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Upperstall Review

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Naqaab

 

Hindi, Thriller, 2007, Color



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Sophia (Urvashi Sharma) is a middle class woman in Dubai nursing a traumatic past and an abusive boyfriend now thankfully in jail in Goa. She is engaged to goody two-shoes millionaire Karan (Bobby Deol). At her bachelorette party, she is told the Egyptians have a tradition where the girl must have a last dance with a stranger and she picks struggling actor, Vicky (Akshaye Khanna). Sparks fly between them and she almost kisses him at the end of the dance...Vicky begins to woo her and Sophia too feels that this out of work actor might be the right guy for her rather than boring Mr. moneybags. But Vicky has been asked to bait Sophia even if in the process he has fallen for her. All this is being captured by an unseen person on a digital camera.On her wedding day, Sophia realizes she loves Vicky and leaves Karan at the altar...



While Abbas-Mustan have more or less always based their films on others (A Kiss Before Dying (1991) - Baazigar (1993) , Sleeping with the Enemy (1991) - Daraar (1996), Consenting Adults (1992) - Ajnabee (2001), A Perfect Murder (1998) - Humraaz (2002), Disclosure (1994) - Aitraaz (2004)), they normally manage to indianise them well enough and what's more make their films pretty watchable. But it all goes horribly wrong with this absolutely awful copy of Dot the I (2003).

Naqaab and its very concept (lets just say it is about reality filmmaking) seems to be beyond the filmmaker duo's comprehension. So they have tried to play safe and stick to all the major plotpoints of Dot the I thus minimizing their deviation. However what they have failed to copy and grasp is the original's treatment which itself many critics thought tried to be too clever for its own good. In fact in Naqaab, once the big twist is revealed (and let's be fair - it's an interesting twist that does change the face of the film), rather than capitalize on it, the film enters totally absurd territory and as the makers pile on one unlikely twist after another to confound the audience, the film sinks lower and lower beyond any redemption. One is totally unsure of what the film wants to say and what it tries to be. Is it a thriller? Is it a parody? Is it a comment on modern urban life morality? Is it playing on the voyerism aspect of reality TV? Or is it a dig on celebrity culture? Truly, its been a while since one has been subjected to a film this bizarre and ridiculous.

The Indianizing and Bollywoodizing too doesn't help at all. The first half of the film which is less than an hour is bearable even if you feel a sense of deja vu as if watching Humraaz all over again. Though nothing out of the ordinary, this happens to be the better part of the film as the film flows along somewhat smoothly even if never reaching any great highs. And then we have the disastrous second half...

The script and the dialogues are inane and could have done with much, much more thought. Akshay's falling in love with Urvashi following a couple of meetings just doesn't ring true. Of course, the lack of chemistry beween the two doesn't help either to make this transition to love convincing at all. What's worse - his wooing of Urvashi with so called clever talk comes across as cheap roadside romeo dialoguebaazi rather then him displaying any charm or wit. Further, the script abounds with holes and lack of logic. Sophia actually thinks post ditching Karan at the alter in front of everyone, she should go and apologize to him and she's certain he would forgive her. Which world is she living in??? How is it also that all the films our filmmakers make with characters settled abroad, the region seems to be full of Hindi speaking Indians only?! And let's just say that according to the way the 'reality film' has been shot, its highly unlikely the final product would be such a masterpiece and win awards at each and every film festival includes Cannes.

None of the performances stand out but then to be fair, the actors don't have anything to do at all in the film. Bobby and Akshaye largely go through the motions of their Humraaz bits. Post the twist, Bobby is totally unconvincing. Urvashi Sharma, though goodlooking, looks aged, lacks freshness and still has miles and miles to go as an actress.Raj Zutshi, otherwsie a fine actor, is totally wasted. The less said about Vikas Kalantri and Vishal Malhotra's so called comic act the better.

On the technical side, there is nothing again to write home about about the camerawork which one would say is adequate at best. Dubai could have been exploited far, far better. Pritam's music is average barring the Ek Din Teri Raahon Mein number. The background score by Salim - Sulaiman is obvious and attention grabbing as usual. Editing should have been much, much tighter but then an editor can just do that much with the material given to him. The look, styling and costumes of the actors is plain awful - Bobby Deol's pink shirt of course taking the cake!

All in all, Naqaab is strictly avoidable.


Upperstall review by: Karan Bali aka TheThirdMan


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