Tips Films and Mukesh Bhatt's FOOTPATH, directed by Vikram Bhatt, falls in the same genre as PARINDA, SATYA, VAASTAV and COMPANY, but it lacks the hammer-strong impact of the earlier films.
FOOTPATH is the story of three friends -- Arjun [Aftab Shivdasani], Raghu [Emraan Hashmi] and Shekhar [Rahul Dev]. All three have been born and brought up in Mumbai.
The happiness is shortlived when Arjun's father is murdered. His friends avenge the father's death, after which Arjun is forced to flee Mumbai and take refuge in Delhi.
But the police succeed in tracing Arjun and force him into a mission that is full of betrayal against his childhood friends.
FOOTPATH bears a striking similarity to the Mahesh Bhatt-directed ANGAARAY [Akshay, Nagarjuna, Irfan Kamal], which itself was inspired by the Hollywood flick ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES [1938; starring James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Pat O'Brien].
Director Vikram Bhatt has opted for a genre that may not be original, but it does have its share of some well-penned and well-executed sequences. Also, the filming and setting are all dark, unlike the colourful world of Bollywood flicks.
But the film is not without its share of failings. The killings and the cat-n-mouse game between the law-breakers and the law-keepers gets repetitive after a point, making you wonder why the narrative couldn't have been more precise.
Also, viewers who are not too well versed with the functioning of the Mumbai underworld, may not find this adventure captivating enough to identify with. The terminology is very Mumbaiyya, the ambience and overall setting is again so Mumbai-centric that those in Bihar or Punjab or Andhra may find it difficult to equate with.
The film starts off pretty well and the pace is maintained right through the first half-an-hour, but it runs out of steam the moment the heroes start romancing the heroines.
From the script point of view, every time a good scene ends, a song pops up without a valid situation, which gives you an impression that the writer [Mahesh Bhatt] and the makers wanted to incorporate all possible ingredients to woo the cinegoer.
Of course, the film has its share of some good scenes [the bonding between Aftab and Emraan can be singled out!], but they're far too less to undo the harm done by the songs and the romantic track.
Director Vikram Bhatt has handled a few dramatic scenes with ease, with the finale being the best part of the enterprise. But he should've gone in for an out-and-out realistic fare instead of trying to strike a balance between realism and formula-ridden clich?stuff. It would've only benefited the project had it been a songless film.
Writer Mahesh Bhatt has come up with a half-baked script. It drags in the second half and offers nothing new to the viewer. Girish Dhamija's dialogues are power-packed and also the saving grace to an extent. Aftab's outburst in the climax can easily be singled out.
Nadeem-Shravan's music is a sore point. Practically all the tunes sound the same. Pravin Bhatt's camerawork is flawless. Action scenes are as usual.
Aftab Shivdasani does well in a role that is not everyone's cup of tea. He is at his best towards the latter part of the film. Rahul Dev is effective enough.
Debutante Emraan Hashmi [he has been given the same look as Vivek Oberoi in COMPANY!] carries off the role without resorting to being loud. A complete natural, given the right roles, directors and films, the youngster can work wonders.
Bipasha Basu has nothing to do other than look pretty. The only scene where she scores is the one when she reveals to Aftab that she is pregnant. Newcomer Aparna Tilak is quite good.
Irfan Khan is excellent in a cameo. Anupama Verma and Arif Zakaria don't get much scope. Anup Soni is first-rate.
On the whole, FOOTPATH is a routine fare that may not find many takers. At the box-office, the film will face an uphill task in the form of strong oppositions and also due to lack of an aggressive promotion, resulting in no buzz for the film.