By Sameer Wadekar, Bollywood Trade News Network
Well, the rumors that Milan Luthria's TAXI NO 9211 bears resemblance to the Tom Cruise-Jamie Foxx starrer COLLATERAL have been dispelled. The film on the contrary is one helluva joy ride that is plentiful in action and humor. The movie however is targeted at the multiplex audience and is basically Mumbaiya in its texture. The slick execution and perfect characterization makes it a treat to watch!
TAXI NO 9211 is a story of Raghav Shastri (Nana Patekar) and Jai Mittal (John Abraham) who meet up one fine day and their collision sparks off the tumultuous events that change their lives forever. Raghav is a cabbie, who is an insurance agent for the world, and Jai Mittal is a spoilt brat who is an heir to a wealthy businessman, is desperate to seek claim in the court to his father's property. Raghav is a hot tempered, skeptical cabbie while Jai is a suave but stubborn man who is willing to trade any path to get hands on his familial wealth by challenging his father's will in the court. If he fails, all the estate will be bestowed on the father's trusted supporter Mr. Bajaj.
Raghav gets hold of the key, which is the sole decider of Jai's fate. The key is of the locker where the will is kept and at any cost Jai wants that key. But Raghav has other plans and thus begins the appalling feud between the two 'gentlemen' that forms the rest of the story. Of course, the film ends on a happy note but not before stirring a healthy dose of action and some straight-in-the-face humor.
The performances are first-rate. Nana as usual is the stand out enthraller who so effortlessly essays the raucous but sensitive cab driver Raghav Shastri. His funny one-liners and witty sarcasm is 'paisa vasool' stuff for the audience. He once again proves that he is one of the extremely talented actors in Bollywood. Sonali Kulkarni as his wife is rational and shares a fine chemistry with the mercurial actor. Sonali, unfortunately, has been underrated so far and one hopes that Bollywood would offer her more opportunities that can justify her talent.
John Abraham as the sophisticated son-of-a-rich man is influential. He is controlled and credible with an impressive stand-in. He has got a good comic timing and has fleshed out the role excellently. Sameera Reddy as his girlfriend does not have a wide scope in the film but conveys herself well within the available range.
The action sequences are the highlight of this film. Abbas Ali Moghul has competently designed the stunts and the chase sequences, especially the one where a speeding train dashes off Nana's cab; it is superbly done and deserves accolades! The cinematography by Kartik Vijay captures the mood of the film with finesse. He has tapped the feel and the pace of Mumbai with remarkable accomplishment and is crucial for the movie's realistic tempo. The script by Rajat Arora is impeccable and one cannot easily pick out the minus points in his work. Here is a writer who shows some promise and one could expect him to continue his good work in the future.
The music of the film sets the mood for the film. Vishal-Shekhar have done a brilliant job here. The theme song 'Bambai Nagariya' sung by Bappi Lahiri compliments and synchronizes with the film's story and is funky to say the least. Equally rocking is Adnan Sami's 'Meter Down' that has some smart lyrics and catchy tune. The other songs also fit in well with the flow.
Milan Luthria has done an astounding job as a director. It won't be wrong to say that he has canned his perfect 'take' so far and it should fetch him a place in the big league. He had displayed his potential with KACHCHE DHAAGE and DEEWAR-LET'S BRING HOME OUR HEROES, but with TAXI NO 9211 Milan has excelled in every department. His technical expertise comes to the fore with TAXI and it shows that he has taken a lot of efforts as far as the execution of the story is concerned. He has thoroughly maintained the continuity of the film and paces it decently.
And for those who are thinking that this might be just another buddy guy movie, think again. The movie is not just about 'masti' and 'mazaak', but incorporates a solid blend of emotions and relationships. It is interspersed with a lot of humor that is more situational and not contrived. The film juxtaposes the melancholy and problems of the two levels of society in a believable manner and does not necessarily discriminate. The film in the end leaves the audience to introspect, but only after entertaining them whole-heartedly!