About the story: Sameer (Sikandar) is unemployed and up to his neck in debt; his landlord (Shakti Kapoor) and the gangster Kalim Bhai (Gulshan Grover) vehemently claim him to repay his long-pending debts. When Zaara (Neha Uberoi), wife of wealthy Jatin Kampani (Arbaaz Khan), offers Sameer money if he kidnaps her to vacant Woodstock Villa and demands ransom for her (she wants to check whether her husband still loves her), it seems the solution to Sameer’s financial problems. But shortly thereafter Sameer finds Zaara’s dead body in Woodstock Villa. He buries her in a piece of woodlands and then wants to make a getaway to Bangalore – until at the airport he watches the screening of the performance of a rock star (Sanjay Dutt) and suddenly sees Zaara in it...
Woodstock Villa was announced as a thriller "in the tradition of the film noir". First of all, though, it was the launch vehicle for two newcomers in the industry: Sikandar, son of actors Kirron and Anupam Kher, and producer Sanjay Gupta’s niece Neha Uberoi (who, however, already had been to be seen in Dus Kahaniyaan when Woodstock Villa finally was released). Both do a pretty good job though there can be no talk about a sensational debut. At least Neha radiates charme on screen; as an actress she wasn’t challenged very much, and as she even was dubbed it is probably just fair to wait for one or two more films to really judge her.
Sikandar in any case got more to do than Neha and also showed good basics. Much still seems half-baked, but besides an interesting dark voice Sikandar definitely has acting skills and hopefully will develop them further in other (and, let me state it clearly, better) films. In the best tradition of a Sanjay Dutt, an Ajay Devgan or a Shahrukh Khan even Sikandar makes his entry in his debut film on a motorbike in a clip – we’ll see whether this will prove to be equally lucky for him as it had proved to be for his famous colleagues. In this clip he appears very cool (supported by sunglasses, rain, fire and hot girls); however, the "animal magnetism à la Vinod Khanna, Dharmendra and Sanjay Dutt" he, prior to the release, was said to have, I could not really pick up.
Especially as Sanjay Dutt clearly shows to Sikandar what such magnetism is. For him, a special appearance with the rock band Aryans in the song "Kyun" was enough to make it crystal clear who’s the rock star. The video was shot in springtime 2007 (when Sanjay still was a part of White Feather Films and partner of Gupta who directed the clip) and indeed is more than just an item number – it’s a part of the story and comes right before the intermission. Yes, there actually is an intermission in this film which seems to be a joke considering the fact that after 90 minutes the whole film is over.
On the other hand, it isn’t necessary either for the film to last any longer. Though some twists in the story come as a surprise, as a whole it’s quite predictable and not very suspense-packed. The hectical cuts are annoying, and one or two songs less wouldn’t have been a loss. At least the actors are solid, from the newcomers to the veteran supporting actors Gulshan Grover, Shakti Kapoor and Sachin Khedekar (who was pretty wasted) and especially to Arbaaz Khan who almost was the most positive surprise for me; too bad that his role wasn’t shaped a bit better.
Sanjay’s fans who are eager to have all his films will surely get themselves the DVD (which, misleadingly, shows Sanjay big and prominent on the cover). All the others, sorry, don’t really need it.
Produced by Sanjay Gupta; Directed by Hansal Mehta
91 Min.; DVD: Viva, English Subtitles (including songs)