Movie - Wanted (Hindi)
Director - Prabhudeva
Producer - Boney Kapoor, Sridevi Kapoor
Cast - Salman Khan, Ayesha Takia, Prakash Raj, Govind Namdeo, Mahesh Manjrekar, Inder Kumar and Vinod Khanna
Music - Sajid-Wajid
Cinematography - Nirav Shah, Sethu Sriram
Story - Puri Jagannath
Screenplay, Dialogues - Shiraz Ahmed
Action - Vijayan Master
Release Date - 18th September 2009.
This movie is sure to face a lot of criticism from the so-called pseudo-intellectual critics who degrade movies when they release, and after some years, say that that particular movie was a great entertainer. It would take days to count the flaws in this film. It conveniently forgets logic and goes into the most escapist routes of cinema, which these critics hate. Who cares!! The movie is a remake of the Tamil blockbuster 'Pokkiri' by Prabhudeva, which in turn was a remake of the Telugu blockbuster of the same name by Puri Jagannath, who is credited with the story. For people who have watched the original and the Tamil versions, this might be not as exciting. But for others, this is a true-blue entertainer. I liked the Tamil version the best among the three for various reasons. And I'm not comparing these movies with each other, as it is not made for the South audience, it is primarily made for the audience in the North and they wouldnt have seen either of the Pokkiris.
This is a complete masala 'aksan fillum' which gives you total entertainment for the money you have spent. And the major factor that makes every penny spent worth it, is this man called Salman Khan. He himself says he cant act. He doesnt bother to do author-backed roles. He doesnt do films with the so-called big banners of Bollywood. He sleepwalks through most of his roles. He comes late on the sets. He wears the weirdest costumes possible. And there are many more such negatives about him. But he's still a SUPERSTAR!! People love his arrogance and his all-good heart, which is exactly what has been depicted in this movie. He plays Radhe, a hitman who kills people like they were some mosquitoes or something. As the immensely popular trailer of this movie says, 'He walks casually, He kills casually, He loves casually.. But he dances seriously'. Lol. But that is what exactly happens in this movie. Salman is in a casual, laid-back mode throughout and goes about killing, loving and doing comedy with an unusually casual style, which works very well. He was having a rough patch with lots of flops after the superhit Partner (which was more of a Govinda film rather than a Salman Khan film). But this one is sure to erase all those flops from the public's memory. Salman is BACK. With lots of bang bang ;) !!
The story goes like this. Radhe joins the gang of Golden (weird name for a gangster), who works for this international don called Gani Bhai (Prakash Raj). He also falls for a girl called Jhanvi (Ayesha Takia) who works in a call centre, while loafing around with his tapori friends. Inspector Talpade (Mahesh Manjrekar), a lecherous police officer, has eyes on both Jhanvi and her mother. In between this, a lot of gang fights and killings and some stupid comedy by a fat guy happens. A muslim commissioner (Govind Namdeo) swears to put an end to all the criminal activities in the city. There are also the formulaic pauses for the songs to come in between the story. Due to a twist, Gani Bhai is forced to come to India after the interval. How the situation worsens with more twists and turns and how Radhe gets rid of the villains forms the rest of the story.
