One Bumper Ride!
By Mansee Dabral, MovieTalkies.com, 25 February 2006
Black and yellow. The colour of the cab and the myriad shades of life brought out in Luthria’s Taxi No. 9211. Dark yet light, fun yet fragile, this cab ride takes its passengers on a journey which goes well beyond the road. The film is a fast chase, based on the conflict between Raghav Shastri (Nana Patekar) and Jai Mittal (John Abraham). Raghav plays a misfit who is easily provoked and can’t stick to anything, a trait because of which he is constantly in and out of jobs. Sonali Kulkarni plays Raghav’s wife and they have a son. Raghav is very much in love with his family, but after losing out on so many jobs; he is left with no option but to work as a taxi driver. Now this is one truth he is unwilling to share with his wife, and he has led her to believe that he is an Insurance agent. At the other end of the rope is Jai Mittal, who plays the spoilt son of a well known industrialist. A playboy, Jai has never taken anything seriously in life. His father is dead, and in his last will, had entrusted his property worth three hundred crores to his friend (Shivaji Satam). But there was an earlier will which bequeathed the property to his son. Jai has filed his case and he has to present the will in the court, which is kept in a locker. Jai gets into Raghav’s taxi to reach the court and is running against the clock, so he keeps probing Raghav to drive faster, which ultimately makes them meet with a nasty accident. Though the two of them are unscratched, the cab is left in a poor condition, and Jai slips, leaving Raghav to deal with the mob, and he is finally taken to the police station. But Jai hasn’t gotten too far from Raghav yet, as when he reaches the bank, he realises that he had dropped the locker key in Raghav’ cab.
Jai chases Raghav to get the key, but by now Raghav wants nothing but to avenge Jai, for putting him through so much trouble. They chase and fight to destroy one another.
Production values are good, and Kartik Vijay’s outdoor camera work is definitely worth a mention. Where Vishal- Shekhar’s music builds up the tempo of the film, it is Abbas Ali Moghul’s action which is the true highlight of the film.
The undercurrent of comedy in action and dialogue is great, and the slick edit gives the film a pace which is fast and highly entertaining. Milan is able to capture mundane scenes of passing life and its problems with such tact that more often than once you catch yourself by surprise as you are in titters over serious issues of life. Then be it the subtle political remarks that the man behind the taxi wheel (Nana Patekar) delivers with dangerous ease or the heartbreaking lust for money that the men exhibit, the movie has something to say if you are willing to listen.
Performance-wise, Nana Patekar again shows his strong screen presence, and as far as John is concerned, this is safely one of his best performances till date, and he is surprisingly able to keep pace with Nana. Sonali Kulkarni too comes across totally natural in her understated role. As the director, Milan Luthria has done a good job. The meter is definitely up on this one!