‘Kidnap’ an abduction thriller gone all wrong (Hindi Film Review - Rating **)

October 4th, 2008 - 4:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Film: “Kidnap”; Cast: Sanjay Dutt, Imran Khan, Minissha Lamba, Vidya Malvade; Director: Sanjay Gadhvi; Rating: **”Kidnap” is a thriller gone so wrong, you wonder if criminals in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh would believe the clumsy way Imran Khan handles the whole abduction.

But then, you can’t blame Imran. If the kidnap victim, a tycoon’s daughter with an allergy to wearing clothes, behaves like a hot temptress while being in captivity, then the hardest of criminals is bound to get confused.

Imran plays Kabeer, a guy who grows up in a rough remand home, living out the nightmare of torture and violence through sketches in the credit titles. This portion where Kabeer’s tortuous background is put forward in rapid fire movements is the most inventive part of this flat thriller.

“Kidnap” is an abduction story with no ransom. And that’s the least of its problems. Gadhvi’s screenplay goes wrong from the word go. The characters seem to function on auto-pilot. No rhyme or ransom seems to govern Kabeer’s progress from disgruntled kidnapper to a revengeful criminal to a reformed software engineer who at the end says goodbye and all the best to his kidnap victim whom he runs into in a restaurant.

If you ever wondered why crime pays, “Kidnap” tells you why. It tells potential kidnappers what not to do…Like ogle at your victim when she insists on bathing in the great big outdoors. It also tells the kidnapper not to visit his hostage’s home to find out why they aren’t picking up his threatening calls.

Yes, that’s the level of dim-witted kidnapping connivance that our kidnapper-hero is reduced to. Of course such a clumsy manoeuvre that puts to risk his entire endeavour as criminal on the run is a pretext for Gadhvi to stage the film’s classiest chase sequence between Sanjay and Imran, done in French Parkour style of outdoor action.

The songs, chase, drama and the lighter moments all get in the way of the storytelling. Kidnap is one big celebration of hurdles and obstacles created by a writer-director who had the best possible cat-and-mouse game in mind.

But somewhere along the way Gadhvi loses his way.

It’s hard to believe Gadhvi created the two ultra-chic “Dhoom” films since “Kidnap” lacks both style and substance. The characters are incredibly inept. So don’t blame the mawkish performances on the actors.

Sanjay, playing a suave billionaire, is made to break into a rival industrialist’s (Raj Zutsi) mansion to steal money. Just when you start scratching your head at the criminal’s wisdom at putting the tycoon through these perverse paces, he’s put into a fireman’s outfit squirting water into a burning prison campus.

Where did the smoke come from? Could it be the audiences fuming at being led up the garden path only to find a road block at the end of the reign-blow?

Baffling on many levels, the biggest piece in this jumbled jigsaw is the casting of Vidya as Sanjay’s wife and Reema Lagoo as her mom. Maybe they wanted to keep the family young.

Imran is just about the only bearable factor in the whole mess. He stays in character, expresses pain with more than just a grimace and scowl. His eyes search far beyond the set stage for answers to the question of human pain.

We join him in this search, wondering why “Kidnap” turns out be such an agonising journey into the doomed.

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