About the story: In the district Ghaziabad, the ruthless Fauji (Arshad Warsi) and his gang members use to do dirty jobs for Chairman Brahmpal Chaudhary (Paresh Rawal). But even the honest teacher Satbir (Vivek Oberoi) is a close associate to Chaudhary. One day, Fauji's home is raided, and it seems that it was Satbir's crime. As Chaudhary is convinced about Satbir's innocence, Fauji joins Chaudhary's political rival Rashid Ali (Ravi Kishan). Full of hate, Fauji murders Satbir's elder brother Karamvir (Chandrachur Singh) before Satbir's eyes. Satbir swears revenge and stops being the justice-loving teacher. Soon gang wars (furthered by political rivalries) are all over Ghaziabad, and the police urgently asks for Thakur Pritam Singh (Sanjay Dutt) to be transfered to them; known for his maverick methods, Pritam Singh seems to be the only one to be able to stop the chaos...
The story had potential. Without any doubt. It was based on real-life
events from the nineties, and the late Thakur Pritam Singh, also known
as the Badshah of Bulandshahr, is a hero in his district even today. Too
bad that the makers didn't make more of it. And that's not just because
director Anand Kumar, alas, couldn't resist the temptation to spice the
fight sequences with endless slow-motion scenes and unbelievable tricks
and effects which deprived the story of its power. It's also because
the story just doesn't grip you. Watching gang wars where you're on no
one's side, and policemen who in the end aren't better than the goons
and the corrupt politicians, you start wishing nothing else but just:
kill them all, and please without any further men gliding through the
air in unnerving slow-motion.
The actors cannot save the day either. Even though Arshad Warsi plays
his first real baddie with gusto, Vivek Oberoi sways to and fro between
nice and angry, Paresh Rawal, Ravi Kishan, Sunil Grover, Ashutosh Rana,
Minissha Lamba and Zarina Wahab form a solid cast, and Sanjay Dutt
performs the unorthodox cop quite okay – nothing really makes you want
to watch the film again. Even the two item songs (one is obviously not
enough anymore) starring Geeta Basra and Shreya Sharan don't help.
Those who want to acquire the movie because of Sanjay – be warned: Even
though he's in the middle of every poster and cover, it takes about 50
minutes until he's named at all ("Pritam Singh comes – run for your
lives, he's mad, he'll kill us" – yawn...), and it takes more than an
hour until he actually appears in the story. Okay, his fans may like the
jokes about Thakur Pritam Singh being a fan of Madhuri Dixit and loving
songs from Saajan and Thanedaar but becoming angry when young fans of
Khalnayak wear the same mullet as Sanjay Dutt... but honestly, if you
don't intend to own every single film with Sanjay Dutt on DVD you can
just save your money. Zila Ghaziabad is not necessary.
By the way: The inhabitants of Ghaziabad who first allegedly were
excited about a movie on their Robin Hood Singh being made, are said to
be not very happy with the result as the film portrays Ghaziabad as a
district of violence and blood and thunder inhabited only by corrupt and
anarchic people. And you just can't blame them. When the title song at
the movie's beginning belongs to Fauji, the most blood-thirsty of all
who presents himself as a fearless "hero" who loves to shoot people, you
know that something's wrong with Zila Ghaziabad before the first ten
minutes are over. Pity.
Produced by Vinod Bachchan; Directed by Anand Kumar
142 Min.; DVD: Eagle, English Subtitles (including songs)