About the story: ACP Jay Suryavanshi (Jackie Shroff) is obsessed with his task to run down dreaded terrorist Jagat Jogiya (Gulshan Grover). As the latter, however, together with his close assistants escaped to London, Jay, with the consent of his superior, resorts for an unusual measure: He saves multi-murderer Jeet Balraj (Sanjay Dutt) from the gallows while letting the world know that Jeet was executed, then gives him a new identity as Raja and promises him his freedom if he tracks down the terrorists (Jay prudently keeps for himself that instead he intends to kill Jeet as soon as the mission is over). Jeet accepts the deal and, permanently controlled by Jay and his assistants, goes to London. But meeting innocent-naive Manpreet Kaur, called Minnie (Manisha Koirala), who has no idea about Jeet’s profession as a killer, changes Jeet’s life: With Minnie at his side he doesn’t want to kill anymore. When Jet gets wind of that he goes to London, too – to prevent Jeet from backing out of his mission...
In Hindi movies, bad guys often convert astoundingly quickly, and performing a volte-face within seconds is no uncommonness for them. In comparison to this, Jeet Balraj’s metamorphosis from merciless killer to loving pacifist happens rather understandable: The more he realizes how much Minnie means to him, the more difficult it becomes for him to pull the trigger, and the more openly Minnie trusts and loves him (Manisha bestowes a wonderfully natural innocence and naive simplicity to this figure), the more impossible it becomes for Jeet to kill people and afterwards look into Minnie’s eyes. A tailor-made task for emotionalist Sanjay Dutt who consequently, especially in the movie’s last third, delivers one powerful scene after the other; be it the tears running over his face after eliminating a villain, be it his beseeching plea to Jackie to rather kill him than force him to move on, be it the extremely touching scene when he reveals his true identity to Manisha, or finally the showdown between him, Jackie and Manisha where all emotions boil up once again.
The movie is thrilling until the very last minute, and that’s not only thanks to Sanjay’s gorgeous performance but also thanks to his strong antagonist. Of all the cops Jackie Shroff has played in his career, Jay Suryavanshi is probably the toughest and coldest. His chemistry with Sanjay is even better than in Khalnayak as in Kartoos they share more scenes together which makes the development of Sanjay's character even more understandable.
Kartoos (= cartridge) is, thanks to its three leading actors and some emotionally very strong scenes, always worth a recommendation. Even an aesthetically very strange dream dance scene midway through the film cannot prevent this. I just want to warn those who might have a hair phobia as Sanju in his first scenes as convicted murderer (until he changes from Jeet to Raja) sports very long and shaggy hair, a full beard and blue contact lenses, a look which makes him appear like a Jesus Christ reserve for Oberammergau. Well, maybe he would have to look a bit more holy for this. *g*
Produced by Firoz A. Nadiadwala; Directed by Mahesh Bhatt
130 Min.; DVD: 21st Century, English Subtitles (including songs)