Monday, July 23, 2007

'The Mask' review

Well, it isn't exactly 'The Mask' you know. I'm just in a cranky mood, so I thought I'd mislead you people on this one. Just for the heck of it.
The review is for 'Naqaab' (hindi word for 'the mask'), the latest offering from Abbas-Mastan. I haven't seen many movies made by this duo, but I'm sure I wouldn't have liked any of them too.
When you come across a suspiciously hollywoodish plot mashed up to resemble a thriller involving betrayal, love, megalomania, hidden cameras et al, one would have thought the director(s) would make efforts to keep the viewers on the edge of their seats until the suspense is unraveled. But the sad part is, the movie picks up pace, characters get into their groove and some semblance to thrill comes only after the suspense is revealed and that is at the fag end of the movie.
The movie begins with a photo shooting sequence introducing Sophia (Urvashi) and her toned body in an almost eighties fashion of glamor worship. And the cliche goes on with her waking up to scream at the alarm clock and getting late to office. Total put off, but I braved it all and the story crawled forward. In no time, she gets engaged to a multi-millionaire Karan with whom she lives in Dubai, in the most non romantic scene I have seen in my life. To put the rest of the story in a nutshell, Vicky (Akshaye), who is an out of work actor in a country that stakes no claim to a movie industry, seduces her through a series of attempts eventually breaking Karan's heart. But Sophia is constantly being filmed by a secret tattoed hand, and Vicky too is always seen with a handycam shooting her away. And there is a hidden man on phone - Rohit, who is Vicky's boss, driving him to the end of scuttling Sophia's love story with Karan and luring her away on the very day of their marriage.
All is not what it seems to be, and the suspense of it really doesn't interest anybody until it actually comes out. Characters introduced on screen aren't exactly what they seem to be, and everything gets shattered suddenly, turning the movie on its head.
The story certainly would have been worth a watch in the hands of a better director. And a worthy director would have made a blockbuster out of the new concept revealed after the suspense. But I would blame the directors for spoiling the good opportunity. And you can blame the actors for the lacklustre performance, but what else could you expect from the stiff Bobby Deol, unidimensional Akshaye Khanna and the debutant Urvashi? Hmmmmm........ not really, you know. Urvashi has some points to her credit, notably the screen presence inspite of the exaggerated sweetness she tries to put on sometimes. Bobby Deol revels in the role towards the end, displaying some skills he must have learnt in the past 13 years in the industry.
The music by Pritam is totally ignorable, and so is the technical quality of other departments. There's a lot to say about the direction department, but I'll say only this - pathetic. What could have been a great movie is just reduced to an unimaginative fare of cliches and mediocrity.
I was telling a friend that it really takes a great soul to see positives in this movie. And on a bet, she agreed to see it, if I am able to write a good review about Naqaab. May be I would have written a good review too to win the bet, only my conscience doesn't permit to be that big a hypocrite. And I don't want to lose a friend too!
Anyway, my recommendation for the movie is: Mr.Ram Gopal Verma, Anybody can remake Sholay. Please remake this into a great movie, if you really have the talent!

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