Monday, November 9, 2009

Kidnap, or, Yeh Film Hai Awesome Nahiin

No matter what other failings of which Kidnap may stand accused, let it never be said that it made no contribution to the world. A melody so meaningful that it can only be watched, not described, arose from this B-grade suspense film. Yes, my friends, this is the song of which I speak:

That’s right, y'all. “This mausam (season or weather) is awesome.” Sure, it’s basically an excuse for Minissha Lamba to loll about in very little clothing while Imran Khan pretends to try not to watch, but hey, the depth of the lyrics excuses all the exposing. Or, you know, not.

Thankfully, that’s the lowest point of the thriller, which really isn’t all that bad. It is B-grade, but I’d still call it B+.

After a (for real) fascinating and original opening credits sequence, in which we see a young boy subjected to the horrors of incarceration, we get a song with Minissha, otherwise known as Sonia. Oh, I guess she can dance, because we see her flaunting her stuff with a bunch of other pretty young things in the street. She’s young (seventeen, bwahahahahaha—sorry) and full of the joy of life! Her mother Mallika (Vidya Malvade) is also young—young enough to have apparently given birth at the age of ten—and lives with her mom, Reema Lagoo (yay!). They argue. Mallika hates Sonia’s dad. Sonia hates Mallika for keeping her from her dad since she was “TEN YEARS OLD.” I put that in caps because apparently it is super important to the plot, since it was repeated TEN THOUSAND TIMES.

Sonia goes for a swim, because what better way to deal with a fight with your mom who never lets you have any fun, ever, because she hates you, even though you totally did not ask to be born? (I tell you, nothing relaxes me more than stripping down to almost nothing, by myself, on a public beach and then wading into pollution-ridden waters.) And then she wakes up. In a boarded-up cottage. With a guy who apparently also packed a succession of sexy outfits for her so she’d feel comfortable locked up with him.

That guy is Kabir (Imran) and he is a man on a mission. What mission, we won’t figure out till intermission. Till then, he is going to torment Sonia’s dad Vikrant (Sanjay Dutt, hooray!) with seemingly random tasks to perform which yield up equally random-seeming clues that will hopefully lead to Sonia’s recovery. Understandably, Vikrant doesn’t necessarily believe that Kabir is a man of his word and enlists the help of a detective, played to Rahul Dev (also yay!) to recover his daughter.

Along the way, we get some reconciliation between spouses, a chance to see Sanju-Baba kick some ass, and a long “homage” to the opening chase scene in Casino Royale. Also some dashes of morality spice.

Things I liked: the performances were good. Imran looked very, um, different from JTYJN, but that wasn’t a bad thing. It was fun seeing him in a more intense avatar. Sanjay Dutt keeps up with him and looks great doing it. Sonia never falls victim to Stockholm Syndrome, which is my veriest pet peeve when it comes to “hot guy kidnaps hot girl for a reason” stories. The script was actually somewhat interesting, delving into the villain’s motivations far more than an average Hindi filmi villain who is just evil—because he just is.

Things I didn’t like: meh. There's a lot of cheesecake, a semi-sexual assault, and some dumb moralizing. Really, it’s not the kind of film where I can get passionate about tearing it apart. It is what it is, and that’s fine with me. It was a decent way to spend two hours, with the exception of the mostly pointless songs. Pritam really brought his "C" game to this soundtrack, by the way, and didn't even bother ripping off interesting melodies. If you like action films and you like Hindi films, this might be an okay timepass. Failing that, you can try Sahil’s much more entertaining comic strip synopsis of the film.


  1. Yeah - I never had much of desire to watch this one...and your 'meh' review pretty much sums up why. :)

  2. I have a masochistic urge to watch this. Minissha's no Urmila when it comes to frolicking on the beach, but Imran isn't bad-looking--facially, he reminds me of someone, another actor, I believe, but I can't think of who. (Not his uncle(?) Aamir.)

  3. Seen the dvd cover and passed it up several times. The only reason I would have probably watched this was for Imran, (I liked him alot in JTYJN). HOWEVER, if I can pass my time watching ho hums like Hote Hote Pyaar Ho Gaya and Kisse Pyaar Karoon?, I may still get around do it.

  4. Welcome back to blogland :-)

    I haven't seen Kidnap..can't watch choco-boy Imraan Khan in such intense roles :D Have seen enough in LUCK!

  5. Minissha is seventeen?!! REALLY?!! She looks like she is in her late 20s (at least)! (OK, I am all exclamation pointed out. :-D)

    And Vidya Malvade played one of the hockey players in Chak De, right? Now that is what I call a bad case of premature ageing.

