About the story: At a coup which was to be his last one, cheater Lucky (Anil Kapoor) is cheated himself: His girlfriend Lara (Koena Mitra) clears away with the money he duffed. And as if this weren’t enough, Lucky’s victim turns out to be a henchman of gangster boss Billa Bhai (Sanjay Dutt) who in such cases takes no jokes. He gives Lucky a grilling and offers him a last chance to save his skin: Lucky shall fetch a money bag from Whacko Jacko (Shakti Kapoor) in Goa and deliver it to Billa. But again things go wrong for Lucky: He loses the money from Whacko Jacko, gets into trouble with fanatic cop Tiger (Aditya Pancholi) and falls for Sam (Sameera Reddy), a married woman who wants to get rid of her husband Lokha (Mahesh Manjrekar) as well as the latter wants to get rid of her – and both hire Lucky for this job. To crown it all, finally Billa himself shows up in Goa to keep a close eye on Lucky...
The best things come in threes. This is probably the thought which inspired Sanjay Dutt and Sanjay Gupta, after Kaante and Plan, to the third film of their production house White Feather Films: In Musafir (= voyager) Sanju plays his third White Feather role as the cool gangster, or rather said: He tops it in every means. He was never cooler, he never sang more wickedly than in "Tez Dhaar" (during the credits), and he never made a hotter clip than "Saaki Saaki" where he simply looks breathtakingly supercool and razor-sharp. And gorgeous Koena Mitra in no way needs to hide behind her attractive predecessors Isha Koppikar and Priyanka Chopra, all the more as she afterwards also has an unforgettable acting scene with Sanjay.
And there’s one more element Musafir has in common with Kaante and Plan, and that is Dutt-director Mahesh Manjrekar in front of the camera. As an actor, Mahesh seems to have a faible for crazed roles and even this time he convinces as the shady and sleazy husband. At his side he has Sameera Reddy who definitely advanced as an actress since her debut two years ago – very well done. The biggest surprise package, however, was Anil Kapoor. Until now I only knew him as an actor who in every film seemed to be an advertiser for hair spray with his – in every situation perfect – blow-dry hairstyle and moustache; in Musafir, however, he sports short hair, two-day-old beard and shaven chest (and frankly, Anil, this look is damned good for you, you should keep it). More than that, he plays his role (which also differs from his usually preferred scheme) really well, and that he, inspite of having most of the screentime, not became the only outstanding hero is not primarily Anil’s fault – these things do happen if you get involved with Sanjay Dutt as antagonist.
For even if Sanjay has less screentime than Anil in Musafir, his part is definitely no minor character. Billa is Lucky’s big opponent, and Sanjay issues Billa with so much charisma, authority and ingenious power that he effortlessly dominates his scenes. Whether he shoots to Goa on his heavy motorbike, strides in a capuchin along the nocturnal streets (accompanied by the sounds of Koyaanisqatsi), casually dangles his butterfly knife, fixes his opponent with a brown and a blue eye or with cool-nasty grin shows his gold choppers – Billa is always the boss. And the ladies are at his feet, too. That this super-hot big cat was named Billa (= tomcat) at first seems like a strange joke, but looking closer you find that even Billa has his cuddly sides. He just doesn’t show them to everybody. And when he knows that he has his enemies in his pocket he indeed reminds of a big contentedly purring tomcat. (To the IIFA Awards, Sanjay's performance was worth a nomination for the Best Negative Role.)
The film’s styling is open to dispute, e.g. the colour-filters or the partially astonishing editing and image effects. As for me, I liked it; the whole film is very stylish and cool, and in the end everything goes together well. I also like the ways the plot is told, the flashbacks and the parallel telling of Sam’s and Lokha’s stories. I would always recommend Musafir – and be it just for watching Billa sovereignly and with his most lovely gold-chopper grin playing his games with people. Or because of the première Anil Kapoor mentioned when Musafir was presented at the IIFA: For the first time Nayak and Khalnayak met in front of the camera – Anil, the nayak = hero of many films (including Nayak), and Sanjay, the khalnayak = villain of many films (including Khalnayak). And "Saaki Saaki" is an absolut must-see anyway as the clip is like Sanju – hot as a chilly.
Produced and directed by Sanjay Gupta
145 Min.; DVD: Spark, English Subtitles (including songs), after 126 minutes the sound is missing for a few seconds. The Bonus-DVD contains the Making of the Movie, White Feather Films – An Intro, Musafir Item Bomb – Zee Music and IIFA Footage.
P.S. Sanjay Dutt is known for his perfect style (even got some awards for it), and his fashion passion made him a costume designer for the film Musafir where he designed the look for Anil Kapoor, Aditya Pancholi, Mahesh Manjrekar and himself.