While it is OK to be inspired by Speed, MI, Fast And Furious, and other such action franchises-The biggest goof-up committed by most filmmakers is in the geography.
Fans want the slickness of a Hollywood film, but with a local setting. Wouldn’t the ‘Indian’ adaptation of The Italian Job, have made much more sense, closer home in apna Bharat instead of Russia? Why would someone want to see Anil Kapoor saving a London train or Saif Ali Khan fighting Moroccan assassins, when the same is being done by Tom Cruise and Daniel Craig on prime-time television, in every (dubbed) Indian language?
The only aspect of RaOne that managed to outlive the film’s disastrous fate, was the train sequence on VT station, because the emergency felt real and accessible. Would we have cared so much for A Wednesday had Naseeruddin Shah’s character planted the explosives in Manhattan?
Why Dhoom has been getting it right is because the style may have been firang, but the heists have been largely local. And even when the action has shifted abroad, the stakes have been kept in check, without going overboard with the plot’s ambitions. Compare Hrithik stealing from a Brazilian museum, to a situation where Boman Irani, Anil Kapoor and Ajay Devgn control London’s destiny…And you’ll know why the former worked and latter looked absurd to say the least!
Nobody is expecting a Transformers, but surely Bollywood can do much better than CGI tracks and animated Helicopters. To give the innovators their due, 30-years-back Ravi Chopra’s The Burning Train had more believable effects than Players and Tezz. While the aerial shots of Shaan andVishwatma still have the WOW factor.
Surprisingly in some of the recent thrillers, the lazy use of chroma-screens and unimaginative camera angles (which expose the limitations of the budget), can even be spotted, by the most ignorant of the so-called undemanding, single-screen audience. If the makers had paid more attention to polishing the technology end of things, rather than spending crores on item songs and mujra numbers, some of those movies might have been more endurable-If not for anything else, at-least as harmless timepass thrillers.
What makes many BMovies fun, are the cheesy but crisp one-liners. Unfortunately people penning dialogues for Bollywood thrillers prefer to write lengthy passages that sound so verbose on screen that you want to personally slap the actors mouthing them.
So while the viewer expects the good guys on screen, to take charge of the control room with their orders; Or the nasty leader of a rat-pack to head the heist with a taut plan-All one gets are lengthy, incomprehensible, instruction manual like lines that sound straight out of a Hindi fire-safety presentation-The kinds usually played at single-screens before the feature film.
The sense of tension and urgency which is so integral to this genre, is usually killed by never-ending, melodramatic dialogues. In fact quite often, the expressions on the faces of the actors, while they are listening to the Modus-operandi, look rather believable. Like the paying-public, they too seem equally perplexed with all that’s going on.
Yes, all thrillers, capers, superhero movies etc, regardless of language, need a bit of emotion-So that you have a reason to root for the characters. But when the emotions pop up unexpectedly to disturb the flow of the proceedings, there is a problem. Why do we need a Karwa Chauth moment interrupting G.One’s war against Ra.One? Or Don’s sudden realisation of his love for Roma, during a perfectly gripping negotiation with Vardhan?
Years ago, the most expensive film of its time, had a love triangle between a spy, his missing wife and the villain’s daughter. Given the number of unnecessary tearjerker songs that the film had, the love story came out looking like the only heroic achievement of the spy.
More recently a female spy discovered her feelings for Agent Vinod just when he was trying to save New Delhi from a nuclear attack. Whereas bomber Ajay Devgn conveniently forgot about the train and went about bonding with his estranged family during a crisis. Abbas-Mastan can be partially forgiven as their relief moment is usually a funny Johnny Lever scene.
But otherwise, the loss of momentum due to such sequences is pretty-much irreparable…Unless of-course it is something as scintillating as Ash smooching Hrithik.
There is nothing more irritating than watching out-of-sync lip movement. So while our makers insist on setting their fast-paced thrillers abroad, one wonders why they have to make the local extras speak in Hindi? Or worse still, dub their voices, so that everyone in the film, irrespective of ethnicity, is speaking Hindi.
Tezz would not have been half as bad, had the director made his English actors speak naturally in their local language, minus the artificial and irritating dubbing. Subtitles, though a bit new for most Indian audiences, are the best and most seamless option.
Words can’t describe the horror of watching Boman Irani give instructions in Hindi to a team full of Europeans, with all of them responding to him in his mother-tongue! What’s even more laughable is that desi-dubbing artists, speak bookish sentences-So in the bargain, a blonde’s Hindi ends up sounding more accurate, than the Hinglish dialogues of the Indian actresses in the film.
Producers have used the failure of Kurbaan and Kites as a case against subtitles! But come on, seriously, who are you kidding? Those two movies were never going to click, with or without subtitles. Directors could take lessons from ZNMD, where the Espanol blended smoothly into the Hindi, without diluting Farhan’s chemistry with his heroine. Now imagine the same film with dubbed voice-overs-Had that happened, we may have wished for a climax that was in favour of those raging Bulls.
Given our stars’ obsession with toned abs and mid-riffs, Bollywood really needs good action movies, where all this style can meet substance. Lets hope Dhoom 3, Ek Tha Tiger, Race 2provide some much-needed, course correction to the desi-thriller.
Till that happens, bring on the Chulbul Pandays and Vikram Rathods.And watch Dhoom 3 trailer and pray to god.