D.M.S. Films' KHILADI 420, written-directed by Neeraj Vora, is the latest in the series of the khiladi films.
Ritu Bhardwaj (Mahima Chaudhary), the only daughter of multi-millionaire Shyam Prasad Bharadwaj (Alok Nath), is pursued by two men, Rahul (Sudhanshu Pandey) and Dev (Akshay Kumar). One is a childhood friend and the other, a friend she found in Canada.
Both can go to any lengths to win her love, but before she can decide which one she actually loves, her life takes a dramatic turn and she loses her father. What she does not know is that one of her suitors is also the killer of her father.
In circumstances like these, she takes solace in Dev's arms and marries him. She doesn't know if she's taken the right step.
But destiny plays cruel games with Ritu, who murders her husband on their wedding night. Her world comes crashing down and everything is lost in one stroke. But Anand (Akshay Kumar), Dev's twin brother, comes into the picture and things change for the better.
KHILADI 420 is, to an extent, inspired by the Gujarati play MAHAPURUSH and has shades of BAAZIGAR too. As the reels unfold, the viewer realises that Akshay has been cast in a role that he has not essayed before.
Akshay has a dual personality ? a man with a soft face who has the gift of the gab, but beneath that exterior lies a schemer who would stoop to any level to attain the riches. He is as cunning as a jackal and as dangerous as a ferocious tiger.
Writer-director Neeraj Vora has been successful in making Akshay attempt a role that reveals an altogether new facet as a performer, but as a writer, Vora has not offered explanations that prompt the character to be so malevolent. Nevertheless, the first half has several moments that keep the viewer on tenterhooks, mainly the sequence after Akshay's marriage to Mahima.
Unfortunately, the film loses its grip in the post-interval portions when Akshay's twin brother steps in. Subsequently, the director resorts to oft-repeated punches to move the story ahead. Had the director kept Akshay's character negative throughout, like Shah Rukh's in BAAZIGAR, it would've kept the viewer's interest alive till the very end.
The post-interval portions have several loose ends, notable among them being the villain's track, which seems synthetic. The villains (Mukesh Rishi, Gulshan Grover, Sayaji Shinde) flit in and out of the story expediently.
Another aspect that bogs the film down considerably is its music (Sanjeev-Darshan). The film has run of the mill tunes and regrettably, none of the songs have been promoted dynamically for them to leave any kind of an impact.
As a first-time director, Neeraj Vora's grasp over technique is decent, but as a writer, he seems to be in a hurry to package the film with all commercial ingredients, to ensure a smooth run at the box-office. It won't be wrong to state that the second half of the film does not meet the expectations raised by the first half and that's mainly because the drama lacks originality and looks like a collage of so many films.
Like all Akshay Kumar starrers, KHILADI 420 is embellished with vibrant and death-defying stunts. Akshay standing atop an aircraft and the climax stunts are deftly executed. S. Pappu's cinematography captures the scenic locales of Toronto with as much care as the lavish set in a studio.
Dialogues are well worded at places, mainly those spoken by the scheming Akshay. Editing is loose and how one wishes the editor would've used the scissors more effectively in the second half.
KHILADI 420 showcases Akshay Kumar's talent effectively. The actor does a great job in a role that has negative shades, but as a softie in the second half, he is just about okay. And that's mainly because he has been asked to do what he has been doing in film after film. Nevertheless, KHILADI 420 is amongst his finest performances.
Mahima Chaudhary seems to be going a step forward with every film. She does full justice to her role and proves that she is a polished performer. Antra Mali is quite nice. Her song with Akshay is sensuous and imaginatively picturised. Sudhanshu Pandey makes a confident debut.
On the whole, KHILADI 420 has a strong title that the masses can relate to instantly and which has ensured a good opening for the film. Besides the title, the film has Akshay's performance and death-defying stunts as its assets, but a weak second half dilutes the impact. Yet, the holiday season will ensure a decent run for the film, which will help the film reach the safety mark eventually.