayesha Takia), who is drawn to his rakish charm.

The city, meanwhile, is gripped by a surge of crime; rival gangs attack each other in broad daylight, cops are mixed with crooks, and the body count keeps rising. When criminal kingpin, and head of the gang that Radhe works for, Gani (played by Tamil actor Prakash Raj) arrives from his secret hideout in the far East, hoping to settle scores with a friend-turned-foe, the police swings into action. Even as Janhavi fobs off the advances of a lecherous, corrupt cop (played by Mahesh Manjrekar), a sudden unexpected twist takes everyone by surprise.

A shrewd, old-fashioned entertainer that plays to the galleries, Wanted is exaggerated and formulaic, but relies squarely on the charm of its leading man to pull off its over-the-top tone.

The good news is, Salman Khan appears to be having a rollicking good time. He throws himself completely into the film’s visceral action portions, which include scenes of gruesome stabbings, bone-crunching freefalls and ear-drum splitting shootouts. He even puts his casual, laidback style of dialogue delivery to good use in the film’s romantic and comic scenes.

There’s a running joke in the film that involves Ayesha Takia’s character Janhavi and her pasta-containing lunchbox which she never seems to offer Radhe. Watch him in the scene at a railway platform where he finally confronts her for never sharing her pasta with him. Rare moments like these have you guffawing in your seat.

Where Wanted slips is in its pacing. While early portions of the film move at a breakneck speed, allowing you little time to even ponder the ridiculousness of what’s going on, the film’s second half drags on and on, leaving you bored and exhausted by the time the end credits finally roll.

Inevitably, comparisons will be drawn with Ghajini, but that film – despite its similarly violent premise – had a coherent plot at its core. Wanted like I told you earlier, doesn’t even pretend to make sense.

Directed by ace choreographer Prabhu Deva, Wanted is a remake of his Tamil film, Pokiri, which was itself adapted from a Telugu original. The Hindi version, much like the previous films, goes for broad humour and cheap thrills. At times downright stupid and unapologetically excessive, Wanted is a B-grade crowd-pleaser that knows exactly who its audience is.

The film is a showcase not so much for Salman’s acting, but for his scorching screen-presence and his infectious enthusiasm for dancing. Film after film the actor has been accused of sleepwalking through his roles; this time he’s wide awake and having a blast.

For die-hard fans of the star who don’t have a problem with extreme violence and juvenile comedy, this might be a treat. For others though, it’s strictly average entertainment.

I’m going with two out of five for Prabhu Deva’s Wanted. Carry cotton for your ears and a Crocin for the headache.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

1 Comment »

  1. Rajeev says carry cotton and crocin for your headache i completely disagree, i may agree with this but that is only for that pasta portion of the movie, this movie was really great, salmaan did fantastic work like suddenly when we discover what he is at the end its really shocking and thrilling, its like a hollywood movie, comedies are very very entertaining especially played by that culprit cop who acts like mad at the end thats just great ya, i will go with 4 out of 5 for this movie, few boring scenes

    Comment by Sachin Naik — November 19, 2011 @ 9:37 pm

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