Dienstag, 28. August 2007

Amaanat (1994) - Review in English

About the story: Bus driver Vijay (Sanjay Dutt) lives in a small village which suffers from a persistent drought. The villagers’ only hope are well-filled wells of thakur Lankeshwar (Kiran Kumar), but the thakur will give them water only on the condition that they in return sell their land properties to him. Vijay accepts this condition and thus secures water supply to the village for one month. Then he takes all his savings and goes to Bombay in order to buy a tube well for the village. But as soon as he arrives there, his entire money is stolen. Shortly thereafter, Vijay saves a man’s life; it is Amar (Akshay Kumar), a thief who recognizes Vijay as the man whom he had stolen the money bag. Without telling Vijay the truth, Amar invites him to stay in his flat, and they become friends. Vijay gets a job at the rich Agarwal Seth’s (Mukesh Khanna) and works hard, but he runs out of time – the villagers are dying of thirst, while Lankeshwar, his brother Rajeshwar (Kiran Kumar) and Agarwal’s spoilt son Niranjan (Gulshan Grover) already decide about what’s going to happen with their land...

"He’s an angel" is the villagers’ opinion about Vijay right from the beginning, and that’s no exaggeration as Vijay indeed is almost too good for this world. A thoroughly altruistic man with a big heart which knows to forgive – up to a certain point, of course. In Amaanat (= belongings), Sanjay for a change embodies the hundred per cent nice guy again, and to play against this positive hero and that, moreover, as the thief who is the reason for his plight, was practically a suicide commando. But for once, Sanjay really was favoured by fortune concerning his male opponent: Akshay Kumar turns on his charm from the very beginning, never gives reason for doubt that he too is basically a nice guy, and his remorse about being responsible for Vijay’s and a whole village’s pain propitiates the viewers. Akshay and Sanjay harmonize splendidly from the first till the last second – too bad that up to now Amaanat remained the only film starring them together.

Apart from Sanjay and Akshay, all the others fade to minor characters even though e.g. Amar’s neighbourhood features some very lovable figures. The ladies are far away from carrying the story’s main burden; Hera Rajgopal as Gita got the best deal of them as she, supported by Vijay and Amar, may play her prank on the arrogant millionaire’s son Niranjan, while Kanchan as Vijay’s sister Radha is not very much more than a beautiful prop. And Farheen as Bijli who is in love with Vijay would have been totally wasted, were it not for her large dance clip towards the end (the music of which remarkably reminding of "Choli Ke Peeche" in Khalnayak) and her rememberable exit. Too bad, for all three ladies are charming and I would have liked to see more from them. On the other hand Kiran Kumar definitely plays one role too much; at least there is no dramaturgic reason for his double role as it nowhere in the story is necessary that the thakur has a lookalike brother.

Amaanat is a lovely, heart-warming story, a mixture of funny, sentimental and thrilling moments with its share of action scenes. And even after so many movies, Sanju still is able to spring surprises: Not only that, after in Khalnayak, he again sports a ponytail (!), he also presents his hip swing in no less than five long dance clips. I repeat: five! Within one single film, this might be his personal all-time-record. Chapeau, Sanju! ;)

Produced by Romu N. Sippy; Directed by Raj Sippy
152 Min.; DVD: Samrat, English Subtitles (including songs); very vague focus
© Diwali

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