  6. Actually it would "Yeh film awesome nahiin" adding 'hai' is incorrect. Direct Hindi/Urdu-to-English translation does not work. Message to firang bloggers. If you don't know the language don't frickin type in it, for heavens sake. It just makes you into a negative "firang" stereotype. Same with adding Hindi/Urdu words casually in your sentences, it makes no sense, since you don't Hindi/Urdu so how would know how to use hinglish, it just looks foolish and wanna-beish (would you that if it was French no, right? Then why such with Hindustani (Hindi/Urdu)?) Even with haa.n, nahiin, dil, hai na? pyaar/mohhabbat/ishq. I always see it in such blogs .WTF?

  7. I liked Sanjay Dutt in Kidnap. Yes Vidya Malvade was too young to be playing the mom of Minisha.

    A note to Salima, instead of carrying a tirade against bloggers, it would be good if you could gently point out the correct expression so that the person can learn. I think the important thing is to appreciate non hindi/urdu speaking bloggers attempting to say something and also trying to understand their reason for doing so (some times it is a humorous reference).

  8. Filmi Girl: Yeah, I think you can safely skip this one! :-)

    lapetitediva: I don't think it's so bad as to be masochistic, which might be one of its issues. LOL Imran did look really good though--if you figure out who he resembles then come back and lmk.

    Shell: IMO it's not worth a purchase, but it's not a bad one-night viewing experience.

    Bhargav: Thanks! Yeah, I think you got the short straw in the draw between Luck and this movie. I hope I Hate Luv Stories showcases the sensitive side of Imran. :-)

    bollyviewer: In real life, she's like 22 or 23, something like that. But her face does look older, doesn't it? Yeah, Vidya Malvade did play one of the teammates--it weirded me out to see that her name was already in my tag list since I didn't recognize her at all.

    Salima: Chill, babe. It was just a goofy reference to the song "Mausam" and its chorus. Eternal gratitude for the grammar lesson, though. Be sure and let me know when you start your own blog so I can return the favor.

    Anonymous: Sanjay was really good. I don't think I talked about him enough. That scene with Minissha and he talking for the first time in eight years was pretty sweet.

  9. Ajnabi: The casting of Lamba needed a small change in the script, and that of Malvade was just senseless. I didn't dislike this at all (I mean, HELLO, it's the director of Dhoom, Kidnap truly made more sense!), but that's probably because the bits with the legal ramifications almost alluded to in the opening credits captivated me throughout, such a sucker for the theme, LOL.

    Thought Imran did better in this than in Jaane Tu, that footrace that ended up with him being Spiderman was awesome! =) And of course, doesn't hurt to have Sophie C. in the mix, does it? ;) Oh, and Sanjay's tie rack was the best I've ever seen in a Hindi film!

    'Mausam' sounds a LOT like 'Mehbooba' by Haroon Rashid of the former Pak group Awaz. But then, that's Pritam meeting expectations :D

    Salima: The purpose of language is to communicate. Regardless, 'Yeh Film Hai Awesome Nahin' is not entirely inaccurate or baseless in Hindustani speech/prose! (Emphasize the 'awesome', but that might be the not so popular glass-half-full approach at work!)


  10. The mausam song was inspired by an old Jackie Schroff (eww!) movie 'Hero' where he similarly kidnaps Meenakshi Seshadri and proceeds to ogle at her every chance he gets. Hero, unlike Kidnap was a huge success.

    Poor Imran.. I heard he has sworn off action movies now and is going back to rom-coms. He even turned down a movie with Abhay Deol because he doesn't want to 'experiment' anymore.

    ajnabi, are you planning to review Kaminey? I've been waiting to read your thoughts on it.


  11. Oh, the song from Hero I mentioned above


  12. The Bollywood Fan--you know, you're right; a couple of quick edits and a casting change would've made the film much tighter. I think I might have left out a few of its good points--good production values for one. I think your point about "emphasis on awesome" is true--I really don't regret watching it.

    Hi Neha! I don't blame Imran for swearing off the action films--they've hardly worked out for him so far. LOL Maybe in future he can carry it off though. Thanks for the link to the Hero scene; it's actually pretty cute, isn't it? I *am* going to review Kaminey. Its screencaps are leering at me from my hard drive even as I type. :-D

  13. I've been holding off on watching this film. Doesnt' really interest me...yet. Thanks for the review though. But have heard nothing reviews though.

  14. Nicki: It's not bad, I think you'd like it. But if you watch it you should probably do so for Imran. LOL


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