Rating : ***
It's fair to say that the Abbas-Mastan duo have made a comeback with RACE. I also feel they are two of the most under-rated directors of Bollywood. On the other hand, below average talent like the mushy-mushy Karan Johar, the over the top Mahesh Bhatt, the pretentious Leela Bansali guy are highly highly over rated snobs of the Bombay Movie business today.
I almost intuitively decided to watch Race. I had not heard of it or read about it. We were at a Show place nearby yesterday and saw that Race was on the list of Movies. I did not know it was a Hindi movie. I inquired at Box counter and found that out. Almost instinctively i bought the tickets. And boy! i was happy i did that.
There was the trade mark Abbas-Mastan foot print across the celluloid. Abbas-Mastan are so meant-to-be guys for typical Hindi movie thrillers. They should stick to that genre. They know the right movements to sprinkle comic scenes and where to raise the "shock and awe" movements. Like in Baazigar, which i thought was ahead of it's time. (Now i cannot watch Baazigar again, but in 1993 the notion of anti-hero was not REAL)
There's only one scene of Johnny Lever in the movie, who appears in a "guest role" (times have changed or what?); but that scene totally cracked me up.
The three heroes, or i may say anti-Heroes of the movie, Saif,Akshaye and Anil Kapoor have done well. But more surprisingly the supposedly bimbo models Bipasha, Katrina and Sameera Reddy (all 5'8" +) have not done bad for themselves either. Tells us that if the directors are good, even plastic dolls can be made to have expression.
The high point of the movie is the presentation of South Africa, the Location. Bollywood is really going out of the way to promote tourism of other countries, isn't it? But South Africa came out as great locale to shoot a movie i thought. It was unique as far as i am concerned.
All in all, the convoluted plot, where not one can character can be trusted helps keep the interest alive in the movie. You never know who is going to back stab. But again, the problem with Hindi movies is they don't know where to stop. I thought the movie was 25 minutes too long for my liking. There was a point where i was like "enough surprises already !"
I like thrillers so i am a little biased. I thought Shammi Kapoor's Teesri Manzil was a classic. Not sure many would agree. But so be it. Abbas-Mastan made this movie with all honesty. And that came out. They were lavish in their presentation. They can be accused of going over board but who cares if it's a paisa vasool movie in the end.
The music was Racy, the one liners were quick-witted and good, the comedy as you would expect from Abbas-Mastan was good too, and all the characters were polished and presented well. Made for a good weekend tamasha movie. I would recommend it for sure.
Presentation : 4/5
Script : 2/5
Style : 4/5
Comedy : 3/5
Overall Feeling : Good
Post Script: This was the first time i actually saw a Brawl in movie theater in USA. No marks for guessing that the parties involved were young college going local Desi crowd. Almost made me remember hostel days in a small town.