There do exist a few films that borrow heavily from the masala films that were churned out in the 1980s and 1990s. Himalaya Motion Pictures' SHIKAAR is one of those films.
The film revolves around a group of casino owners [Danny Denzongpa, Prem Chopra, Shakti Kapoor, Ashish Vidyarthi, Tej Sapru and Shweta Menon], who strike a deal with a car thief Vijay Sanyal [Jas Pandher] for a hotel in Mussorie. Though priced at Rs. 100 crores, Vijay offers to sell it for Rs. 30 crores.
The partners jump at the offer and reach Mussorie to clinch the deal, but there's a twist in the tale. One by one the partners are murdered and the needle of suspicion points towards Vijay. Enter A.C.P. Sumed Singh [Raj Babbar], who is baffled at the rate the murders take place.
Who is the killer and what is his motive?
SHIKAAR relies too heavily on the age-old formula and that is its prime undoing. In an effort to pack the chills, thrills and songs, the makers have forgotten that a taut script is what the viewer demands.
There are glaring loopholes in the script. Every time a murder takes place, the viewer can clearly see Jas committing the crime. In fact, this is known at the very outset when the first murder takes place [Jas hangs the guy who is out to molest his sweetheart]. So, when Raj Babbar reveals the true identity of the murderer [in the pre-climax], the viewer is in a tizzy.
Another slip-up is its climax, when the identity of the killer is revealed. The identity of the person does come as a surprise, but is difficult to absorb. Even the brother-sister act, which is unfolded then, is such a compromise from the scripting point of view.
Even otherwise, there are some unwanted characters in the film. Julie's mother and the waiter are two examples. Besides, there's a heavy flow of songs, which look out of place at times, and unwarranted fight sequences, which appear forced in the narrative.
Director Darshan Bagga has executed a few sequences well, but he is letdown by the choice of subject as also the screenplay, which is old-fashioned. Anand Raaj Anand's music is a saving grace. A couple of compositions are pleasing, notable among them being 'Tumpe Marne Lage Hain Hum', 'Nazro Se Nazro Ko' and 'Jitna Bhi Karlo Pyaar'. Cinematography [Narein Gedia] is okay.
Jas Pandher shows some improvement when compared to his debut film [INDIAN BABU]. But he still needs to work on his expressions. Kanishka does an okay job. Amongst character artistes, Raj Babbar, Danny and Prem Chopra are restrained. Shakti Kapoor and Ashish Vidyarthi are loud. Saadhika sizzles and her performance is commendable. Shweta Menon is alright.
On the whole, SHIKAAR is too old-fashioned to keep the viewer's interest alive. At the box-office, the film may find some flavour at smaller centres only.