What if “Mohabbatein” had a twist in the end with the twist being that the Shahrukh Khan character had actually fallen in love with Amitabh Bachchan and that Aishwarya Rai committed suicide after she stumbled on them making love? What if it was revealed at the end of “Kuch Kuch Hota Hota” that Rani Mukherjee had actually faked her own death just to see if Shahrukh Khan actually meant it when he said that people fall in love once? What if “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” had ended with Kajol extending her hand and Shahrukh Khan twisting it in such a fashion that she fell on the railways lines and got run over by the train with the camera moving to a last shot of Mandira Bedi, sitting in the train, smiling?
Twists are inherently a good thing—-at least it would have made some movies, like the ones above, more interesting. Multiple twists aren’t bad either. But for twists to work, they have to come at a moment you least expect them to. This is what “Race” seems to forget—in trying to make a movie with multiple twists, the director duo Abbas-Mastan cram in so many twists that the arrival of a plot kink elicits as much surprise as the start of a song in your average Hindi movie.
And it’s not just the number of twists. It’s also the twists themselves. The fly in the ointment is not so much the plot-holes and the tenuous assumptions and happen-chance that the master-plans of the evil men/women are built on—after all a Hindi movie is not a theorem proof but escapist entertainment based on a willing suspension of disbelief. However what damns “Race” is the total lack of originality in the “you never saw that one coming” moments—-someone who has seen a few movies of this genre will most often cotton onto what the next twist will be. [Of course I do understand that the word “originality” does not sit well in a movie directed by Abbas Mastan (“Race” being supposedly a copy of “Goodbye Lover“) and whose music director is Pritam, just as intra-party democracy does not find favor in the Congress I]
Performance-wise, there is nothing much to write about as character development and nuances of mood are not the focus of “Race”. Saif is seen in many scenes wearing just a beard and not much else, Akshaye Khanna permanently wears his trademark superior smirk and Anil Kapoor, parodying Karamchand, gets a chance to touch Sameera Reddy’s chest. I do not know if that was the only remuneration he got for the role cause he didn’t deserve much more. The ladies—Katrina, Sameera and Bipasha use their “aage ki yehi shor” and “peeche ki yehi shor” to keep the plot rolling manfully and Johnny Lever (when did I last see him !) gives us a smelly blast from the past with a manically hammy comedy item. And lest I forget, from time to time, cars fly into the air in slow motion and come crashing down (this of course being an action movie), which spectacular as it is, does become monotonous after a while.
Summing up, a very predictable, twisted and labored “race” to the bottom.
[Picture courtesy Santabanta.com]