Crook: Colour Me Good!
By MovieTalkies.com, 08 October 2010
Mohit Suri's latest film has a very interesting and topical premise as it talks about racism in Australia, an issue which has been making news for a while. The film, which has been presented and produced by the Bhatt brothers, Mukesh and Mahesh, is a valiant attempt to present the issue. But the problem with 'Crook' is that too much time is wasted in coming to the point.
It is somewhere in the second half that the protagonist comes head on with the issue of racism. Suri spends way too much screen time on building up the story, the romance angle, etc. before locking horns with the main subject. So yes, that takes away a lot of the power and impact of the movie. It turns out to be quite a watered down presentation of the issue. But where Suri scores is the manner in which he manages to come up with a solution, which is unadulterated by any kind of prejudice. In this entire battle between Indian students and Australians, he manages to inject an element of sanity by calling for introspection from both warring sides. Quite Gandhian, that.
The film stars Emraan Hashmi, who seems to have made a career out of playing the bad guy. He is the protagonist who finally turns a new leaf and plays the peacemaker. But, to start, at the beginning. The film is about Jai (Emraan), the quintessential enfant terrible, who is the son of a former gangster, who was gunned down by the cops. His father's friend Joseph (Gulshan Grover) takes an interest in him and sends him to Australia to make a new beginning in a new land.
In Australia, Jai meets Suhani (Neha Sharma), an Indian Australian and her brother Samarth (Arjan Bajwa), who is the leader of the Indian students. Meanwhile, Jai find work as a cabbie and keeps his distance from the racist attacks on Indian students. Suhani falls in love with Jai, who knows that that he can get a permenant visa if he ever decides to marry Suhani. Jai flirts with her and also has a thing going with a stripper called Nicole. The first half plays out the romance while in the second half, Jai plays the real hero by stepping into the middle of the conflict and trying to make both sides see sense.
The problem with the first half of the movie is that the romance angle doesn't come out very well. It lacks any kind of emotion and one is never able to really relate to it. Also one is constantly aware that romance is not the core issue of the movie. It's only in the latter half of the movie that suddenly the screenplay shifts to the real matter at hand. Hence, somewhere along the way, the issue gets totally diluted and the entire purpose of the movie seems to be lost.
However, the movie manages to redeem itself at the end with Jai calling for both sides to introspect and reconcile. The film thankfully does not take a moralistic or jingoistic approach, instead coming out with a very mature stand which is quite laudable.
In the final analysis, 'Crook' seems to be quite a half baked attempt by Suri to capture the eyeballs with a movie on a hot and happening issue. One is left quite disappointed with the movie's treatment and screenplay. Even Pritam's music is not able to help matters as the score is quite unusually mediocre for a Bhatt camp product.
Coming to the actors, Emraan finds himself slipping into familiar shoes as he once again essays the role of a bad man who turns good. He has played this slightly edgy character in most of his movies, like 'Jannat' and 'Murder', for instance. So there is no new territory that he is exploring as an actor. But, having said that, one has to admit that the actor does a creditable job and is quite convincing in his portrayal of Jai. He is well supported by Neha Sharma, who has a good screen presence and turns in a confident performance.
Gulshan Grover has too small a role to make much of an impact in the overall film. Bajwa, who was quite impressive in 'Fashion', is competent as the hotheaded leader of the Indian students, while Mashoor Amrohi proves to be quite a scene stealer. The Aussie actors all play their parts well.
'Crook' manages to make its point in the second half and picks up quite admirably from there onwards. While it is not the most strongest and impactful of films, it should manage to make its presence felt solely for the issue that it raises and addresses.