A Gulshan Rai ? Rajiv Rai film is always eagerly looked forward to. Be it DEEWAAR or VIDHAATA or the ones directed by Rajiv, from YUDH to PYAAR ISHQ AUR MOHABBAT, the films have had their share of gloss and in most cases, the content as well.
Unfortunately, Rajiv Rai?s latest oeuvre ASAMBHAV is not a patch on Trimurti Films? earlier ventures. Why, it isn?t half as exciting as TRIDEV, GUPT or MOHRA.
Reason? Haven?t the Indian audiences been subjected to the Indo-Pak thorny relations, the Kashmir issue, the ISI etc. in film after film? ASAMBHAV has all this and more, including references to President Musharraf, Al Jazeera, the Americans, the Afghanistanis?
In the current scenario, when not only have the Indo-Pak relations changed for the better and the Indian viewers have got sick and tired of watching the dirty linen being washed on screen, comes ASAMBHAV.
Sorry, not only is the movie ill-timed, even the substance it has to offer is as tasteless as a well garnished biryani minus spices and salt.
Yes, ASAMBHAV is an apt case of body beautiful, minus soul. The film is one of the slickest products to hit the Indian screens in the recent times, but how about giving us an equally inspiring content?
ASAMBHAV is set in Locarno [Switzerland]. Vir Pratap Singh [Dr. Mohan Agashe], the President of India, is visiting Locarno not on an official visit, but for a short vacation with his daughter Kinjal [Dippanita Sharma], who studies in the U.S. and who has flown in to the city.
An international terrorist, Mabros [Shawar Ali], kidnaps the President and his daughter and keeps them hostage in a secluded island-hotel. The brains behind this kidnapping conspiracy are ISI officials Ansari [Milind Gunaji], Gazi [Tej Sapru] and Hashmi [model Chetan Hansraj]. Also, another international terrorist group, Al-Hamas, led by Yuzan Baksh [Mukesh Rishi], is hand-in-glove with Ansari.
Captain Aadit Arya [Arjun Rampal] is entrusted the responsibility of bringing the President and his daughter back safely. The mission is called ?Mission Asambhav?.
In Locarno, Aadit comes across Sam Hans [Naseeruddin Shah] and Brian [Tom Alter], who are involved with Ansari and the drugs that have been flown in the country through a pop singer Alisha [Priyanka Chopra].
Arya poses as a journalist to get to the core of the matter. He realizes that someone in the Indian embassy in Switzerland is also involved in this conspiracy. Who is it?
Screenplay writers Rajiv Rai and Naeem Sha have borrowed from some espionage films made in Hollywood, with a dash of AIR FORCE ONE [Harrison Ford], and weaved an espionage drama called ASAMBHAV. Unfortunately, what could?ve been an exhilarating flick loses focus soon after a good start, thanks to inept and slipshod writing.
The initial reels of ASAMBHAV keep you on the edge. A good portion of the first thirty minutes is devoted to background, setup and getting the characters in place. Besides the slickly executed sequences, even the story unfolds at a feverish pace, involving the viewer completely in the proceedings. But one of the biggest drawbacks of ASAMBHAV is that too many characters have been forced into the screenplay and in order to do justice to each character, the script starts going haywire after a point.
So, as Arjun Rampal takes on the mission to rescue the President and his daughter, there?s Priyanka Chopra and the mandatory songs that come in at regularity. Then there?s Naseeruddin Shah, Tom Alter and their deal with Milind Gunaji and gang. Also, there?s the Mukesh Rishi ? Shawar Ali terrorism issue. Yes, there?s one more track ? the one involving the embassy staff.
As writers, Rajiv and Naeem ought to know that a simple story and a straightforward screenplay is what the viewer yearns for. By incorporating so many characters and the sub-plots, the film becomes one taxing exercise for the viewer.
If the first half is at least tolerable, the post-interval portions take the graph of the film down completely. There?re guns and bullets galore, there?re venom-spewing dialogues, there?s mindless violence aplenty and of course, the unwanted songs!
Director Rajiv Rai is just not in form this time around. The film pales when compared to his earlier products. In fact, it won?t be wrong to state that this is amongst his weakest films. Even his writing is below par.
Viju Sha?s music consists of forgettable tunes. The songs flow in rapid succession, but you don?t carry them once the show has concluded. One definitely misses a hit number like ?Oye Oye? or ?Mast Mast?, which were heard and seen in Rajiv and Viju?s earlier films. Cinematography [Sukumar Jatania] is fantastic. The locales of Locarno are a visual treat. Dialogues [Naeem Sha] are monotonous. Action [Mahendra Verma] is alright.
ASAMBHAV belongs to Naseeruddin Shah. The veteran enacts his part with admirable ease. Arjun Rampal does play the super-hero who bashes up 20 guys at a go, but the role offers him no scope to display histrionics. Priyanka Chopra is reduced to being a mere prop. She?s there to add glamour to the proceedings. That?s it!
Amongst the horde of character actors, Sharat Saxena, Mukesh Rishi and Tom Alter are noticeable. Dr. Mohan Agashe is wasted. Shawar Ali is relegated to being a sidekick. Jameel Khan [as Bhatnagar] is passable. Newcomer Chetan Hansraj is wooden.
On the whole, ASAMBHAV is a weak film in all respects. At the box-office, its chances of survival look completely asambhav [impossible].