In 1998, Ramgopal Varma created a clutter-breaking film on Mumbai mafia called SATYA. Post RGV's attempt, which earned a cult following amongst cineastes, a number of film-makers -- including RGV himself -- attempted movies on the sinister world of guns, goons, gangstas and gang wars. These films promised to offer the spectator a closer view of the mechanisms of the dark, gritty world.
Sanamjit Singh Talwar explores the underbelly of the city in his directorial debut DISHKIYAOON. But the question is, hasn't RGV himself [besides a couple of film-makers] milked this genre dry? Perhaps Sanamjit had an interesting idea on paper -- a youngster walks out on his father, who preaches non-violence, to be a gangster -- but the debutant director squanders it all thanks to a worn-out script.
Let's enlighten you about the premise. DISHKIYAOON is narrated through flashbacks as Viki [Harman Baweja] reveals his life story to Lakwa [Sunny Deol]. Starting out as a timid student, Viki's life undergoes a metamorphosis when he comes into contact with Mota Tony [Prashant Narayanan]. The rest of the film focuses on his sole ambition of being the master of the game.
Seeking inspiration from some of the best gangster films isn't sacrilege, but like I pointed out at the outset, isn't the genre over-exploited? And anything in excess loses sheen, right? Again, serving the tried-and-tested stuff is not an issue, but the material ought to have the power to keep you absorbed and engaged. Unfortunately, in this case, the recipe is right, but the flavor isn't.
Come to think of it, the trailer makes you believe that the debutant director is sure to spring a couple of surprises, but the predicament is DISHKIYAOON is marred by a laborious screenplay that doesn't seem to go anywhere. There's a twist in the tale towards the final moments of the film, but barring this sequence as well as the emotional outburst by Harman, the film doesn't really work. In addition, like most first-time efforts, the substance takes a backseat, while style takes precedence here. Ideally, it should've been the other way around.
On the brighter side, a couple of action pieces catch your eye, but there's an overdose of violence here and it gets on your nerves after a point. The soundtrack is mediocre, although, frankly, there's not much scope for songs here.
There are instances of flawed scripts getting salvaged by competent performances, but that's not the case with DISHKIYAOON. Sunny Deol looks exhausted. Harman Baweja pitches in a fine performance, although he needs to polish his skills in dramatic moments. New-find Ayesha Khanna is strictly okay.
Prashant Narayanan is top notch, while Anand Tiwari gets his character spot-on. Sumit Nijhawan plays the mandatory bad guy without much effort. Aditya Pancholi is wasted. Ditto for Rajit Kapoor, who plays Harman's father. Shilpa Shetty Kundra sizzles in the promotional track that's placed towards the end credits.
On the whole, DISHKIYAOON misses the mark!