*Or “Yes, We Have No Bandanas”
Oh, meu Deus, there’s so much I didn’t like about this film….. the background music using cheesy portuÃ±ol lyrics (don’t they think anyone in India will notice, never mind the overseas masses?), the overwaxed physiques of Hrithik and Uday (this, after Yuva, must be the second film where AB 2.0 insisted on keeping his hair, and thank Heavens he did),
the inability of anyone shooting a rifle to hit or even come near their target, Aishwarya’s character speaking of herself only in the third person, the ubiquitous pastel-colored bandanas on Uday,
and the product placement.
In the 90 minutes before the Interval, I counted ten: (1) the Sony screen in the police briefing room, (2) the Sony VAIO laptop Hrithik uses in Bombay, (3) a Coca Cola can on a desk, (4) the BURP! truck for the stakeout, (5) Sony monitors in the security room, (6) jewels of the Taj (hotels), (7) Winch 6000, (8) Cinemax cinemas, (9) Cars, the animated film, and (10) Sugar Free Natura. And I’m sure I’ve missed a few.
All that said, I still thought it was quite a fun ride, and I liked it as much as, if not more than, the original. For a two and a half-hour film, it actually flows along at a brisk pace, and this from someone who has very little patience for action sequences and chase scenes in Hindi movies.
AB o filho is back as Jai Dixit, the motorcycle-riding cop, and Uday Chopra returns as the goofy sidekick thief-turned-cop Ali. Rimii Sen is also again inhabiting the supporting role as Sweety, the now very-pregnant wife of Jai. Then there’s the new folks. Hrithik plays the master thief that Jai is pursuing, along with Bipasha Basu, a fellow cop, and Ashwarrior Rye is the light-eyed partner-in-crime to Hrithik. (Sound of record being scratched by needle) Hang on, when did Rimi get the extra ” i ” in her name ???
Jai’s entrance, just as Ali’s about to be done in by some goondas, was quite cool: like Shamu at Sea World, he shoots - vertically – out of the darkness of the sea riding a jetski and lands on the deck of a large boat. Later, during Shonali Bose’s (Bips) presentation on the super talented criminal only known as ” A “, Jai does some supercomputing numerology in his head and figures out that the green-eyed chor is heading to Bombay for his next job. After some more chases and the steamy establishment of Ash’s character, the action heads off to the Cidade Maravilhosa, Rio de Janeiro, as cop chases thief and the themes of love and trust and pairing off with someone special are all covered.
Bips does a double turn as a carioca twin sister – Monali Bose – who has lived in Brazil for many years. This allows the director to show her striding around the beach toting a surfboard and playing volleyball, all in a bikini that looks overly modest compared to what really passes for a swimming costume on Copacabana’s beaches (original home of the filo dental thong). Ali is smitten with the free-spirited babe who hugs at the drop of hat, and immediately does what he always does: picture himself and Monali married with kids.
No point in going over any more of the plot. It’s a caper movie, so you can imagine what ensues.
Visually, the film is a treat, though it seemed to me that there’s a strong leaning – when it came to the male leads – toward a certain homoerotic aesthetic, which is not really my cup of tea. Not to say that I’m keen on unibrows, but some body hair on a guy, please!
And I had to laugh, at the nightclub where Hrithik does his dancing entrance, at the greatly oversized screws hanging from the ceiling. What is the name of this club anyway? Piledriver?
Jokes aside, Hrithik and Ash appeared, to me, to generate more chemistry on screen than the alleged World’s Most Beautiful Woman has done so far with her not-so-secret boyfriend. Maybe it’s because they share similar light eyes and the same highlights,
but after that somwhat dramatic scene the morning of the heist, when Hrithik actually full-on, lip-to-lip kisses the Ice Princess, I thought it was quite tingly really, and I thought it quite a remarkable feat. Unlike the few other onscreen filmi kisses that I’ve seen before, which had about as much va-va-va-voom as a flu shot (I guess the actors are afraid to be labeled lascivious degenerates if they look like they’re enjoying it too much), this one looked authentic, and made so much more sense in that moment of the story, than if Ash had demurely looked down and coyly turned her head, allowing Hrithik’s lips to collide with her cheek.
The movie really belongs to the duo, as all Abhishek gets to do is scowl and be strong and silent, Bipasha looks stunning but doesn’t do much more, while Uday seems to be trying out for a slot as a new member of Siegfried and Roy.
The dance numbers are all pretty, and everyone looks tight and buff and shiny, though AB 2.0 barely dances at all, Hrithik is on a tight rein and not allowed to do anything much that would show off his ability, and the final number, set in Rio, has a plastic, antiseptic quality that’s the antithesis of the sweaty sensuality of Brazil’s beautiful city.
Oh yes, the stunts are pretty slick too.
See it or sip it?
See it, if you’re looking for what I call a ”Sunday afternoon” movie, that is, one that’s not too heavy or depressing and is an enjoyable way to spend a few hours before returning to the office on Monday.