Aazaan Movie Review: ‘Aazaan’, A Recipe For Disaster
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There's a doomsday conspiracy afoot, with the Ebola virus as its weapon of choice. It's a bio-terrorism plot against India, engineered by a deadly, faceless enemy, known just as the 'Doctor', who can seemingly get past the best security in the world to orchestrate his moves. The Interpol and RAW are working tirelessly to curb the spread of the fast-moving virus, and the only antidote they know of lies in the blood of a young girl in Scandinavia, who is naturally resistant to the virus. They must get to her before the Doctor and his men can. So, whom do they turn to? A short, stubby, weak-voiced bodybuilder moonlighting as a soldier of fortune, called Aazaan.
An action thriller that isn't, Aazaan is a fanciful epic that seems to solely be a launch vehicle for its lead 'star', Sachiin J Joshi. With a tedious plot that seems quite impossible to follow, director Prashant Chadha's film hitches its wagon simply to its slick cinematography and exotic locations, and hopes for the best, probably praying that the audiences don't notice the absurdity of the plot.
The film is centred around the exploits of an Afghan terrorist turned Indian intelligence operative called Aazaan Khan, who has been called in by the RAW in the face of a deadly bio-terror attack underway against India. An enemy called the Doctor is readying to attack the nation with the deadly Ebola virus. The RAW discovers that there is a cure for the virus formulated by an Indian chemist somewhere in Scandinavia, who discovered a young girl naturally resistant to the virus. Now, before the Doctor can execute his plans, Aazaan needs to find and protect the girl long enough for India to get to her.
As far as doomsday plots go, Aazaan seems fine enough, logic not really a big factor in films such as these. However, what mucks things up here is the insistence of the film's makers to give the film a deeper meaning, by giving Aazaan a backstory that refuses to leave him. Already short on believability as a deadly counter-terrorism operative, Aazaan gets things more complicated by constantly delving in his past in Afghanistan, where he picked up the gun as a kid and massacred an entire family in front of his younger brother. One understands that Aazaan is haunted by his past actions, but one simply can't follow the way the film keeps bringing it up. In fact, the way he talks of it, it seems that more than being haunted, Aazaan is disturbingly obsessed with his past.
The film's focus is skewed. Director Prashant Chadha is entirely taken up by the slickness of his action choreography, his cinematography and the locales, than keeping his eyes on the narrative. Perhaps, it's only right, as the high-octane visuals seem to be the only real positive in this setup, populated as it is with a set of ham-handed performances.
Sachiin Joshi has nothing going for him except for his ultra-toned physique. His short stature, especially next to his co-stars, and his weak voice take away any real screen presence he might have had, and leave him quite unconvincing as the deadly Aazaan. His dialogue delivery is deadpan, and for the most part, his serious looks border on looking sad. Candice Boucher, as Aazaan's love interest and the elder sister of the girl with the cure, is an odd casting choice, as the ex-Playmate's personality is in direct contrast to that of Joshi himself. Tall, with a strong voice and quite a bit of screen presence, her scenes with Sachiin are a bit jarring. Boucher, however, doesn't have much of a role here, with her on-screen time barely stretching beyond, 20-25 minutes of the film.
Ravi Kissen and Alyy Khan co-star as Aazaan's RAW handlers, and both leave one disappointed. While it's great to see Alyy back on the screen, after quite a while, the otherwise talented actor is cast here in a role that seems to require quite a bit of overacting of him. Kissen, on the other hand, is a lost cause, turning in the same sort of over the top, jingoistic act that he's made a habit of putting in, in all his recent releases. Ravi seems to have the support of his director too, in this inexplicable effort, as his character gets a slew of shuddh hindi lines to mouth, each as ill-fitting for his role as the next. Aarya Babbar as the Pakistani Punjabi terror henchmen is sort of okay, though he keeps in line with his co-stars and hams it up in places too. The only person who manages to turn in something decent is Dalip Tahil, who comes in for a brief role as a good doctor, and manages to leave a mark.
What the film lacks in plot and performances, Prashant tries to make up in technicality. And he succeeds to an extent. With ample resources at hand, Aazaan ranks high on production values, uncompromising on that end. The credit here goes to the film's director of photography Axel Fischer, who, in sequences set in locations as exotic as Morocco, Poland, Thailand and South Africa, crafts some fantastic visuals for the film. The film only lights up in its action sequences, of which, fortunately, there are many, and here too, Fischer's vision comes out in full flow, adding to the heart pumping energy of the scenes.
The film's music, by Salim-Sulaiman, fails to leave a mark, though the musical duo has claimed it to be their best work yet. Perhaps one can chalk it up to the way Chadha uses it in his narrative.
Though it's certainly interesting to see a doomsday film come out of Bollywood, Aazaan is no flag-bearer for the genre here. While film scores big on the technical front with its focus on getting the slick picture right, Prashant Chadha seems to have resigned on putting together a real, understandable narrative. Couple that with the absence of any real stars, and weak, weak performances from newcomers and veterans alike, and the film is a recipe for disaster. If it's mindless action that you like, then Aazaan comes highly recommended. But if you're looking for something more, perhaps you should avoid this one like the plague… ahem, like the Ebola virus!
Release Date : 14 October 2011
Producer : JMJ Entertainment PVT LTD
Director : Prashant Chadha
Genre : Action , Social