Mittwoch, 22. August 2007

Khatarnaak (1990) - Review in English

About the story: Suraj (Sanjay Dutt), also called Sunny, works as a killer for drug boss Dhabariya (Anupam Kher) who once had picked him up off the street as a child and raised as his pitiless and unscrupulous right-hand man – even in his combat against his rival Jaunpuriya (Kiran Kumar). While serving a term in jail, Suraj meets psychiatrist Dr Sangeeta Joshi (Farha Naaz) who, with her positive theories of life, bites on granit with this ice-cold pragmatist. But when Suraj, after his release from prison, gets seriously wounded during a shootout and finds shelter and medical help in Sangeeta’s house, of all places, he promises her to repay this debt one day. In the meantime, Sangeeta gets persuaded by lawyer Kothari (Anil Dhawan) to marry his son Yogesh (Ajit Pal) who has slided into evil ways: he’s got addicted to Suraj’s attractive girlfriend Helena (Anita Raaj), and now he gambles and steals to score off Suraj. In the wedding night, Yogesh disappears and later is found dead. Now Sangeeta asks Suraj to settle his debt by finding the one responsible for her husband’s death. Suraj gives her his word – and then discovers that he is involved in the case himself. This fact and the affection he conceives for Sangeeta make him consider his previous way of life, and he decides to start his life afresh. But his chances to escape the one-way street of criminality are little – society does not accept him, and his past does not let him off...

Khatarnaak (= dangerous) was probably shot at the same time as Kroadh which was released shortly afterwards. Not just because of his look (his hair styled back with gel) but also because of many of his characteristics, Sanjay’s Suraj closely resembles the don Sanjay was to become in Kroadh: an ice-cold facade, veiling a lot of bitterness and disillusion and, more deeply, a basically good heart which here almost explosively bursts out when Suraj raises his old life to question. In comparison to a similar Saul-to-Paul conversion Sanjay was to perform in Kartoos some years later, his change of mind in Khatarnaak happened astonishing fast. Fortunately the script writers already earlier, with the plot of Suraj's friendship to little Abdul, had implied his positive sides (which make his quick conversion at least a bit credible), otherwise their ears should be pulled for that. The more so as Suraj’s fault for Sangeeta’s plight keeps within limits and you hardly can comprehend why Suraj feels so guilty that he decides to change his ways completely.

But the script writers may be forgiven, for the very reason that they included that heart-rending Abdul plot and even provided the film with two good female roles – in those years when the women’s jobs in Hindi films mostly were reduced to dancing and looking pretty, you simply have to be grateful for such exceptions. And so Sanjay here was a lucky guy with two beautiful women at his side – seductive Anita Raaj and sweet Farha Naaz, and he even had good scenes with both of them. The dialogues with Farha, when they blow up their wordly wisdoms in each other’s face, don’t go without a special excitement as, somehow, both of them are right. Of course Sangeeta principally is on the right side, but even Suraj’s views and arguments can’t be denied and confirm gangster boss Jaunpuriya’s estimation who considers Suraj to be not only powerful and dangerous, but also intelligent. And as for Anita, the highlight of her interactions with Sanjay surely is the song where they, after having played strip poker, extendedly dance in the rain and afterwards wind up in a bubble bath tube. I adhere to my opinion that Anita Raaj was one of the most interesting co-stars Sanjay ever had, and together they made a terrific couple on screen.

The male squad around Sanjay delivers solid performances. Too bad that the rivals Anupam Kher and Kiran Kumar were not allowed to confront each other personally, but otherwise they play with their usual aplomb. Yogesh, as played by Ajit Pal, can not for a moment be taken seriously as a rival for Suraj; how on earth could a seductress like Helena be interested in an unripe boy like that In a "very special appearance", Govinda dances across the screen. But like in so many other films too, the linchpin of Khatarnaak is Sanjay Dutt, and once again he doesn’t allow himself any infirmity. Be it the stone-cold pragmatist, the loving friend, the desperate repentant or the tough fighter, Sanjay is hundred per cent present in every second, acts with full effort and absolutely convincing. The thesis "no one is born as a criminal, only circumstances make him one" principally implies the danger that culprits are excused too easily, but with a performer acting so believably as Sanjay it can be used without further ado. The film featuring Sanjay as a "born criminal" without shaking glimpses into a basically good soul has not been created yet.

Produced by S.R. Shetty & Harish Shetty; Directed by Bharat Rungachari
148 Min.; DVD: Madhu, English Subtitles (including songs), unfortunately with flaws and sometimes fragmentary.
© Diwali

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