Cast: Salman Khan,Ayesha Takia,Prakash Raj,Mahesh Manjrekar
Storyline: A triggerhappygangstergoes on a shootingspree, messes withcops andgangsters, whenhe's not up to songand dance.
Bottomline: A slick,knock-outdishoom-dishoomflick
When globalisation andcable TV came to India,the cinemas of theNorth and the Southreacted in contrasting ways.While Hindi cinema shiftedcamp to Switzerland and begancatering to an NRI audienceoutside India, Tamiland Telugu cinema took tothe streets and unleashedmachismo in all its chauvinisticglory, almost spitefulof womenfolk who abandonedthe cinemas after theirnewfound addiction to soapson TV.
Cinema down South cateredto the people who visitedmovie halls to whistle. Peopleneeded a hero they couldworship, a demi-god whowould provide release totheir pent up frustrationsand gratify their macho fantasiesof taking on the badguys, with or without thehelp of the system.Wanted is exactly the kindof film hero-worshippers upNorth have missed and desperatelywanted in years.
After nearly 15 years, thecinemas of the North and theSouth that drifted apart havecome together, thanks to thereturn of the action hero, thedishoom-dishoom type, inmainstream Hindi films, agenre that remained almostexclusive to Akshay "Khiladi"Kumar, Suniel Shetty,Ajay Devgan and Sunny Deolin the Nineties.
Full credit to Murugadoss(for Ghajini) and now Prabhudevawho have succeededin packaging these mindlessaction entertainers for amodern audience by playingaround with form (Sample:that beautifully shot actionsequence in strobe light).Thanks to technical slickness,style and stylisation,the kind of film that was onceconsidered fit only for standalonesingle screens hasmade a smooth transition intomultiplexes too.
Pokkiri seems to be theperfect script for SalmanKhan, one that further channelshis brash, arrogant andeven violent bad boy image toits advantage, and the 'LastAction Hero' tag does notseem to be baseless either.Let's face it, the new bratpackof boys, be it Ranbir orImran or Shahid or Neil, areway too 'Chikna' to be takenseriously as action heroesand the slightly senior AbhishekBachchan, John Abrahamand Hrithik Roshan arecontent playing roles that requiresophistication. Therest are happy doing comediesand the senior Khans showup in carefully chosen filmsonce or twice a year.
Imagine the star-vationand the craving for the goodold fashioned hero to returnand beat the baddies to pulpwith bare hands with none ofthose Hollywood-inspiredSanjay Gupta-ish gun-fightsequences where the heroesseem more concerned abouttheir wardrobe, shades andstyling than getting theirknuckles bloody.
Salman Khan is the epitomeof brawn over brain andso when he says:
"Ek Baar Jo Maine CommitmentKar Diya, UskeBaad, Main Apni Bhi NahinSunta" (Once I have made acommitment, I don't evenlisten to myself) the crowd isdelighted with the mindlessnessof the genre.
It takes a cool-cat tomouth these punch-lines beforedelivering those punchesand Salman says it like hewas born to do a role like this.What attitude, boss.
It's a delight to watch thegood old Khan find his formin this formula film that celebratesthe return of the actionhero and takes on thedeadliest of villains. This filmseriously packs the most interestingcaricature villainswe have seen in Hindi cinemain a long time, and bothPrakash Raj and MaheshManjrekar revel in theseroles, relishing the deliciouslyevil parts they've got tosink their teeth into.
The gorgeous Ayesha Takiais a perfect foil to Salman,and do watch out for thescene in the lift to sampletheir chemistry. VinodKhanna packs in a nice cameoand Prabhudeva doeswell to keep the suspense intact.
Also, keep an eye out forthe crowd-pleaser cameoswith Anil Kapoor, Govindaand Prabhudeva himself.Paisa-vasool!