Wednesday, May 04, 2005


I can't figure out if it's a good thing to go for a movie with absolutely no expectations in your mind. Having had no T.V. for a long time, I didn't get to see the trailers of Kaal. I pretty much had no idea what the movie was about. I only knew who the lead actors were and that the movie supposedly had something to do with tigers.

I was pleasantly surprised, which is probably an indication of how low my expectations were. There actually were good points to the movie! So if this pseudo-review reads like a lambasting, it's probably because of my anti-Hindi-movie bringing-up.

The Beginning:

It may be that I'm dense, but what exactly is the point of beginning a movie with a dance number featuring a married forty-year-old man, a sultry goddess and a bit of raucous noise that - surely - can't be called music, even in these permissive times? I didn't have to wait long to get my answer. After the butt-shaking ended, the screen informed me that the movie had been Produced by Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar.

The scene that introduces John Abraham's character - Krish - should be mandatory viewing for any person who wants to get to know Bollywood. Apparently, a snake has escaped from Krish's private snake zoo and he must run half-naked for about five minutes to catch up with it. And when he does catch up with it, he rolls around in the grass for another five minutes, like he's wrestling a tiger. And then, when he is lying on the grass with the snake wound around his body like a spring, he kisses it. Well, no, he doesn't. But he was going to, before his jealous girlfriend (Ria/Priya - take your pick) interrupted him.

The Plot:

Easy peasy. Apparently, there have been a lot of 'accidents' involving tigers in Orbit National Park in the last two months. Krish has been sent - by National Geographic, no less - to investigate. On the way, he meets a bunch of happy-go-lucky youngsters. They team up, for no reason other than that Krish's jeep broke down. Or maybe it's to make it easier for the director to kill them off one by one.

The Middle:

The movie actually takes off in the middle. It gets smoother; the narrative gets tighter; the tension builds up. Some of the best pieces of acting come in the middle, too. Plus, of course, all the "accidents".

The Actors:

The movie includes some spectacularly bad acting by Vivek Oberoi. One scene in particular stands out clearly in my mind - you'll know which one if you watch the movie. John Abraham didn't really have much to do, except look intense and broody and macho and intelligent - all at once. He manages it quite well and even pulls off the one scene where a bit of emotion is required on his face.

The two ladies don't really have much to do. I don't know how Eshaa Deol thinks she's going to become a popular actress if she keeps accepting roles in which she has nothing to do except look good and smile. Lara Dutta has a bit more of dialogue and she screams quite well in the two - count'em TWO - decapitation scenes.

Ajay Devgan has a rather difficult role to play - witty and brooding and scary at the same time. He does it with his characteristic flair. The minor characters are all well-played. I don't know the names of any of the actors, but boy, they're good.

The Ending:

One got the feeling that the director rushed through the last scenes. The viewer is left with a lot of questions. How do they escape? More importantly, why do they escape? I thought that the twist at the end could have been explored further. (An aside: I don't usually spot twists, but since a review had hinted that this movie did have a twist, I was on the watch for it and I actually did know what was going to happen when it happened.)

I can't understand why the film lets us down at the end. Did the director just get tired of the movie or is it an overenthusiastic editor who is to blame? Either way, the ending is almost as much a letdown as the beginning.


It's not a must watch, but it's definitely worth a watch. There are a couple of creepy scenes; a nice setting; hot babes; at least one hot guy; no songs. Aren't those reasons enough?
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