Sunday, November 02, 2003

KHEL: a game of wits (the lack thereof)/ JUNG: a war against time and an exemplar of multivariate wobbling

Ajay Jadeja and Celina Jaitley make their débuts in Khel (music review). The former plays what could have been an even more interesting character (essentially a soul who believes in and lives the spirit of human trust and kindness). The latter plays the obligatory female interest, and does what most switchovers from the modelling world do in films: provide expressions and cleavage for oglefests, pout, attempt to act (and ham as a consequence) and generally walk about being an embarassment to acting. Ajay might do well to stick to cricket for a while, unless he radically changes his choice of film. This one is a big pretentious front-bench dud made by and with people who are full of themselves and false notions about their abilities. The key culprit here is Suniel Shetty. Cavorting about in faux cool and adding shameless plugs for his fashion chain (notice the Mischief bag containing a dress he hands to Celina at one point in the film), exhibiting bad cellphone usability (held in the right hand against the left ear/held in the left hand against the right ear), wiggling a cigarette in his left hand in pseudo-rad, displaying a cover of India Today with his photograph on it, the list goes on and on. Take away all the sheen, and SS still can't act for squat. Aah, the sheen. The storyline is old hat and rendered unbelievably long. The only time the film really picks up is when Sunny Deol makes his "entry" (second-half; in a tradition that he established with Damini). He beats people up at a discotheque (and you get some X-Ray shots of the skeletons of people he bashes up). He dodges a bullet in true Matrix fashion (he is the ONE!). And then even gets to speak some solid Punjabi with Gulshan Grover. Thus, he achieves all the objectives set up to please the front-benchers and get this dull film some business.

Jung must go down in the history books for Ajay Devgan sparring with Mithun Chakraborty for screen space; for Ajay Devgan's sequences in drag; for bad bad bad dialogue; for another use of the double role that screams deus ex machina. Most of all this film must stand tall as an exemplar for the multivariate wobbling that Rambha indulges in. She reminds you of Sridevi: fatty; thunder thighs; a squeaky voice; egregious facial expressions; deafening acting. And when she begins to dance to a song, she swings the scale effortlessly from playfully seductive to a garishly horrifying image of a multithreaded boulder hurtling down at you on an incline -- and all you can do is wonder how she isn't falling apart to pieces yet!

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