Saturday, August 01, 2009

the origins of a tribute to armaan kohli?

Unknown [May 06, 2007]: There were two reasons I can think of that made me sit and watch Unknown, when a friend had unearthed the film. The first was that it was, for me, just like the title said (I hadn't heard of it, dummy). The second was that it had Jim "They Call Me Jesus" Caviezel. It seemed like a good thing to find out what else he had been in before he was crucified forever. The film's premise was interesting: a few men wake up in a warehouse with no memory of who they are and what has brought them here. If you wanted a high concept version, think Reservoir Dogs meets Memento meets The Usual Suspects. Things are reasonably engaging but there are plot holes that might compete with the Grand Canyon. There's also a certain ebb in the pace at times. However, given that this was a relatively minor flick, there was no hype to damage my reaction and define expectations for me. It also turned out that Caviezel was not the only familiar name on the roster -- one also had Greg Kinnear, Joe Pantoliano and Peter Stormare.

[the present] Perhaps what kept me from writing about this film two years ago was someone like the Traveller, who whispered into my ear telling me that I wasn't alone in having seen this minor flick. There was another way of describing this film for the high concept crowd: Think Kaante with a twist. Woo hoo! Lo! After having received a tenured position at Sanjay Gupta Cine-Copiers LLC with the variegated Ek Khiladi Ek Hasina, Suparn Varma announced his next directorial venture -- a film called Acid Factory. As a title, this fit the kind of stuff Sanjay Gupta blessed. The teaser trailer sports the familiar tropes of the Gupta school of filmmaking -- leather-clad alpha male figures, chases, automobile crash ballets with pirouettes to put the worst Bollywood physics to shame. But it's the premise -- something that is hardly evident in the teaser -- that gives it all away:

[from the official page]
Acid Factory is about a group of characters whose sense of past has vanished in a haze of coma like sleep they have woken up from only to discover that reality could be a figment of their imagination.
Five men wake up inside the stolid confines of a factory to find themselves locked in this claustrophobic nowhere land.

The page continues to reveal more plot details than you would like to know, if you were planning to watch Unknown. But if it's a Bolly-flick you are interested in, plot hardly matters. You're in it for the obeisance to testosterone, for the objectification of the female form, for the coolness of moronic utterances, for the cheap version of a Michael Bay soundscape. The warehouse becomes the titular entity, while Moynahan becomes Mirza in what looks like another unholy ripoff. It's the 21st century and for every No Smoking, Johnny Gaddaar, 15 Park Avenue, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi and Dil Dosti, Etc, we still get stuff like this on which star power, cash and kind are showered. Time to return to Streets of Fire ... oops Tezaab. Oh well. Perhaps that old Armaan Kohli classic then. Here are a few tablets to revive your memory, O lover of Bollycrap: hamanashii.n, mai.n kaun huu.N and kitanaa pyaar tumhe.n karate hai.n

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