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 Kismat
Director :
Music :
Starring :
 Guddu Dhanoa
 Anand Raaj Anand
 Bobby Deol, Priyanka Chopra, Kabir Bedi, Ashish Vidyarthi, Mohan Joshi.

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS


Watch out, here comes Gone With The Wind-shield! Instead of counting sheep, someone should count the number of times junior artistes crash through windshields of skidding cars in this orgy of crunching bones (the villain's) and gritting teeth (ours).

Like its antiquated title, "Kismat" harks back to a long-gone era and style of filmmaking.

In the classic all-time hit "Kismet" in the 1940s, Ashok Kumar played a "loveable" pickpocket who befriends a dancer-singer and reforms for love.

Cut to the new-age "Kismat" where Bobby Deol (who certainly deserves better) plays a "loveable" hoodlum who beats up guys for extortionist Ashish Vidyarthi (who's a contortionist's nightmare).

During off-hours, Tony (Deol) courts and dreams about dancer Sapna (Priyanka Chopra) who gyrates before hundreds of panting spectators not for money, not for love but only to make optimum use of Anand Raj Anand's frenzied bhangra-pop beats.

But we must be grateful for the cavorting cacophony.

Anand's music is so awful you wonder if it's meant to be the siren's songs or our siren to drive us out of the theatre before we suffer from terminal dementia.

Though "Kismat" mentions Guddu Dhanoa's name in the director's slot, most of the film seems to be directed by the action director.

The film discovers spectacular methods of torture. In one prolonged scene, the hero's face is repeatedly dunked into a pool of water and then his feet pounded by a hammer.

After sitting through "Kismat" we know exactly how that feels.

Abbas Ali Moghul has gone to town devising different ways of exploding cars and of course crashing squirmy guys through windshields which crumble on impact -- like Robin Bhatt and Sutanu Gupta's screenplay.
What were these guys thinking when they wrote this rude and barbaric homage to the cinema of Manmohan Desai.

Long-lost kids?? Hooligans with hearts of gold??? Villains who snort and smirk so hard you fear for their cosmetic surgeon???? Nah, get outta here! No filmmaker can be audacious enough to pull all these perversely archaic punches on today's savvy audiences.

To be fair to this ode to anarchic entertainment, some portions towards the end when the hero takes on the arch-villain (Kabir Bedi) by using the latter's son (Emran Khan) as a pawn, are engrossing. The climactic song sequence is stylishly shot by cinematographer Shripad Natu.

But the film's main drama about the heroine's innocent and upright father's (Mohan Joshi) damnation by the devil's brigade is deliberately debilitated by the director's ham-fisted vision of popular entertainment.

Bobby Deol's personality lends itself well to the cult of brooding brawn, popularised earlier by his father Dharmendra and brother Sunny Deol. There's no harm in the young actor's efforts to tread in the same path, especially since he does it so effectively. But surely a director like Guddu Dhanoa needs to devise material that would take Bobby further down the road of machismo rather than back to earlier decades.

The whole episode about Bobby "protecting" the Fallen Woman from self-serving mobs echoes Dharmendra in "Phool Aur Pathar" and Sunny Deol in "Narasimha". But the brawn is blatantly bland here.

Reasonably accomplished actors like Ashish Vidyarthi, Kabir Bedi and Sanjay Narvekar (playing the hero's comic sidekick for the zillionth time with simulated zeal) mouth their improbable lines like characters in a radio play on how to crash through windshields while somersaulting over a mountain of revolting cliches.

Bobby Deol, in what is technically the author-backed role (though you aren't really sure what the author is backing), has got himself a new chic haircut. If only he could get himself better scripts and directors, not to mention dress designers and choreographers!

Priyanka Chopra as the Fallen Woman hits all the 'falls' notes. Along with the film, she falls really hard.


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