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Crouching Antara, Hidden Vivek
Oct 02, 2002 09:26 PM 3813 Views
(Updated Nov 20, 2002 05:27 PM)





Belt up for a thrilling ride and whoosh right into the main premise. No time wasted in establishing characters. Before you know it you are cruising top–speed well into the thick of the plot.

A runaway couple (Antara Mali-Vivek Oberoi), elope to defy the girls police commissioner dad (mercifully off screen altogether, I was expecting Alok Nath to appear any moment)

Very much in love, caring a damn (ably portrayed by the first two crisply edited songs), they are zipping down to his palace somewhere in Rajasthan.

Enter hitchhiker Manoj Bajpai, to upset the applecart. At first he amuses, then irks, then is overbearing, within minutes the couple realizes that he is unhinged, but by then its too late, he has chucked Vivek out of the car, leaving him to paddle his own canoe and is lusty for Antara.

Come hell or high water, Bajpai wants her. Hereafter, begins a cat and mouse game between Antara and Bajpai, while Vivek is mostly out of the picture left running on an empty road.

A plot as wafer thin as this is thankfully not padded up with subplots. But unfortunately loonies emerge out of the blue and disappear as quickly (Vijay Raaz, Rajpal Yadav, Sayaji Shinde, Raj Zutshi all criminally wasted).


The downside (there are many)

A snazzy beginning later the ride sputters, and halts, in the middle. Forlorn, you watch this movie skid and bite the dust. Often the film falters, slackens in pace, till it runs amuck and finally out of steam. At times, the road reaches infuriating dead ends. Thrills added merely with the intention of thrilling without relevance to the plot becomes a case of the tail wagging the dog

And why those silly cracks on Devdas? Its rather forced and not even remotely funny. The movie needs trimming, all post interval songs done away with, especially the fat man and hot girl song. Why stick to the 2-3 hour format, when your point can be put across in lesser time.


On the plus side (few and far between)

No shaadee/karva chauths, no parent/assorted relatives standing linearly, singing wedding songs. Thankfully, director Rajat Mukherjee refuses to go by the moth eaten books of Hindi film making.

This Road is stark, without any of the usual box-office trappings. Smart brand promotion of Tata Safari, unlike the ill-placed, in your face promotions in Yaadein. Subhash Ghai, learn.

Racy, rocky music by Sandesh Shandilya, speedy vocals by my favorite Sunidhi Chauhan (Samundar saa josh hai hum mein / Raste raste) The welcome use of Gary Lawyer's haunting voice (Title song).

The zany camerawork crashes, speeds, runs with the movie and at times literally caresses the tarmac, the sand, the dents on vehicles, the bends of the road, and the curves on Antara. The background music demands attention, so do the action scenes and the razor sharp editing.



Manoj Bajpai is not in his best bib and tucker here, but competent as always. However, the character Babu is rather one-dimensional, which hardened criminal is such a lovelorn majnu? Implausible, but lets not dwell on that. Its human nature, can’t be generalized. His dream sequence will have you screaming for an encore. He also steals the punchiest of lines.

Though Vivek Oberoi is gratefully not the usual mutton shop impersonating as an actor, his is the least challenging of the three lead roles.

Antara’s character needed Urmila Matondkar desperately (the look, costumes, attitude, dances are Urmila all the way) and what we have instead is a smudged carbon copy. She was efficient indeed, but I sorely missed Urmila.


By no means substandard effort, at least its refreshingly different.

The movie does blaze a trail, deserves a dekko.

Abandon the Swiss Alps

Rush out of the wedding ceremonies

Zoom away from the dostis

Go hit the Road!



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