Sonntag, 28. Dezember 2008

EMI (2008) - Review in English

About the story: The All India Bank tirelessly promotes loans which are granted without any problems and to be paid back in EMIs (Easy Monthly Installments) without any problems. Some of their many customers are: DJ Ryan Briganza (Arjun Rampal) whose only purpose in life is to get everything on loan; Anil Sharma (Ashish Chaudhry) who wants to marry his darling Shilpa (Neha Uberoi) and to offer her a solid middle-class life including a honeymoon; Chandrakant Desai (Kulbhushan Kharbanda) who wants to enable his son Arjun (Pushkar Jog) to study abroad; and Prerna Joshi (Urmila Matondkar) who pays a gangster for changing her husband’s suicide into an accident or murder so that she can claim the money from his life insurance. One year later, all of them face massive problems: Ryan’s luxury girlfriend Nancy (Malaika Arora Khan) leaves him, Anil and Shilpa are divorced, Arjun has packed his studies in, and Prerna’s plan failed. Moreover, all of them fail to pay their EMIs and thus are referred from the All India Bank to the Good Luck Recovery Agency which, headed by Sattar Bhai (Sanjay Dutt), uses to recover debts in rather unorthodox ways...

A film about careless profligacy with loans in times of a global financial crisis. It could have hit the bull’s eye, had debutant Saurabh Kabra not failed miserably with his script. Not only that – except decent papa Desai – every debtor deserves to fall flat on his or her face, Kabra also takes the easy way out by letting his loan recovery agent Sattar Bhai make a volte-face and solve the debtors’ problems instead of breaking their bones. The next step would probably have been that Sattar personally cleared the debts, but at least for this part of the story Kabra chose an open end and instead concluded the film (rather abruptly) with the flashed admonition to take loans responsibly.

In this context Kabra created some of his film’s best scenes. For he not only draws the credit users’ carelessness into the limelights but also the methods of the banks who offer loans like a super market special offer even by ad phone calls to their (to-be) customers – even to such customers who already are up to their ears in debt. And afterwards they lean back self-satisfiedly and praise themselves for solving people’s problems. Then you could just kiss Sattar for telling them in their faces, "First you create their problems and then you solve them."

Too bad that there are only very few really good scenes like this meeting of Sattar and the bank directors. The four stories about the four debtors suffer, as already mentioned, above all from the fact that most of them simply don’t deserve better. Ryan never cares about earning money and paying debts and only thinks about where he can get new credit cards. Anil takes each day as it comes and leaves it to his wife to get a job to earn their livings. Prerna contacts shady people to produce an insurance fraud. And Arjun doesn’t respect his father who is the only one (!) who without his own fault gets into financial trouble. It’s a pity that the partially really good actors – especially Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Urmila Matondkar, and Arjun Rampal – had to deal with such bloodless characters and stories.

In the end the same unfortunately is also true for Sanjay Dutt whose Sattar Bhai was announced as a sort of Munnabhai (with Manoj Joshi’s "Decent" this Sattar even got a Circuit-reminder as sidekick). But this Sattar differs from Rajkumar Hirani’s ingenious Munnabhai like a bulfinch from an eagle. Contrary to Munna who helps people simply because his golden heart tells him so, Sattar acts completely calculating because he wants to join politics and needs votes. With his falling in love with Prerna, the story definitely comes to a dead end, and I should be really angry with Kabra – on the other hand, the charming dinner scene of the Daud and Khoobsurat jodi Sanju and Urmila ("Ankhon Hi Ankhon Mein") is so beautiful (and, in terms of acting skills and nuances, maybe the best one in the whole movie) that I tend to forgive Kabra for this...

All in all, Sanjay is forced to copy all his three Munnabhai characters – the two of the Hirani movies when he acts as a philanthrope, and the one from Hum Kisise Kum Nahin when he with big innocent eyes falls in love with a girl. Too bad, his acting skills definitely enable him to much more. As Sattar Bhai, Sanjay was massively unchallenged and he absolutely should say good-bye to such good-hearted-gangster roles (except Munnabhai III, of course!) which only force him to repeat himself. Nevertheless, he stands out in the cast, and even the critics (who otherwise mostly mercilessy condemned EMI) appreciated Sanjay’s performance: "Watch it for Sanju bhai!"

Finally I want to make a bow to Sunil Shetty who in a short term decided to produce this film – an immense act of faith for his friend Sanjay Dutt who, at that time, only was free on interim bail (which means that Sunil deliberately risked a lot of money for him). Sanjay could just shoot a few days for EMI before he had to return to jail. And as soon as he finally was granted bail by the Supreme Court, Sanjay returned to the sets of EMI. Of course he was therefore – like in Kidnap – not in best shape, but you can see clearly that this time he mostly could act without the tormenting insecurity about a pending arrest. And you can hear clearly that he had fun singing the title song. To say it with Urmila's words, "It's good to have Sanjay back."

Produced by Sunil Shetty, Shabbir Boxwala, Shobha Kapoor, Ekta Kapoor; Directed by Saurabh Kabra
134 Min.; DVD: Sahara One, English Subtitles (including songs)
© Diwali

Official Website
Indiatimes Microsite

Keine Kommentare: