Samstag, 1. September 2007

Daud (1997) - Review in English

About the story: A gang of terrorists led by unscrupulous Pinky (Paresh Rawal) is after a large box seized by the customs. Via middleman Khurana (Rajeev Mehta), Nandu (Sanjay Dutt), a small-time crook, is hired to steal the box (which allegedly is full of gold) against payment of a fee. To get the box into his possession is a piece of cake for Nandu, but from that moment on he is stuck with problems. One, ACP inspector Nair (Ashish Vidyarthi) and his men who have order from home minister PK Mishra (Ram Mohan) to get back the box by all means. Two, Pinky and his men who want the same. And three, beautiful dancer Bhavani (Urmila Matondkar) who is keen to get one half of the stolen gold and pesters Nandu who doesn’t manage to get rid of her. On the run from the police, Nandu and Bhavani escape into the jungle where they, after loads of not only verbal quarrels, come closer to each other and even get unexpected help by the queer fellow Chacko (Neeraj Vora). But still they don’t have a clue that they didn’t get in this mess because of a few gold bars but because of a veritable neutron bomb...

To give Sanjay his due: He has humour. More than that, he’s got the humour and the chutzpah to take himself and his image as tough action hero for a ride – and this at a time when he, you might think, should have been more interested to link to his glorious action hero days he had enjoyed before his career was interrupted by his jail term. But obviously Sanjay had other thoughts in mind; if he was to start his career afresh, then completely. The more so as he now was in his end-30es and knew exactly that in the near future young and reckless action heroes like in Sadak or Mahaanta no longer would be his kind of roles (quite apart from the fact that the kind of action movies Sanjay used to play in more and more disappeared and made way for other genres in those years). Sanjay didn’t even try to extend his sell-by date but put out his feelers to other territories – which should prove to be the perfectly right strategy for his further career.

All this doesn’t mean that in the road movie Daud Sanjay doesn’t use his fists at all. But for the first time he not only has to deal with notorious villains but also with a smart hottie who knows to use her fists too and respectlessly stands up to him. Urmila Matondkar is self-confident and sexy, and she dances, acts and fights with abandon. Urmila and Sanjay share a smashing chemistry; both obviously had great fun doing this movie, they give full commitment to their scenes and dances (and there are loads of them), and put up terrific verbal duels and running battles.

The problem is just that the film cannot match up with Sanjay’s and Urmila’s class. It comes as a comedy, but for a comedy too many good and innocent people are killed in partially terrible ways, and the scene where we are expected to laugh about kidnapped people and their panic fear is simply not funny. The neutron bomb story is knitted rather crudely – I mean, which neutron bomb is transported in a simple box, and which home minister sends his complete police elite out to track it without telling them about the object’s nature? Okay, he wants to avoid panic, but on the other hand he risks a catastrophe when the police find the box and then improperly handle it. And some details like the one with the big game hunter and the tiger are rolled out and tramped down until you can’t bear them anymore...

Without fabulous Urmila and Sanjay, I would bluntly advise against watching Daud as the film per se is not worth a recommendation. But this delightful comedy-jodi saves, if not the film, then at least your day. With Sanju and Urmila, you indeed have "fun on the run".

Produced and directed by Ram Gopal Varma
171 Min.; DVD: Eros, English Subtitles (not for the songs)
© Diwali

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