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WHY DO cops in Bollywood films chew gum all the time or incessantly smoke cigarettes? Or why do the smart, invincible ones walk around in mufti? And why do the good guys have to be so self-righteous and give speeches on secularism and patriotism? But never mind — these are things one will always wonder about the quintessential Bollywood film.

Some things just don't change — the tone or the tenor. What has changed, however, is that these films are made with excellent production values and has some really good performers to carry off all the clichés and sentiments.

K Subhaash's "Insan" is corny, but well made. It has all the essential elements meant to earn the front benchers's applause. Amjad (Akshaye Kumar) is an auto driver with a rough exterior and a heart of gold. While he gives courage to aspiring film aspirants he is not the perfect man for Heena (Esha Deol), whose mother nurses ambitious plans of marrying her off to one of those rich guys from the Middle East. Of course Heena loves her honest autorickshaw driver.

Ajit Rathore (Ajay Devgan) is this cool cop who strides around menacingly, chewing gum and blowing the rotten fruits in society to smithereens. He won' t try reasoning with any criminal. Just shoots them and is completely nationalistic. Which is why he will not succumb to pressure to release Masud, a terrorist leader. Seeking to get him out of jail are his followers chiefly Azhar (Rahul Dev) a melancholy, ruthless man who walks around with a blade in hand. Comes handy when people cross his path! Azhar is out to get India. He also happens to be the simple Amjad's brother, lost in the Gujarat riots and has not been in touch with the family who thinks he is probably dead. When they do meet, the film is half way through, having established the main characters and their motives.

There are several sub plots. Ajay Devgan, despite all the pitfalls in his characterisation, does a good job. Akshaye Kumar has a natural flair for comedy and like in "Khakee," does a fantastic job as Amjad.

Esha Deol has an effervescent presence that makes her likable despite the silliness of the characterisation, while Lara Dutta never seems to get a role to prove that she can act.

Most of the music (Himesh Reshammiya), songs and background scores, don't stay in memory except "Chunari Chunari" which is catchy in melody and in its picturisation. If you don't look for a logical or plausible story line, "Insan" makes for good viewing.


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