It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
Karan Anshuman (Filmmaker/movie critic),
Karan Anshuman is a film critic for Mumbai Mirror. He's worked on a bunch of movie projects, none of which you've ever seen...yet! He's a history, photography, squash, web 2.0, food, and gaming enthusiast who would trade his soul to travel the world.
TEZZ: Fast Unto Death
Director: Priyadarshan; Cast: Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor, Boman Irani, Kangana Ranaut
For most part, the tezz bits at least – the car and motorcycle chases, free running parkour chases, the high action on boats and trains – slide down quick and easy like greasy fast food. These are some smoothly executed action sequences, not unlike in a Hollywood B-movie. However, it’s that bloated feeling once you’re done that you can’t get away from thanks to some poor writing and a near absolute absence of logic.
Tezz is a story about a group of talented illegal immigrants with a range of mental and physical skillsets of a criminal bent who rise up against the system and the immigration policy of the United Kingdom. No, really. Well okay, that’s one way to look at it. What it really is about is a train that will blow sky-high if it slows down because a disgruntled deported man – who made himself CEO of a company in the UK while on an expired tourist visa – has planted a bomb on it. For revenge. For an added measure of irony, the firm’s name is Global Services.
My problem with the writing is the very premise the film is based on. The man in question, Akash Khanna (Devgn), marries Nikita, a British citizen who leaves her tut-tutting father for the illegal engineer out of love. For some inexplicable reason when he is deported, Khanna leaves his pregnant wife behind without any reason. All she had to do was go with him wherever he was headed on his free ticket, right? Apparently not. She loved him just enough to disconnect all ties with her own father, but not quite enough to miss the Boxing Day sales on Oxford street. Loopholes at the micro level abound as well. Why must a head-on collision be avoided by switching tracks at a critically timed moment when all one of the trains has to do is stop and reverse? Even when the film ends, you’re defeated with the futility of the whole exercise. The attempt to outsmart the audience backfires in a not-so-smart way. What was needed was a darker theme: a villain with a conscience and a charge to protect his family makes for a fine character, but is he really a villain until he trades his conscience with the currency of evil? In Tezz, the human angles and emotions are a mere dusting, an afterthought.
The makers take some effort to minimize liberties a Hindi film set in a UK may take. You will still find more than your fair share of Indians as heads of key government positions, but a lot of the dialogue is subtitled in Hindi when the British speak. Why, even some of the punch lines are in English! And except for the one line where Khanna tells his colleague to shut up and pass the mithai when she starts off her sob story with “Mere khud maa aur baap…”, there is no humor whatsoever. Expect no wit. Of any kind.
The action sequences are the highlights and there seems to have been no expenses spared in this department. So if you’re the kind of person who wants to see Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor in an action film that is of a global standard, then Tezz is for you. Cinematography is sharp; the edit smartly leaps across dreary explanations. Priyadarshan has made enough films to get such things right in his sleep now. Even background score goes unnoticed for most part. However, a couple of songs – entirely unnecessary – bring Tezz to a grinding halt in a way more effective than what any bomb can to do a speeding train.
The actors do their bit with conviction and are cast more or less correctly. But can someone please enlighten me and point out why Kangana Ranaut is in this film? She has exactly 4 minutes and 12 seconds of screen time. Okay, maybe not exactly.
If it weren’t entirely inspired (remade? ripped-off?) by The Bullet Train and Speed, I’d have been happy to give Tezz more credit, but 2 stars is how it chugs.
LIFE KI TOH LAG GAYI: Life's Too Short For This One
Director: Rakesh Mehta; Cast: Pradhuman Singh, Kay Kay Menon, Jackie Shroff, Manu Rishi, Ranvir Shorey, Tom Alter, Neha Bhasin
Despite the line-up of talented actors (and not merely stars), a multi-track story that unfolds in the timeframe of a single day, and resources aplenty, director Rakesh Mehta botches an excellent platform to make a good film. Instead of what could’ve been a dark, twisted, occasionally tragic, often humorous roller coaster of a movie based on what a metropolis can do to a person’s mind, you’ve an amateurish script, a priggish perspective, and tacky execution that results in an avoidable film.
The multiple stories that meet in a forced, pre-meditated climax range vary from mildly absorbing to downright asinine. At the top of the heap is Salman’s (Kay Kay Menon) story, a gangster-turned-builder’s son whose parents are assassinated because of an old rivalry. He can’t come to terms with their death and is determined to avenge it. Because he believes he will lose his life attempting this endeavor, the movie’s only sensitive scenes creep in when he meets with his wife and adopted child one last time. “I loved you,” he confesses, “even before I married to help with your circumstances after your husband (and my best friend) died.”
Manu Rishi plays ACP Chautala, an upright, short-tempered cop. His story is iffy, but he makes up with his performance as a marked man (and mamma’s boy) who must solve a case before the day is done else lose his job. He gets the film’s only other absorbing moments, especially when his impish exterior cracks with the last straw and gives way to a violent display of discontentment. As for the others, featuring talents as diverse as Ranvir Shorey, Pradhuman Singh, Neha Bhasin, and Shakti Kapoor, it’s best not to keep mum.
The film lumbers to a climax you can’t wait to get over with during which alcohol is consumed, rape is attempted, bullets are fired, revenge is taken and redemption is earned. If this is not an indication of a faux attempt at change, of ideas stuck in a time warp, then nothing is.
Even though it shouldn’t, LKTLG oozes a no-budget film feel and overreaches. 90s DD-type sets should’ve been traded for real locations, fake CG rain for real water in sprinklers. If you don’t have the budget, don’t write for rain. Also, hiring an actual focus puller would’ve helped. Somewhat.
Despite its indie-feel and a whiff of originality, Life Ki Toh Lag Gayi fails to deliver on most counts.
For more Bollywood reviews by Karan Anshuman, click here
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