Kidnap – Dir: Sanjay Gadhvi. *ing: Sanjay Dutt, Imran Khan, Minissha Lamba, Vidya Malvade
The promos for Kidnap that flooded all the cable channels about two months ago were slick – slicker than slick, and the premise too promised a departure from the run-of-the-mill Bollywood masala piece. The film looked set to be an exciting, adrenaline-rush of an experience.
And it might well have been, had it not been for, among a myriad other things, director Gadhvi’s unfettered obsession with – and I apologise profusely for putting it indelicately – breasts! Seriously folks, the one indelible motif that the film will emblazon onto your frontal lobe, like a cattle-rancher lustfully branding his betsies, is that of cleavage, oodles of it, spilling forth from the screen like Exxon-Valdez reduxed – if, uh, the tanker had carried not oil but bosoms (and I am running out of G-rated ways to say that). Once (if at all) you manage to wade through the mounds of décolletage (I apologise again for the terrible pun) you will be hit with the awful realization that with the said body parts done with, Gadhvi has pretty much reached the bottom of his decidedly shallow bag of tricks. For though he might like to believe that he has fashioned Mumbai’s answer to slick, big-budget Hollywood actioners (just take a gander at the parkour chase scene ripped off from Casino Royale et al), in truth, what he has created is a badly written, go-nowhere-fast, mindless, steaming pile of… Ah, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
So bull-headed, thick-necked Vikrant Raina (Dutt) is the richest Indian in the world, as opposed to, say, the richest Cambodian in the world, with a net worth of 51.7 billion dollars (take that, Messrs. Mittal & Ambani!). He also has a daughter, pretty but none-too-bright 17-year-old Sonia ( Lamba – cleavage no.1) whom he hasn’t seen in eight years because his ex-wife (Malvade – cleavage no.2 ) hates his guts. One day, while out swimming feverishly in the ocean to relieve her angst at being young, supple-bodied and rich, Sonia is kidnapped by Kabir (Khan) a mysterious, strong-silent type who will deal only with her absentee dad. Raina makes his way back to the motherland, bickers with ex (who retorts with the scintillatingly zingy comeback “You arrogant man!”) and learns that the brooding kidnapper seeks not ransom but revenge for, as it will be revealed, one of the most head-slappingly idiotic reasons ever conjured up for a vengeance flick. And so, said arrogant man is sent on a series of pointless, and, as it turns out, pretty much effortlessly carried out tasks, with which Kabir aims to torment as well as teach a lesson to the billionaire. And yada, yada, yada, Sophie Chaudhary’s cleavage, sorry, item number, blah, blah, blah, and all’s well that ends well.
Apart from the overkill of lady-parts that had the local audience in the cinema spraying soda out their noses, Kidnap suffers from an insufferably aimless screenplay that evidently has sampled every action movie cliché known to mankind, and yet still can’t manage to scrape together a credible narrative, or even a decent action set-piece. The aforementioned free-running sequence runs out of steam much too soon, and the clumsy way in which it is filmed makes it painfully and unforgivably obvious that Dutt’s stunt-double looks nothing like him. Matters are not helped by some of the clunkiest, most mindless dialogue ever committed to Bolly-film. Marvel as you hear apparent germophobe Sonia plead with Kabir “Please samjho, mujhe nahana hai!” after which she proceeds to try and seduce him with these pearls: “Mausam yeh awesome barra.” Timeless I say!
Dutt, now old-reliable of the Hindi film industry, does what he can with the excremental writing at hand. One can tell he’s trying his damndest not to look embarrassed, so it is to his credit that he still manages to come off as endearing and sympathetic. The women (who have both done better work previously) , unfortunately, are stuck with some truly cringe-worthy character development, and I use the term ‘development’ loosely since there is actually none that takes place.
And so to tinsel town’s hottie-flavour of the month, young Mr. Khan. Does he manage to rise above the muck or get slathered in it? Well, if there’s one thing that Kidnap has proved (other than that Gadhvi’s interests in his heroines’ midriffs in the similarly superficial Dhoom flicks has just moved a step upwards here – to their chests) is that Imran is a serious contender. With his first film, the utterly charming Jaane Tu… Ya Jaane Na, he may have become a star overnight, but here he digs in his heels to show that he’s no one-trick pony and is equally adept at playing a vengeful loner as he is a chocolate hero. Even with the terrible material he has to work with, the young actor leaves an impression – a good one. He may not yet have effortless command over the actor’s craft, but he has an instinct for it, as well as a natural charisma that makes you root for him. Of course it doesn’t hurt that physically he is quite the package too. One just hopes he picks his future projects with greater care.
As for Gadhvi, seeing his changing preferences, one small but important lesson in the English language for future reference: ‘harass’ is not two words.