Prabhudeva's much talked about directorial foray into Hindi films, Wanted finally sees the light of day. The film lives up to expectations on a lot of counts and disappoints in a lot of others. But first, about all that is good in the movie. Wanted is an out and out entertainer, with every masala that you can possibly think of poured into it action, romance, comedy. Think of it and you will find it in the movie. Salman Khan fans will definitely be very happy with the movie as he dominates the proceedings and gets to do a bit of everything, fight, romance and dance. He is the true hero of the movie. The film's production values are impeccable and director Prabhudeva's touch is visible in every frame of the movie.
Where the film goes slightly wrong is in the screenplay. The biggest sore point is the fact that the true identity of Salman's character is revealed only towards the far end of the movie. One would think that the director leaves it for a little too late in the day. Also, the connection between Salman and Vinod Khanna's character has hardly any impact, as that too is left for the far end of the movie. At the cost of showcasing Salman Khan, one feels that the director has done injustice to the general plot of the movie. There was a lot more drama and emotion that could have been extracted which would have only added value to the movie. One also feels that that somewhere the director has got a little caught up with Salman and after a point one gets a little weary of Salman the superhero, who can take care of any number of goons singlehandedly. Most of the first and quite a bit of the second half is devoted to Salman's muscle and gun power. It's only very late in the movie that one understands where the plot is moving.
Of course, the South influence is very pronounced in every frame of the movie, especially in the manner in which the plot unfolds. One cannot forget that the movie is a remake of a South movie. Wanted is a full blown, in your face movie, quite like most South films. The songs have been sumptuously done, specially the 'Jalwa' number, the first track of the movie. The violence and the action has been extremely well choreographed and Salman has been superbly projected as the ultimate action hero. A couple of scenes really stand out, specially the manner in which the Jalwa number ends. The second fantastic effect is during the final encounter between Salman and the main villain. The villain is actually shown having lost his hearing for a couple of seconds and the soundtrack is absolutely silent for that duration as one observes the action through his perspective.
The director also reveals a very catchy sense of humour as is evident in some of the scenes between Salman and Ayesha Takia Azmi. The initial romance between the two has been done quite well and has a certain charm about it. The dialogues have a nice sense of tapori wit and humour about them and should go down well with the audience, especially in the sequence where the villain is under police custody.. Debutant Dilip Deo's edit is quite slick and compliments the film.
In brief, Wanted's story is about Radhe (Salman Khan), who is a mercenary killer and is willing to give kill for whoever pays him. In the process, he flits from one gang to the other and wrecks havoc wherever he goes. But he has his principles as he does not believe in killing women or children. In the meantime, underworld activity in Mumbai has reached an all time high and the Police Commissioner is out on a mission to eliminate the gangs. But the main controls are in the hand of a Ghani Khan (Prakash Raj), who lives abroad. An elaborate plot is laid out for him whereby he is lured back to India so that the cops can catch him. Of course, this is only revealed in the end. But with Ghani back in India, the cops have their hands full and even when they manage to capture him, they are forced to let him off as he kidnaps the Commissioner's daughters and circulates MMS clips of her being molested. Of course, Radhe comes to the rescue of all, and in the end all sorts itself out as he eliminates all the bad men singlehandedly. Into this plot are interwoven the romance track between Radhe and Ayesha Takia's character. There is also the track of the sleazy, corrupt cop, played to perfection by Mahesh Manjrekar. The romance is very typically Salman Khan style, with a strong undertone of humour running through it.
Coming to the actors, Salman revels in performing the action scenes and acquits himself quite well in the movie. This Khan is perfectly at ease romancing, fighting or just plain being himself. The film has been very lavishly mounted and showcases Salman perfectly. Ayesha Takia Azmi is charming but her character has not been very well delineated in the movie. Of the other actors, Mahesh Manjrekar stands out for his flawless depiction of a corrupt cop. He portrays his repulsive character perfectly. Vinod Khanna has a very small role, but he manages to make the most of it. Govind Namdeo makes a surprising appearance as an honest police commissioner and is very effective. But can hardly end any discussion on this movie without talking at length about Prakash Raj, this year's President's award winner for Best Actor. He adds a lot of colour to his portrayal of the main villain, Ghani. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that he is quite the scene stealer. Even though he is supposed to be this horrible villain in the movie, you end up quite liking his character.
In the final analysis, Wanted is a full blown masala entertainer and should go down well at the box office.