Anand Raj Anand
Iqbal Khan, Aseem Merchant, Saadhika
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
In a week when Sanjay Leela Bhansali has re-written the course of Indian cinema with "Black", suffering a flamboyant foray into fatuousness is doubly difficult.
The show, as they say, must go on. Welcome to the world of international terrorism. In our cinema, it often leads to a saga of enervating espionage. In "Bullet..." there's an underworld don who must be deported from a foreign country.
Abu Salem, anyone? Just recently Vikram Bhatt framed his espionage thriller "Elaan" around the same diabolic design. Whereas four very glamorous patriots had set out to bring back the gangster Mithun Chakraborty in "Elaan", in "Bullet..." there's just one rather inadequate secret-service guy Arjun (Iqbal Khan) whose enmity with the international gangster named Don Raja (imagine the guy at the customs trying to keep straight face as he wishes Mr Raja bon voyage) leads him all the way to the cobbled slickness of Bulgaria.
Slickness when not treated properly becomes a sickness. Efforts to bring in a kind of compelling thrill into the plot are perpetually cut down by a monstrous amateurishness that leaves us -- and the characters -- gasping for breath. Ripping off bits of newspaper headlines doesn't help. It only adds to the chaos in the plot.
Turning terrorism into a pretext for helium-loaded hi-jinks isn't a very positive way to generate interest in the audience. Director Iqbal Khan tries to create an aura akin to the James Bond flicks through the exciting location and some syncopated editing whereby the antagonist is constantly trailed through computer-generated images.
Even an eight-year old Internet student would have come up with better results.
Then there are the girls... lots of them. Regrettably, the skin thing is largely down market. The don's moll is an ex-filmstar (Saadika) who wants to squeal on her boss.
Another girl rescues Arjun from Don Raja. While fleeing they stop by at a smoky hideout and make violent love. Accompanied by Anand Raj Anand's convulsive song that sings about love being an important of life.
But lust during times of terrorism?
This, in case you must know, is a new-age thriller. The 'actors' don't seem to know or care which way the script is heading.
In the absence of any coherence, "Bullet..." goes from one level of ludicrous bang-bang rubbish to another with scarcely a pause for breath. The patriotic underbelly comprises a lunge at detonating dangerous remote-controlled bombs the villain has planted all over India to explode on India's Republic Day.
Wish our filmmakers would stop waving the flag for all the wrong reasons.