The balance sheet of this one decidedly has a few red spots
By MovieTalkies.com, 07 July 2006
This corporate entity, though meticulously constructed by director Madhur Bhandarkar, lacks resolution. The foundation of this enterprise is a confused mix of ethics, questionable principles that drive profits and doubtful and misdirected corporate motives.
The protagonist is Nishigandha Dasgupta, extremely well played by Bipasha Basu. She finds herself drawn into a game of chess between two business houses, one that she works for, headed by Vinay Sehgal (played in a most business-like manner by Rajat Kapoor), and of course, its arch competitor, headed by Dharmesh Marwah (portrayed in an authoritarian fashion by veteran Raj Babbar). Without getting into the elaborate twists-n-turns and sometimes often boring construction of the manoeuvrings that drive corporate profit as we know it today in India, this often satirical and acidic attempt tries to address anything and everything, wherein lies the flaw; from the nexus between politicians and questionable businessmen, the role of numbers, foreign investments, power brokers, mergers, take-overs, false Gods (of course the regular swami who drives head honcho Marwah) and what not… the plate is full and piled high. But it lacks the flavour that a well-crafted screenplay would have offered.
The one essential ingredient that makes any concoction of words, pictures and game play amongst powerful protagonists palatable, is sadly missing… high drama. So the characters are empty, their personal lives merely touched upon, and the dense plotting has an overdose of corporate lingo. The boardroom is where the film is largely set, and of course the odd politicians’ meeting places are featured, be it to collect the regular bribe or swing tenders in favour of their favoured; for sensationalism, there’s also the rather regular hotel room ‘date’ with an actress who is of repute when it comes to dance numbers. Yes, the film also has Bollywood, with a little taste of the dance number special, this time the “O Sikandar” song with Payal Rohatgi dancing to it, while Kailash Kher tries to match her steps with his odd nods. When this song ended with an obviously gay director saying “cut”, one felt that clichés of earlier satires or regular funny films from Bollywood had been superseded (the ill-researched journalist also makes an appearance at this scene!).
Interspersed throughout the proceedings is the omnipresent television news anchor of a leading news channel, slowing down the film’s momentum further, obviously a product placement exercise. And how could one miss referring to the Miss Do-It-All socialite with her own show on a business channel, who freelances as a part-time pimp! One could go on mentioning the smaller characters who often assume larger proportions beyond what may be the need of the day, in this winding character play, because of which the centre of the action often losses steam. To the credit of the maker, he manages to hold everything, but his written word just doesn’t move fast enough for him to involve the viewer.
The film is dotted with business-like representation and the spoken word is quite detailed and accurate, befitting the characters and their environment, be it a boardroom meeting or a press conference announcement. Unfortunately, this will decidedly work against it when it comes to comprehension on the part of the regular moviegoer. … PSUs are referred to, pie charts and histograms are shown, mergers and acquisitions are spoken of; all this the regular audience may not be able to understand, let alone digest. Some character motivations are questionable and without getting into a detailed script analysis, our ‘heroine’ is a good woman, but she can steal for her company, she can bribe for her company, and she can of course, use any means to get what she wants, even if it amounts to destroying the reputation of a senior management official of a rival company.
On similar lines as Page 3, but lacking the drama and incisive plotting that such a film has to be blessed with, this corporate affair is a bit dull and has to depend on the director’s flair for satire. But the burden on his shoulders is a bit too heavy, and the film is worth a look just for his deft direction, and the acting which is par excellence. There are no marquee value faces, besides the lovely Bipasha Basu, but there is the ever dependable Raj Babbar, the smooth Rajat Kapoor, the emphatic and brilliant Kay Kay Menon as Ritesh (he plays Nishi’s love interest and the brother-in-law of Sehgal) and the very dependable Lillete Dubey (Miss Do-it-All referred to earlier).
An ambitious film, possibly let down by being high on expectations, but low on delivery, the balance sheet of this one decidedly has a few red spots and business this quarter will not be handsome at the box office.