Friday, November 27, 2009

De Dana Dan

Wanted in Singapore

I got to admit I wasn't quite plugged into the fact that Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif were in Singapore earlier this year to film this movie, and it wasn't until after they had left did I come to learn of their presence, and a new Bollywood film after Krrish that had decided to set itself on our island. Having watched Saint Jack again earlier and gone on the Jack of Hearts Mystery Bus Tour, my interest was piqued more on how landscapes have changed, and wondered if what had been captured here in this film, would still survive the test of time some decades down the road.

So yes, Singapore itself was the character I was looking out for, and the film managed to feature Clarke and Boat Quays of today, with those shown in Saint Jack still vividly fresh in my mind. The trailer for this film had highlighted many venues in which this film was shot at, from Sentosa to Fusionopolis, but alas this was only in the music video of one of the songs shown early on. Otherwise, since the Pan Pacific was listed in the credits, the bulk of the film actually took place in and around the hotel (if memory serves me right, there was an old Hong Kong comedy which was also shot in and around the same hotel), and thus was shot within or in any generic soundstage.

Storywise, both leads Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif were only representatives of a larger ensemble cast, and sad to say though that they disappear as well for a significant portion of the film, with Akshay in particular when the limelight had to be shared, and his character was written to be stuck in a cupboard of a location unknown to him. The gist of it, at least in the first act, tells of two men Nitin (Akshay Kumar) and Ram (Suneil Shetty) who are both drowned by their debts and stuck in jobs with no prospects. Their respective girlfriends Anjani (Katrina Kaif) and Manpreet (Sameera Reddy) happen to be from wealthy backgrounds, and their parents see it as material benefit should they be wedding other well to do folks.

Both men now become desperate in not wanting to lose their lady love, and crack up the most insane of plots involving kidnapping, which soon spiralled out of control to involve an Indian ambassador, their girlfriends parents, a sneaky hotel employee, a bumbling hitman, a mafia Don, a corrupt practices police inspector (though his rank is only that of sergeant), a mistress, and plenty of mistaken identities to make everyone beat around the bush in a convoluted manner, leaving you the audience having to open your eyes and ears to link everyone's relationship, motivation and intentions, both real, perceived and deliberately under deceit.

As for the comedic element, personally it's fairly hit and miss, though I wonder if there's anything that could be lost in translation since the audience were rip-roaring laughing at the slightest of sight gags, much credited to Akshay Kumar's comedic timing especially in the first act which shows his being exploited under his female employer played by Archana Puran Singh. What impressed more though was the series of special effects that had the Pan Pacific Hotel facing quite the disaster, and while some shots did look quite artificial, I have to admit it was quite the blast (pardon the pun) to see how landmarks here in Singapore get their 5 minutes of fame in being nearly obliterated in a motion picture. But this scene too fell prey to the largest bugbear of the movie, and that's where scenes were dragged out longer than its welcome.

While I had looked forward to some great comedy, and having to bear witness to yet another Bollywood film shot here, the end result was somewhat less than satisfactory.

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