There are times when an oft-repeated story gets a major push thanks to taut storytelling. But there are also instances when an interesting story loses its sheen due to inept handling.
Padam Kumar's SUPARI belongs to the second category!
Easy money was what Aryan [Uday Chopra] Papad [Rahul Dev], Chicken [Purab Kohli] and Mushy [Akash Saigal] wanted. And the one person who showed them the easiest way to make all their dreams come true was Mamta Sekhri [Nandita Das].
Aryan and his friends place a heavy sum of money on a bet. And lose. It was money they didn't have in the first place. A hapless Aryan turns to Pandit, the 'paanwallah' who had helped them place the bet. Enters Mamta Sekhri at this juncture.
The mysterious Mamta makes a deep impact on Aryan. She offers him a gun and a photograph for a contract murder (supari). Thus begins the journey of their transformation and a step towards realisation of their dreams.
The boys begin to enjoy the power. Misusing it becomes easy till Mamta tightens the strings. Aryan loses his best friend Chicken. Dilnawaz [Nauheed Cyrusi], Aryan's girlfriend, gets shot by the rival gang's bullet that was actually meant for him.
Now Aryan wants to get out of it and the only person who can help him with that is Mamta. Aryan's guilt of putting his friends into this whole mess, which they can't get out of or don't want to get out of, drives the film to its climax.
Although a number of films on the darker side of society [underworld] have been attempted in the past, this one tackles an angle that hasn't been attempted before ï¿½ how a bunch of college students get lured to the world of crime.
But, unfortunately, the film does not come across as a hard-hitting statement mainly because ï¿½
One, the screenplay has several loose ends and a few pertinent questions are left unanswered.
Two, director Padam Kumar's storytelling lacks the punch to keep the viewer on tenterhooks, so vital for this genre.
The biggest culprit here is its faulty screenplay. It starts off pretty well, but as it progresess, it runs out of fuel.
To start with, the viewer gets an impression that the law of the jungle prevails in the city, with bullets flying left, right and centre, with everyone on a killing spree. The four youngsters go on a killing spree in broad daylight in streets, hospital, marketï¿½ there is complete lawlessness, with no sign of a cop anywhere. The law and order situation is worse in this city than anywhere in the world, seems like!
The second fault lies in the faulty characterisations. For instance, Nandita Das is supposed to be a don, but she lacks the ruthlessness that the character demands? Also, why does she develop a soft spot for Uday Chopra, remains a mystery. Even her relationship with Irrfan Khan is not too well defined.
Even in the end, when Nandita realises that Uday has come to eliminate her, why does she provoke him against her own self? And why does she surrender herself so easily? That only adds to the confusion.
The love angle between Uday Chopra ï¿½ Nauheed Cyrusi and Rahul Dev ï¿½ Nisha Arora has been given a raw deal by the writers [Padam Kumar, Mushtaq Sheikh, Anuradha Tiwari]. There should've been some tender moments between the lovers so as to depict the more humane side of the boys.
Besides, the screenplay leaves a few things unexplained, like ï¿½
* What is the relevance of the pregnant woman in the film?
* How do the boys agree instantly to kill people to clear off the debt? Under normal circumstances, a lot of thought would go into it if anyone were to take such an extreme step.
* Timid-natured Purab believes in the right path, he's the guy with a conscience, but why does he agree to become a partner in crime is equally confusing.
The only redeeming aspect is a bunch of well-executed sequences, like Purab Kohli eliminating himself or a bullet hitting Nauheed. But a handful of scenes cannot undo the harm inflicted by a slipshod screenplay.
Director Padam Kumar tries hard to make a statement that crime doesn't pay and that those who live by the gun, die by the gun, but the film gets too talk-heavy at places and also gives an impression of preaching. In the climax as well, there's very heavy sermonising.
Although there's not much scope for music in a film like this, the two songs [Vishal ï¿½ Shekhar] ï¿½ 'Tere Ishq Mein' and 'Chand Chahiye' ï¿½ stand out. The picturisation of the latter is simply fantastic.
Dialogue Sutapa Sikdar; addl. dialogue: Atul Sabharwal] are excellent. Action [Ram Shetty] gives the feeling of seen-it-before. There's nothing novel about it.
Uday Chopra does a decent job. Rahul Dev doesn't look like a college student. Yet, he does emote well. Purab Kohli is a complete natural. Akash Saigal is a surprise, belting out a performance that's bound to be noticed.
Nandita Das conveys a lot through her expressive eyes and that's where she scores. Her get-up is equally impressive. Nauheed Cyrusi and Nisha Arora fail to impress. Irrfan Khan is terribly wasted. Any lesser actor could've enacted the role of a sidekick.
On the whole, SUPARI does not deliver what one expects from it. When compared to films of this genre [SATYA, VAASTAV, COMPANY], SUPARI pales considerably.