About the story: Little Raja grows up with his crippled foster father Bheema (Om Puri) who forces him to deal with illegal booze. That’s why the teacher doesn’t grant Raja access to the education Raja desires so much. Many years later Raja (Mithun Chakraborty) has secured his place in the local booze trade, flirts with pretty Vidya (Madhuri Dixit) and apart from that has no illusions about life. One day he makes a friend with young Suraj Verma (Sanjay Dutt), a friendship which still continues to last when Suraj starts his career as police inspector and declares war to every illegal booze trade. Only when Suraj recognizes Raja’s foster father as the man who once together with some masked men has murdered his father, inspector Dharam Verma (Dharmendra), this friendship breaks as Raja believes Bheema (who denies every participance in the murder) and accuses Suraj to be a liar. When, according to that, Bheema seemingly is killed by the police, Raja starts working for the mighty gangster Nagar (Amrish Puri) whom Suraj long ago has challenged openly. For Raja has now only one ambition: to destroy Suraj...
Once again Sanjay in his early years had be content with the second fiddle. The first one belonged to Mithun who not only had the more interesting character to play (only his permanent dog line gets to the nerves) but also got five music clips, among them three big dance numbers. And Sanjay? Not one. In Mithun’s first dance number he just has to watch him, in the third one he may shoo across the frame two or three times. Not even the moment when Suraj and his colleague Neha (Amrita Singh) fall in love with each other is used for a little dance, while Raja and Vidya may express their love dancing extendedly. (Yes, this time it is Mithun who gets Madhuri, not Sanjay.) By the way, Madhuri is prettily wasted in this film; she upgrades Ganesha and Holi celebrations with her dancing skills and has some nice (plus one very touching) scenes with Mithun, but that’s it.
By the way, I consider it possible that it was, among others, this film which inspired Sanju to change his looks and to start his legendary hair-style experiments. With his Paul McCartney haircut he simply looked too nice and prissy, maybe he hoped that his more dashing mullet henceforth would get him more enthralling roles like, among others, Mithun’s. On the other hand, Sanjay already in Ilaaka proved his ability to go beyond the script. From the moment on when Suraj confronts Raja with the truth about Bheema,, and their friendship is endangered, Sanjay gets in top form and, by his powerful acting, enormously upgrades his law-abiding and straightforward inspector. Neither angry young Mithun nor intense and mean Amrish Puri can endanger Sanjay who takes over the scepter and makes his role the backdoor lead. Ilaaka (= territory) is certainly no sensation, but Sanjay’s interpretation of inspector Suraj is worth a watch.
Produced by Rajendra P. Mavani; Directed by Aziz Sajawal
154 Min.; DVD: GVI, English Subtitles (including songs)