The spark is missing
By MovieTalkies.com, 20 October 2007
Director Vikram Bhatt does what he does best in the film Speed. He borrows liberally from Hollywood flicks like Cellular and Phone Booth, as is his wont. But he manages to come up with a film which has its moments of thrills. The movie is slick – well shot, decently edited -- but stumbles a little on the script front, with the result that matters take a predictable course. This result in a movie, which somehow fails to light a spark.
A strange woman (Urmila Matondakar) sends out SOS calls to Zayed Khan from a battered phone lying next to her, begging him to save her life. Zayed is in London to convince his girlfriend, played by Tanusree Dutt, to give him another chance. The strange woman is the wife of Sanjay Suri, who plays an undercover agent. Suri receives a CD from the villains, Aftab Shivdasani and his girlfriend Sophie Chowdhary, which contains a recording of his kidnapped wife, and is asked to follow instructions. The man is not fully sure of what he is being asked to do, till it finally hits him that he is being used to assassinate the Prime Minister of India (Suhasini Mulay), during her tour of London. Her son is behind the plot and has hired a disgruntled former intelligence officer, Aftab, to execute the assassination. Meanwhile, since Suri refuses to toe the line of the kidnappers, the would-be-killers kidnap his kid as well.
His captive wife tries to escape. Her only ray of hope is the telephone call that she has made to Zayed accidently. He remains in touch with her constantly and gives her moral strength. As he decides to help Urmila, his girlfriend threatens to break up with him again. Zayed stakes his life to save someone else's. Finally, there is the super cop, played by Ashish Chowdhary. He is in charge of Prime Minister's security and even though the D-day falls on the same day as his girlfriend's (Amrita Arora) birthday, he follows the call of duty. Such is the cast of characters that inhabit the world of Speed.
Vikram Bhatt has, of course managed to tune the plot to suit Indian audiences. The film is very good to look at, has a sheen and polish and moves at a fairly decent pace. But what it is lacking in is the element of suspense, which is the crux of a thriller. You already know what is going to happen next. That takes off some of the sheen from the polish. Style does matter, bit not at the cost of content, which too takes a back seat in lots of places through the movie.
The film's music is composed by Pritam and sounds quite adequate. Thankfully, Vikram has kept down the number of songs so that the emphasis can be on the action. The cinematography by Pravin Bhatt is quite classy. London looks quite good in the movie. But this is not enough to make a great film. There are too many loose end and loopholes in the script.
As for the actors, the honours really belong to Urmila Matondkar and Zayed Khan. Urmila appears in a full-fledged role after quite a while, so it's good to see her. She is a skilful performer and enacts her role very well. As for Zayed, more than his acting, it is his entire persona which fits into the character. But he does not falter in the acting department as well. The other tow actors who manage to make their presence felt are Ashish Chowdhury and Sophie Chowdhury. Ashish seems to grow on you. His characterisation of the security chief is quite deadly. Sohphie Chowdhary, as Aftab's evil partner, makes a mark for herself as a vamp.
Surprisingly, someone like Sanjay Suri, who is known to be such a fine natural actor, is as confused as his character is in the movie. The actor is definitely wasted in this role. Aftab Shivdasani too is not able to get the hang of his role well. Incidentally, the styling of the actors, specially Aftab and Tanusree, definitely needs to be looked into. However, Tanusree fits into her role well. Amrita Arora looks good but does not have too much to do in the movie.
The premise of the film is interesting, even though heavily inspired from Hollywood. One can have no quarrel with the film's look but Speed, on the whole, fails to light a spark. One wishes that the director could have paid a little more attention to this aspect instead of lavishing attention on the other details.