Anad Raaj Anand
Sanjay Dutt, Dino Morea, Sanjay Suri, Rohit Roy, Bikram Saluja, Priyanka Chopra, Sameera Reddy, Mahesh Manjrekar.
By Subhash K Jha, IANS
That not-so-subtle difference between the good gangster and bad gangster returns to haunt this otherwise free-spirited celebration of machismo, done in brooding shades of rust and black.
The bad gangster is Mahesh Manjrekar. He's lost his stutter from "Kaante", but not his swagger. This man swears by evil. And you hate him for it.
The good gangster is Sanjay Dutt. He's played the role so many times. The master of mayhem recently carried his passion for gangsterism into the arena of mirth. After "Munnabhai MBBS", no one is in the mood to watch Dutt do the deadly act seriously.
"Plan" features him as Moosabhai, a benign shooter who happens to fall into the hands of four migrant layabouts, the kind of boys the Shiv Sena probably loves to hate for hanging around the city of dreams waiting for big bucks and buxom girls to fall in their quivering laps.
Debutant Hriday Shetty knows how to put together a decent story. The film portrays Mumbai as the city of constant dreams and intermittent nightmares. Sure there're the gangsters and other irritants. But life for the four migrants Bobby (Morea), Omi (Rohit Roy), Jai (Bikram Saluja) and Lucky (Sanjay Suri) is all about chasing fantasies - the shapelier the better - and dreams - the wetter the better.
The coiling-recoiling damsels, raunchy dances and the fenzied beats (Anand Raj Anand at his horniest) suggest an ongoing orgy rather than an anguished tale of jobless migrants in Mumbai.
Though Hriday Shetty has directed the film, producer Sanjay Gupta's imprint is tangible in every frame. The sweaty ceaseless stag-party configuration of characters, the guns and the grimace... and the girls serve strictly as props to fulfil phallic fantasies.
In fact, Priyanka Chopra's part as the bar-room dancer echoes Malaika Arora in "Kaante". Except that Priyanka's dances are far less raunchy. Everything in "Plan" is scaled down as compared with "Kaante", including the viewing quality.
Like all the macho figures of Sanjay Gupta's kingdom, Dutt treats Priyanka Chopra with a sexy contempt. They make a nice pair. And I don't mean Dutt and Chopra.
Gupta's guys like the rough stuff. And hey, the chicks don't mind either!
Hence we've the soft and tender Jai, who has been betrayed in love, being set up with a hooker (Payal Rohatgi) giving the part all she's got. After the night of pleasure when Jai expresses his hurt to his friends they say: "But you had fun, na?" And Jai's exasperation melts into a sighing laughter....
The characters throb with virile joy. The four boys who helm the heretic hijinks are comfortable in one another's aimless company. However, their camaraderie lacks the violent and grim undercurrents of Nana Patekar, Madan Joshi, Arjun Chakravarty and Suhas Palsikar who, in N. Chandra's "Ankush" 20 years ago, portrayed the angst of the urban Mumbai youth with heart-lancing poignancy.
The four young dreamers in "Plan", with their new-millennium materialism and libidinous cravings, don't allow us to feel any real emotions for them. The director too deals with our young heroes with stern sterility. The bits with their parents back home, or for that matter, the "comic" (ha ha) impersonations of Dilip Kumar, Shatrughan Sinha and Shah Rukh Khan are meant to be speed breakers in a seriously wacky satire on the go-getting spirit.
"Plan" isn't half as unlikeable as some of the other films on the theme of the gangster and the city. What it lacks, and lacks sorely, is a seriousness of intent.
Comedies can be subtexted with a bedrock of thought provoking ideas. "Munnabhai" had it. "Plan" doesn't.
It creates a bubbly but barren universe of merrymaking mayhem where men play Russian roulette to while away their time while the women cavort in sensuous postures in the foreground.
The words these strictly non-intellectual souls exchange are often quite funny. But you can't help wondering what they say to themselves when they're all alone. Not one character in a single shot gets the chance to sit back and look deep into Basha Lal's keen camera.
"Plan" is all about harmless banter and innocuous violence. The performances match the mood of castrated mayhem. Among the four young heroes, Dino Morea is a natural blown scene stealer as the wannabe Bachchan. But the way he gets his first role by getting his mentor Moosa to threaten a producer - and we're supposed to laugh at this outrageous arm twisting - is symptomatic of the seriously ruptured moral values that this film represents.
Sameera Reddy is unintentionally funny in her walk-on part as the go-getting actress who walks in and out of closed rooms with a sleazy producer. The casting couch lives, and so do the Sameeras of show world.
Sanjay Dutt looks bone-weary. Maybe after "Munnabhai" he has exorcised all the anti-social blood in his performing veins. Maybe Moosa is too residual for him to enjoy. Or maybe we've seen him do too many variations on the Moosabhai image to get swayed by the booming sound of virile guns blazing across the attractively packaged skyline.
"Plan" is one of those films that leave us neither cold nor warmed. Its appeal lies more in its lack of ambition than in any real achievement.
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