5 December 2001 | RNJBOND
Abhay: Psychotic Thriller or just plain psycho?
Abhay has been heavily hyped for a long time. It was looking to be a very different film from Bollywood norm of sappy romances. The storyline for the movie is said to have been conceived and written by Kamal Hassan over ten years ago, so it's hard for one not to get excited about such a film. So how exactly does it turn out?
Story: Vijay Kumar is a special forces commando stationed in Kashmir. He has a girlfriend, Tejaswani, whom he is planning to wed within due time. When both of them get together, they decide to get Abhay, Vijay's brother, to attend the wedding. However, their requests to the doctor are denied as they deem Abhay unfit for society. During their visit, Abhay sees Tejaswani and immediately remembers his evil stepmother and threatens to kill her. Vijay and Tejaswani leave immediately. Abhay escapes from the mental institute and kills his two assailants. On the way to find Tejaswani, he gets involved in drugs, and gets really high along the way, killing two people during the process, one of whom was a girl he was in love with. Eventually, Vijay and Tejaswani leave the city to escape from Abhay. Vijay finds his old home, and finds a diary written by Abhay. He opens it up to discover a few things from Abhay's past. What does he find out? How does the story continue from here? Watch Abhay to find out!
The story is extremely impressive, on paper. However, the execution of the story is poor. The pacing of the story is very wrong, especially with two scenes in particular: When Abhay gets high, and Abhay's flashback to childhood. Both of the scenes are stretched out way too long, and would bore all but the most patient viewers. Story Rating: 9.5/10 Overall Story Rating (including handling): 6/10
Performances: Acting throughout is a varied point. Kamal Hassan does an okay job as Major Vijay Kumar, but special commendation goes to his second role as Abhay. His intense portrayal is excellent, and there is no confusion at all about Abhay's character. Raveena Tandon is nothing really special, but then again, her role isn't anything special. Manisha Koirala is irritating in her `special appearance' with her feigned American accent. The supporting cast is merely okay. Rating: 7/10
Direction: Direction is quite weak. As previously mentioned, the story is handled poorly. Certain scenes extend way too long, which confuse the viewer many times. The narrative through the movie isn't handled well, as the flashback sequences are too long and tiring to watch. Rating: 4 /10
Technical Aspects: Abhay really succeeds on special effects. The special effects during Abhay's `high sequence' are impressive. It works very well to show the world from Abhay's perspective at that point. The animation looks good, but there's a bit too much of it, adding to the unbelievably of the situation. The action sequences also deserve special mention. The ending chase scene is especially good, with some great stunts, and well-paced action. Cinematography isn't really anything special. It's suitably gritty in the first half, but really serves no purpose in the second half. Also, there are some nice camera effects used in the film. Editing varies; it's slick at other times, and bad at others. Rating: 9/10
Songs: The music for Abhay is well-composed and Javed Akhtar's lyrics are good. The songs might not be instantly catchy, but they fit the mood of the story well. However, placement of the songs is quite weak.
Hasde Hasde: A fun-loving number, but nothing really special as far as picturization. Picturized at an engagement party between Vijay and Tejaswani.
Kaltak Mujko Gaurav Tha: A great number, but not used too well in the film. Having Abhay dance around holding a flyer isn't really the best way to picturize a number like this. This could have worked if it had several placements throughout the film, like `Watan Walo' from Indian. However, the picturization at the end credits is a bit better, with Abhay moving around in the rain, tinted with a green lens.
Rain Dance Number: A number not on the soundtrack. It's picturized as a dance number between Abhay and Manisha. Really pointless, and not even a good composition.
Zingoria: A nice dance number with Manisha Koirala. The dance is performed quite well, but hampers the narrative. This is where Abhay first sees Manisha Koirala in real life.
Hey! Who are you? : Picturized as a sensual encounter between Abhay and Manisha, this one really makes no impact. Only a few lines from this already weak song are used, so one cannot even consider this song used in the film.
Khoyal Mili Tumko: A background song as Tejaswani and Vijay are leaving the city. It's a nice song, but hampers the pace of the movie, just as Zingoria did.
Dekho Abhay: Background music during the final chase scene. It works well in the background, adding the right action feel to the song.
Overall: Abhay is an interesting film, hampered by its weak narrative. The movie is worth watching only for the concept, special effects, and action scenes. However, the movie requires a lot of patience to sit through. Overall Rating (not an average): 6.2/10