Sunday, May 27, 2007

True rumors about "Shootout at Lokhandwala"

As the movie tagline suggests, this movie is about true rumors. And rumors (true or untrue) are best left alone to die their own death. But the keedas in me (hyperactive worms named after the famous Reimann and Suleiman) and the persistence of a friend smitten by Ganpat made me wander into Sanjays' booby trap. To top it all, I had to buy the movie tix in black at twice the prices. This is what they call "Bad luck kharaab hai".

What is this movie about? The true rumors are based on a ill-fated "police encounter" in broad daylight that happened many aeons ago - ill-fated not because of the incident but because it was the inspiration for this horrible movie. Apoorva Lakhia said in an interview that everyone knows what they were doing on Nov, 16th 1991, the day of the shootout. Someone must tell him to lay off the wild mushroom chilly he is eating since it is not really helping him. With people dropping like flies in Mumbai (from crime, disease, accidents, etc), the only reason to have this etched in memory would be an ill-behaved, constipated turd timing its way out of the back end at the exact same time of reading this piece of news.

Anyways, the movie is shot in sutradhar style, the role being performed by the Big-B who plays a sceptical lawyer defending our trigger happy Pandoos post the incident. The movie rolls on in flashback as the Pandoos explain their side of the story to the Big-B who is the voice of reason (or the lack of it). Its a good thing that the Big-B has age on his side since a bit of senility targeting the right brain cells could induce amnesia to forget this thunder blunder. He was so grating in his role that the few drunks who had paid to sleep in the AC woke up and started asking for refunds. The Pandoos are Sanjoo baba playing the pooper top cop with side-kicks, Suneil Anna and Arbaaz. We find out how the ATS (Anti-terrorist squad) was formed though I am sure none of us would have cared less. A few scenes with them battling Khalistani terrorists Bollywood ishtyle and a completely wasted sequence with Abhishek Bachaan and you are wondering WTF? Dia Mirza, the forgettable excuse for a reporter makes her entry and does her bit to add to the reels to make it 3 hours long.

In the meantime, while i was busy attempting astral projection to get out of the theatre, the movie moves on to Maya Dolas, the main villain of this masterpiece. Maya is this cool dude who is as obsessed with being bad as the pooper scooper Pandoo is to do away with it. He wears a smirk over his face and an attitude to go with it (and manages to keep it all the way to his sordid end). He is given company by ace shooters Dilip Buva, Fattu (a shooter who shat his pants in his first killing), RC (a drunkard who is tormented by ghosts of an earlier killing till the very end) and Doubling (another Lakhia). Some moments are spent/wasted/whatever on their meteoric rise ably sprinkled with some dance bar item song sequences with Arti Chabbria. Maya ki Aai is played by Amrita Singh. It would be simpler to make Govinda sound like an American with accent training than for her to sound like a Marahastrian lower middle class mother.

As I attempt to vomit my intestines out, we move onto the much awaited shootout after a lot of asides/distractions. I wonder if there is any saving grace in this sordid affair. But Maya (pun intended) had something else in mind. The Bollywood predilection of having wrongs righted and getting justice done gets in the way. The baddies who know a a**-whupping, when they smell one, call up their loved ones for a final tear-jerking apology for getting on the wrong path. This is followed by pairing up of the goodies-baddies fight as per the pecking order in the movie (Sanjoo-Viveik, Anna-Tushaar, etc). To top it all, in all cases, the bullets dry up and the fights have to be settled in hand-to-hand combat and the 230+ pandoo extras don't offer a helping hand knowing Bollywood rules of Physics,, Logic and Temporality all too well.

By now, my brain is burning oxygen like crazy to avoid becoming an ingredient in a mixed vegetable menu. Thankfully, Maya (the other one) steps in, Big B mumbles along and instead of arguing the case asks a single question to the judge (check the movie to find out the question) and the judge lets our pandoos free without asking for a 50-50 or a call to the friend (probably he was too scared of being bored to death). The credits roll by and I am transported back from the bizarro world into the world where logic reigns.

Now for the mis-casts and their super-performances. "I-ham-therefore-I-am" Viveiaaak Oberoi (A name change is in order to avoid all the bad karma associated with this masterpiece and Nakshaz) as Maya is at his ham-mer ham-ster ham-err-hoidal best. He is ably assisted by Tussharr Kapoor as the ace shooter Dilip Buva (reminded me of Sachin "Aai la" Tendulkar with the matching rich baritone). Don't ask about the other baddies - they were meant to be tofu to make it 3 hours long. Sanjoo baba playing the pooper cop is stylish and slick and his usual filmi self (refusing a bulletproof vest in a shootout). Anna amidst making blank calls to his estranged wife and rants about police casualties does not have much to write home about. Arbaaz - I don't know what he is doing in this movie - if you find out, let me know. Apoorva Lakhia - now that's another matter. If someone knows a mobster, can you put a supari on his vegetable head? The people who have watched this trash would gladly pay a few bucks to ensure that this torture does not get repeated again.

The verdict: You can safely watch and enjoy this movie if someone is willing to babysit your brain in your absence.