2 April 2008 | TheGautamMathur
What was everyone thinking?
I have been watching Abbas-Mustan movies ever since their first, Khiladi. While I have never claimed to be a fan of their work, During that period of Indian films, they were probably the only people who made their movies 'different' to what else was being made on that budget and scale, so I watched and got entertained to a certain degree.
The brothers follow a tried and tested plan - 1) Take a Hollywood mystery/thriller, preferably B-Grade Hollywood, movies that have not got theatrical releases in India.
2) Add 6-7 foot-tapping songs, inserted at regular intervals.
3) Give the main lead (who is always a character with 'shades of grey') a strong motive for doing the dastardly deeds that he does.
4) Follow up with a fantastic climax.
So that was what I was expecting when I went to see 'RACE' in the cinema, and I couldn't help but leave the cinema thinking - "Well, that was money ill-spent." Race starts with a car-stunt and a voice-over delivered by Anil Kapoor, that is meant to be an introduction to our four main lead characters (Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu), but land up as being nothing more than an advertisement to the viewing public for how good designers can make our film stars look. And even though the picture tries to take a path down the 'Clever Thriller' mode, all it displays is 'Clever Dress Design'.
Granted, the story had the potential to be interesting, It was just presented in a really jaded, 90's kind of way where there are songs that interrupt the flow of the story regular as clockwork.
I mean - of course I like nothing more than Bipasha or Katrina Dancing the night away in skimpy outfits, but in a story like this, they achieve nothing but hamper the narrative. In fact so much so, that by the time the climax came around, the whole cinema was itching for it to get over! That can never be a good sign. So, a movie, that could have been a taut thriller becomes nothing but a parody of what its trying to achieve, and a too long one at that.
In short, its a picture too long by about an hour. With a little bit of editing, and not as many songs, It could have been a good thriller.
Of the performances, it doesn't even need to be said, that Anil Kapoor has found a way of breathing life into the most mundane movies, just by being in them, and even here, he gives a masterclass on how to carry off an over-the-top performance without coming across as a ham actor. Sameera Reddy, as Anil Kapoor's thick-headed secretary is also fun to watch, not to mention, hot in her own, dusky, South-Indian way. Akshaye Khanna is always good to watch, clearly more than competent to carry of the role he's given, He is absolutely devious. Saif Ali Khan is going through the motions here, all he needs to do in the movie is look good, ride lots of horses and look good... Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu, besides being the prettiest and fittest women respectively in the Indian Film Industry today (IMO) are clearly capable of what's required of them, and they do it well.
After an interesting first 45 minutes, the film gets too slow and boring to enjoy, and towards the last half hour, there is one scene of special mention, that brings some sort of fun back into it, and that is Johnny Lever's solitary scene. He's done an intelligently funny scene after a LONG time and special mention goes out to him.
All in all, I gave it 5 points out of 10, simply because Johnny Lever's single appearance is worth 2 points, the other three are for the attempt.