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ONE WOULD think that having good actors like Om Puri, Ashutosh Rana and Milind Gunaji would make a good film! Add to that list Ashish Vidyarthi, Sayaji Shinde and Aloknath. What a wealth of talent. Well it could have been a meaningful film if it did not go the "Gaddar" way.

If in "Gaddar" patriotism and courage were taken to unrealistic lengths, here gangsters' love for the nation and a passion to eliminate anti-social elements from a deeply corrupted society are given the usual, clichéd touches.

The underworld and scheming politicians have always made good celluloid material, "Satya" is an example. The lingo, that of the underworld, was well put to use by terrific actors giving the characters an eerie realism. Rukamanee Arts' "Ansh" could have made it if it did not resort to obvious violence, platitudes and self-righteous statements - though in spirit they are warranted.

The story is rather complicated with many twists and turns, with plots and sub-plots leaving the viewer rather tired at the end of it all.

In its simplest form it involves the courage and fighting spirit of DCP Bhagat Singh Pandey (Om Puri), Inspector Sukhdev Singh (Ashutosh Rana) and young Raj Guru (Abbas), who is forced into the underworld due to circumstances. All three of them - honest, upright and utterly loyal to their country want to eliminate goondaism and corruption that is rampant among the politicians and the underworld gangs who play in the wheeling and dealings of the so-called guardians of the country. Their reach is phenomenal and they can get any officer transferred should he impede their nefarious activities. Of course it is not so easy to do that without heartaches and plenty of deaths in the form of shoot-outs and plunder. With each eye for an eye, the scene gets murkier and murkier with all of them cornered into taking drastic action.

The climax is highly sentimental with images of martyrs, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Singh and a loud musical score that draws on many patriotic numbers including `Sare Jahan Se Achha". Something one has to see if there is any inclination.

In all this crass commercialism, there are some redeeming features - for instance, rather good performances despite the limited canvas each character has - not forgetting earlier presentations of this genre of films.

Om Puri's creditable, despite his problem of fighting the entire rotten bunch almost single-handedly and remaining cool and calm at the end of it all. Ashutosh Rana for a change plays a good cop wrongly convicted with a fair amount of maturity. As for Abbas, he got really lucky to be on par with such good actors role-wise and does a good job. Quite a deviation from his lover boy image.

All the mean guys do what the director has expected of them- right from the crude language to their overall appearance - the prototypes that have been seen so often.

The dialogues are actually quite pithy in parts and if they did digress into the realm of melodrama it probably was intentional. The music by Nadeem Shravan is completely forgettable just as the background score, which loomed all over adding to the fire and din of gunshots and loud conversations. Written and directed by Rajan Johri the film does have some points to ponder over, so what if it is a pot boiler of sorts?


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