A mammoth star cast and a big canvas carries with it the burden of colossal expectations. Harry Baweja's QAYAMAT, inspired by THE ROCK [Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, Ed Harris], has been hyped tremendously, is embellished with a top-ranking star cast and has excellent music to offer. Obviously, the expectations are giganticï¿½
Ali [Arbaaz Khan] and Abbas [Sanjay Kapoor] along with Laila [Isha Koppikar] are arms dealers, working hand-in-hand with the ISI. Together, they plan a dangerous game. A game that will get them millions of Rupees and an escape route from India.
Rahul [Aashish Chowdhry], a scientist, is in the process of creating an anti-virus, which would help save lives in case a biological or chemical warfare breaks out. But this deadly virus is smuggled out of the lab by Rahul's colleague [Chunkey Pandey] and lands into the trio's dangerous hands.
Ali and Abbas threaten to blanket Mumbai with the virus if the Chief Minister [Anjan Srivastava] doesn't meet their demands.
Akram [Suniel Shetty], a CBI officer, puts down a plan of action. He needs the help of one man. A convict ï¿½ Rachit [Ajay Devgan].
Rachit has a dangerous past. Today, he has degenerated almost into a vegetable. Drugged by doctors because memories of his love Sapna [Neha Dhupia] make him violent.
A dangerous journey into the unknown world of dreaded criminals beginsï¿½
QAYAMAT is path-breaking in the sense that no maker has attempted a complete fare on issues such as biological or chemical weapons, missiles, viruses and other sci-fi jargons. With a storyline like that, utmost care has been taken to present it in a stylish format.
Undoubtedly, QAYAMAT is the most technically superior film churned out by Bollywood in the present times.
But these terms [biological weapons, missiles, viruses et al] may appeal more to the city-based audience. In fact, a sizeable chunk of audience may find the technicalities tough to comprehend with.
From the writing point of view, writer Suparn Verma has taken the essence from THE ROCK, merged it with the oft-repeated and oft-witnessed good versus evil formula and garnished it with pro-India, anti-Pak references.
The film starts off very well, but the story stagnates once Ajay Devgan's romantic past is unveiled. The songs that follow in rapid succession are sure to test the patience of the viewer.
Without doubt, the film has its share of well-penned sequences and they do crop up at regular intervals, but the outcome after the first half leaves you with a been-there-done-that kind of a feeling.
However, things perk up in the post-interval portions. But the pace actually gathers momentum when Ajay hears Neha's voice on the transmitter. From thereon, right till the climax, the goings-on keep the interest alive, courtesy the brilliantly executed stunts [Allan Amin]. In fact, the stunts are the mainstay of the enterprise and for an Indian cinegoer, it's 'sone pe suhaaga'.
QAYAMAT is Harry Baweja's best offering so far, in terms of technique. The film has been stylishly shot and has an international feel to it, besides it moves at an exciting pace in the latter reels. The action sequences have also been integrated and woven well in the script.
But had Harry gone in for an easy to comprehend kind of a script, the results would've been better. Also, the usage of technical jargons may go over the top in the case of not-too-literate viewers.
Writer Suparn Verma needs to be complimented for picking a genre that defies the stereotype and which has rarely been attempted by Hindi film-makers. Besides taking its inspiration from THE ROCK, it also reminds you of films like EXECUTIVE DECISION, CRIMSON TIDE and the ilk. But, at the same time, Suparn ought to have realised that universal acceptance for a theme like this is completely ruled out.
Nadeem-Shravan's music sounds good to the ears, but looks forced in a film of this genre. In fact, a couple of songs come up without valid situations whatsoever.
Cinematography [Sanjay F. Gupta] is awesome. In fact, the look of the film is very international. The background score heightens the impact considerably. The underground sets [Nitish Roy] are fantastic.
Ajay Devgan is effective in a role that requires him to emote through expressions. In fact, throughout the second half of the film [barring the end], Ajay remains silent, expressing various shades of emotions through his eyes.
Suniel Shetty is first-rate. His pro-India lines are bound to meet with applause. Aashish Chowdhry does a commendable job. His sequences with Riya Sen bring an instant smile, especially in the latter reels.
Sanjay Kapoor and Arbaaz Khan are commendable. Chunkey Pandey passes muster. Neha Dhupia looks plain average, but acts well. Isha Koppikar springs a surprise in a male-dominated show. She registers a strong impact. Riya Sen is strictly okay.
Ayub Khan, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Anjan Srivastava and Govind Namdeo are as usual. Deep Dhillon impresses.
On the whole, QAYAMAT is a fair entertainer with an ordinary first half and an engaging second. However, a theme like this may find takers in the metros, but universal acceptance seems difficult. At the box-office, the business will vary from circuit to circuit, ranging from good to average.