Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Arjun Rampal, Akshay
Kumar, Paresh Rawal, Sushmita Sen & Bipasha Basu
Director: Vipul Shah
It is an exhilarating affair. If not all the way, at
least part of the way. And the way it begins, it promises
great things, but then, as Amitabh Bachchan himself
says in the movie, promises are meant to be broken.
This one is too. But it is also partly fulfilled. And
in that part lies the whole joy of Aankhen, debutant
director Vipul Shah's fast-paced suspense drama, often
hilarious, occasionally blundering, but almost always
keeping you engaged. Its failure lies in not utilizing
its unusual premise of bank robbery with perfectly passable
young men. Better films have been made with thinner
storylines. This one falls just short.
Based on a hit Gujarati play - for a change, it is clearly
mentioned in the credits - it is suitably adapted for
cinema. And helped a great deal by Ashok Mehta's superb
cinematography and crisp one-liners. And consistently
above average performances with the unsung Paresh Rawal
in the role of a blind railway platform singer waling
away with glory ahead of even Amitabh Bachchan who now
seems to be trying to find untapped reservoir of talent,
something he was not brave enough to do at his peak.
is daring to step beyond the trite and the tried. He
is reasonably successful. He does not get much to mouth
here, his famed baritone only occasionally getting the
audience's ear. But, he still manages to catch attention
with some superb understatements. He does not have to
speak a million lines to catch a few eyes. He deserves
it. And gets it. As does Sushmita Sen in a rare role
as the lead heroine. Last time she came in an Amitabh
film in Hindustan Ki Kasam, she hardly got a word in
edgeways. This time she is pivotal to the plot. As are
consistently improving Akshay Kumar and Arjun Rampal.
Aankhen is the story of a mastermind, three blind men,
their trainer and a bank robbery. It starts off as Rajput's
very personal tale, develops into a very personal vendetta
before sweeping with it all those who come in its stroke.
Rajput (Amitabh Bachchan in a role which takes you back
to Aks) is a bloke who has given his best to the bank.
And then drawn a blank cheque that is fired for bashing
up a corrupt staffer.
retaliation, he plans a bank robbery. He is the mastermind,
the man who is familiar with very nook and corners the
bank to plan everything to the minutest detail. For
his million-dollar exercise, he hires three blind men
promising them Rs. 50 lakh. Only thing is the men with
special needs have to behave like common men, execute
the robbery and then walk away again like men with special
needs. No suspicion, no doubt anywhere. Blind men can
grope, cannot rob. Blind men can blunder their way through,
cannot shoot straight like an arrow. Simple.
this simple premise, is built this action-packed thriller
which could have been a standout comedy had the director
focused less on hi-tech action and more on situational
humour. In trying to marry an edge-of-the-seat thriller
with a laugh riot, it fumbles in the second half after
an enriching beginning. Also the music is a bit of a
let down with even the item number by Kashmira Shah,
thrown in with an eye on the frontbenchers, doing little
more than exposing the bawdy side of Bollywood.
The way it turns out, he relies heavily on Paresh Rawal's
ability to deliver the goods in this strictly-for-metropolises
fare. He is not let down by Rawal who gets the best
lines and plays o the gallery with élan. Give
this man an inch of a role and he will take a mile.
His timing is superb, his expression match winning.
latest Aankhen - this is the third pair of eyes, earlier
there have been Dharmendra and Mala Sinha's offering
in 1968 and then the Govinda Chunkey Pandey caper in
1993 - may not turn out to be a milestone in modern
Hindi cinema - it could have though after such a fine
first half - but it won't prove to be the milestone
around Vipul Shah's neck. Except better, more consistent
things from him. Meanwhile, don't just turn a Nelson's
eye to his first foray into the big, bad world of Bollywood.
It is eye-catching it its won right.