Salman is top class. And he shows a lot of energy in the heavy duty action scenes. He is like a tiger who is let loose. He is serious about his style of acting in a movie after a long long time. The last time he would have taken his role seriously would have been in Tere Naam (again, a remake). He brings a difference in his acting style and his chilled out, laid back attitude works wonders. The action scenes are a delight to watch and is the best thing about the movie. Salman does hardcore action after a really long time, and he does a great job with those scenes. They are choreographed and edited exactly as it was in the Tamil version. Even the costumes that the actors wear are the same. Prabhudeva seriously loves his Tamil movie. Salman does very well in comedy as usual, and dances amazingly in all the songs. Salman actually finds a neat excuse in the climax to take off his shirt and show his body, which is much improved now (After a lot of criticism that he was over-weight. I heard he took tips from Aamir). Ayesha Takia is strictly okay. She is shot from almost all the manipulative camera angles, but still looks cute rather than sexy. There is not much of a role for a heroine in such a movie. But still, Asin had made a great impact in the Tamil version. She was wonderful in that. But Ayesha doesnt come up to that level. They should have cast Asin itself in that role. The pairing is okay but there is not much chemistry between the lead pair. Mahesh Manjrekar comes across as gross and disgusting, which is exactly how his character is, in the movie. He plays it so well that you hate him with all your heart. Somebody with a better star value should have played the commissioner instead of Govind Namdeo. He was okay again. The friends gang and the gangster gang and all are okay. The comedy track mostly failed to deliver laughs, unlike Vadivel's comedy track in the Tamil version, which was a huge hit (Though good comedy from Vadivel is a rarity). They all do nothing as this movie is made for Salman to shine away to glory. But the best thing about the movie is of course, the man who has just won the National Award for Best Actor, Prakash Raj. He is absolutely amazing. His villain role, with a touch of comedy was an absolute treat. He played the same role in all the three versions getting better with each one. He has dubbed for himself for the first time in Hindi and does a great job. No accent at all. Lets hope he comes in more and more Hindi films. The scene where he is kept under police custody is the pick of the lot.
The music is mediocre and is typical Salman Khan type Sajid-Wajid songs. 'Love me, love me, love me, Your mama says you love me, Papa says you love me' is some truly innovative lyrics. :P. Lol. However, the song is a huge hit. Only Salman (or maybe Govinda) can pull off such ridiculous songs. But the best one was Jalwa, the first song, which had great choreography, starting a Hindi film with a mass, crowd-pleasing, hero-praising song after a long long time. It has guest appearances by some of Salman's friends including a part where Salman dances along with Govinda and Prabhu Deva. MAST!! The romantic song Dil Leke is nice. Shot where Khuda Jaane was shot, in Greece. The item song was bad. Ishq Vishq was cut from the movie when it was showing here. Tose Pyar Karte Hai is a very bad song. The Tamil version had a lovely song called Vasanthamullai at that place with a very funny and cute video. Same thing could have been used here.
The punch dialogues which are so typical of Tamil and Telugu cinema, is something new to Hindi cinema. It works well most of the time getting seetis and claps each time Salman delivers one. But the solid punches packed in the original versions is not there in this. Yet Salman does it in his own style and makes it worthwhile. The editing and background score were so much better in the Tamil and Telugu versions. The main thing missing here is a solid background score which could have given much more style to the hero. I dont understand why the good background music in movies from South India is always under-utilized when those movies are remade into Hindi. Ghajini's background score also, despite having AR Rahman on board, was not as good as the background score done by Harris Jeyaraj in the original. And the main problem with Priyadarshan's remakes are that he doesnt use background music at all in his Hindi movies. When a heroic movie like this is made for the lead actor to show off all his star value and screen presence, background music is an important factor. Here, the movie is completely dependent on Salman's awesome screen presence and escapes because of that. Cinematography by Nirav Shah/Sethu Sriram is brilliant during the action scenes and some of the songs like 'Dil Leke'. The stunt sequence where the light comes from just flashes and sparks of fire, has great camerawork and lighting.
The fillum has packed everything that you can ask for from a movie, other than a social message. The movie glorifies killing and murders so much that you tend to think its cool to bump off some gangsters. Its actually not cool at all, and is justified with a twist in the end. But still, this movie shouldnt be taken seriously as it never posed to be a serious movie. So my review is purely based on the commercial aspects of the movie. The movie knows the kind of audience it would get and has all that would make them happy and say, 'Paisa Vasool'. Wanted could easily be the Ghajini of the year and mark the comeback (not that he really went anywhere) of Salman Khan, who has 2 other interesting films coming up this year, Main Aurr Mrs.Khanna and London Dreams. All in all, paisa vasool entertainment, though it doesnt come up to the earlier versions.
Rating - 3.8/5 (Again because I have seen the original)