Tuesday, September 14, 2004

a gift of blood [aka rakt kaa tohafaa]
Watched Sam Raimi's The Gift yesterday. Set (Brixon) and shot (Savannah, Thunderbolt, Springfield) completely in Georgia, this is a rather lukewarm unexciting tale of a psychic (Cate Blanchett) whose services are enlisted to find a missing young woman. The only merit in this film is clocking another bit of variety in Sam Raimi's ouevre. With a screenplay co-written by Billy Bob Thornton, the film accomodates a cast that is clearly qualified at playing people who can register the same level of emotion for happiness and sorrow (Blanchett, Greg Kinnear, Hilary Swank, Keanu Reeves). But there's Giovanni Ribisi who registers enough outbursts to compensate. And fans of Picket Fences will recognise Michael Jeter, and Rosemary Harris is now a familiar face thanks to Spider-Man 2. This is also your chance to catch composer Danny Elfman in a cameo as a fiddle player. The film is strangely ineffective in the thrills or the chills department. Not that I'm really concerned, though. The only reason I got this was to verify the floating hypothesis that Mahesh Manjrekar's latest "original" flick Rakht (as far as Hindi goes, I believe that's rakt, but who's bothered right? agnipath!). The evidence is evident (nice line, what?). I submit a version of the premise of Manjrekar's film, embellished with annotations from Raimi's film (italics for convenience).

Bipasha Basu (Cate Blanchett) plays a tarot card reader Drishti (get that? she can see the future! ROTFLMAO!) (Annie Wilson), who has an incredible abilty to predict future with her cards and forsee certain incidents much before they actually happen. She is a widow (likewise) with an 8-year-old boy (in the Raimi film she has three sons, but then Manjrekar clearly had budgetary reasons -- much better to have some wasteful songs and dances instead of a couple of extra child actors) .

Among Drishti's clients is Rhea (Valerie Barksdale) (Neha Dhupia) (Hilary Swank) , who is an abused wife seeking some help to find solution to her husband Sunny's (Donnie Barksdale) (Dino Morea) (Keanu Reeves -- but this is inspired casting, I say!) violent behaviour. Drishti advises Rhea to leave her husband. Her advice only angers Rhea's husband and he threatens Drishti with dire consequences if she did not stop counselling his wife.

Mohit (Buddy Cole) (Suniel Shetty) (Giovanni Ribsi) is a car mechanic, who is emotionally inclined towards Drishti. He is a slightly eccentric man because of his troubled childhood (sexual abuse by his father in the Raimi film -- wonder what it ends up being watered down to in the Manjrekar film ... probably some oldie extra whipping him with a VIP leather belt or something ... ).

Rahul (Wayne Collins) (Sanjay Dutt) (Greg Kinnear, who should sue methinks, for libel) is the principal of a school and is engaged to a beautiful woman named Natasha (Jessica King) (Amrita Arora) (Katie Holmes, vastly more beautiful than the strip-pole item number waalii) . Natasha is a fast (as in sports? intelligence? turnaround time?) girl with a sensuous demeanour (ROTFLMAO break). She is committed to Rahul (she is a relational database, yeah!). But then, she is also spotted in the embrace (embrace would be an understatement when it comes to what happens in Raimi's film) of a young man named Abhigyan (you have got to be kidding ... whose idea was this? David Duncan) (Himanshu Malik) (Gary Cole) at a party.

One night after a late party, Natasha goes missing. No one has any clue to where she is or what happened to her. Rahul seeks Drishti's help to find her.

Incidentally, the missing suffix for the complete title of Manjrekar's flick (no pun intended) is What If You Can See the Future. It will be. Yes, it will be. And yes, yours truly even noted the musical inanity of the trivia-friendly item number featuring Czech import item girl Yana Gupta (she should have stuck with the brownie points from the buffalo dance).

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