Five unlikely heroes form an unexpected alliance against the terror of one criminal mastermind in this 2005 revenge thriller from Vikram Bhatt.
Baba Sikander is a criminal mastermind who has held the elite of India hostage. Along with his two brothers and right hand man Salim, he forces rich businessmen to give them ransoms or they will kill them for non-payment. One well-known businessman, Kantilal Shah, is the latest to feel Sikander’s threat and it is his adopted son, Karan, who convinces his father not to pay the ransom. When Kantilal agrees, he and four bodyguards are later gunned down and Baba escapes to Italy, where he goes into hiding.
Vowing revenge by bringing Baba to justice, Karan knows Italy has no extradition law to India. Instead, he decides to form a team to bring the crime lord back to India. He brings in a suspended police officer, Arjun Srivastav, and Abhimanyu, a former associate of Baba who is serving time in prison after Baba framed him. Upon arrival in Venice, Abhimanyu reconnects with his girlfriend Sonia with the intention of getting out of the whole deal. However, after he and Sonia are kidnapped by Baba’s men, Arjun and Karan rescue both of them and Abhimanyu, realizing his mistake, decides to join them as does Sonia. Add reporter Priya, who has been getting a story on Karan’s crusade, and the five form a team who will do anything to ensure Baba Sikander is brought to justice.
Bollywood cinema is truly one of the hottest genres in cinema today. They may be known in general form for its musical numbers as well as sometimes very long running times. This 158-minute film is mainly an action thriller that can slowly becomes a buddy action film with five unlikely heroes who must stop a dangerous criminal mastermind who doesn’t necessarily do more than order his men around. However, what better way for the five to bond in this film than with the usually required musical and dance number and that’s exactly what happens. However, including this, there are only four musical numbers and they are interspersed from the first to the second hour with the “bonding sequence” to wrap the musical numbers up.
The band of heroes are well played by the ensemble cast. Rahul Khanna’s revenge seeking Karan is not looking to kill the mastermind Baba, but rather bring him back to India for justice. One would expect Karan to kill Baba for killing his father in the name of revenge in the usual action movie. However, Karan is a respectable businessman with morals and refuses to take the vigilante route. He truly wants justice for the death of his father.
Arjun Rampal, coming off his role in the James Bond-ish Asambhav, once again shows his chops in the action department as suspended cop Arjun, who is a single dad who despite having a hot temper, has a heart when it comes to his daughter. John Abraham, who a year prior, starred as the villain of the first Dhoom film, plays Abhimanyu as an anti-hero who started his career working for Baba only to want revenge for his now former boss’s betrayal. Ultimately, a pivotal moment forces him to change his tune to full hero status.
Amisha Patel’s Priya starts out as an annoying reporter who actually highlights the first musical number that eventually leads to her becoming a member of the team and Karan’s eventual love interest. Lara Dutta rounds out the heroes as Sonia, Abhimanyu’s long-suffering girlfriend who at first is reluctant to reunite with him as she has become a famous performer. However, out of respect for him, joins him on the mission leading to a reconciliation between the two.
Mithun Chakraborty truly is evil in the role of the villainous Baba Sikander, who pretty much has the elitist part of India under his iron fist through his ultimatum: pay or die. He doesn’t have much in the action department until the end and delegates his organization, including his brothers, to do the dirty work for him. Even his introduction in the film, which starts before the opening credits, instills the fear his character conveys in the film, telling the viewer that he has India hostage and will not let it go anytime soon.
Abbas Ali Moghul designed some pretty exciting action sequences that involves lots of firepower and in the case of Abraham, some nicely shot fistacuffs. Granted, they are not in the vein of the flashy style we are used to in various martial arts films, but they still hold up quite well. The firepower and chase scenes are reminiscent of something seen in a James Bond or even, an 80’s action thriller, which take away the musical numbers and it has the feel of an 80’s Cannon movie feel to an effect.
Elaan makes good use of its cast with some pretty nifty set pieces. The sporadic musical numbers that make up the first to second hour might be a notable annoyance but we are talking Bollywood cinema here, so in this case, it’s perfectly acceptable.
WFG RATING: B
A Venus Films Pvt. and Tapes Ltd. production. Director: Vikram Bhatt. Producers: Ganesh Jain and Ratan Jain. Writers: Robin Bhatt and Vikram Bhatt. Cinematography: Pravin Bhatt. Editing: Kuldip K. Mehan.
Cast: Mithun Chakraborty, Rahul Khanna, Arjun Rampal, Amisha Patel, John Abraham, Lara Dutta, Chunky Pandey, Madan Joshi, Miling Gunaji, Prithvi Zutshi, Ritu Shivpuri.