Suneel Darshan and Raj Kanwar were desperate. Darshan needed a success to make up for the dismal Talaash, and Kanwar needed a hit to re-establish himself after repeated failures. It’s no surprise, then, that the two of them pulled out all the stops in trying to make their latest feature high in quality and commercially viable. They signed a hit music duo, they roped in Akshay Kumar and two gorgeous models, and got a massive budget to mount the film on the most lavish of scales. In their rush, however, it seems they forgot to hire a good writer.
Andaaz features yet another insipid and uninspired storyline. The film opens with a handicapped college student, Raj (Akshay Kumar), meeting a firecracker of a girl, Kajal (Lara Dutta). Raj and Kajal share a common interest in model airplanes, and get along like a house on fire. Kajal helps Raj overcome his handicap in true Forest Gump-style, and soon Raj finds himself in love with Kajal. Raj gets an invitation from the Indian Air Force to join, and he accepts; he wants to fly his ladylove across the world one day. Unfortunately, by the time Raj makes it back from the academy, Kajal is set to marry a hot-shot businessman named Karan (Aman Verma). Raj is heartbroken, but tries to live his life happily as Kajal tells him to.
Years later we find Raj in South Africa, undergoing some sort of special training in the air force that requires him to sit around in luxurious foreign countries. Here he meets drop-dead-gorgeous Jiya (Priyanka Chopra).
After some initial reluctance from Raj, the two hit it off. When they plan to get married, however, we find out that Jiya’s brother is none other than the businessman Karan himself. The usual high-drama and intrigue seasoned with traditional Indian values follows.
The storyline in the film is as tired and overused as it sounds. The only novel aspects in the film are small, petty details like the air force angle or the locations where the characters mingle. If the story look place in Bombay and Switzerland and Raj was a lawyer going away for training, the love-triangle would remain the same. There are no worthwhile surprises in the film, and it’s easy to predict the outcomes of various situations based on similar movies in the past. Without any suspense, the drama in the film is stripped of all its power and entertainment-value.
Raj Kanwar is unable to infuse his film with energy despite the gloss and obviously high budget. The entire film has a lackadaisical and stagnant feel to it. It doesn’t help that the editing reduces the film’s speed to a snail’s pace and Nadeem-Shravan’s recycled songs turn up every few minutes without reason. Akshay Kumar is less than credible as a college student and football player, but handles the dramatic scenes toward the second half of the film with sincerity. This performance will neither help nor hinder his career. Aman Verma is patchy; sometimes good and sometimes awful. In either case, ill-suited to face off against Akshay Kumar on screen.
The two newcomer heroines are actually the highlights of the film. Both of them show much more talent and promise than many of the star-kid girls crowding the scene these days. Lara Dutta is average as the tom-boyish flirt in the beginning of the film, but makes a very good account of herself in the later, more dramatic portions. Priyanka Chopra is stunning in almost everyway. This is a great role for her; she pulls of seduction and genuine emotion with equal ease. Both girls look absolutely incredible, though the outfits Suneel Darshan and Raj Kanwar have them wear leave far too little to the imagination. Some irony that the film goes on to preach Indian traditions.
This film has been done countless times in Bollywood before, and with much better results in most cases. The film does feature two of Bollywood’s hottest upcoming talents, but their presence doesn’t merit sitting through the film’s mundane script and tired direction. Lara and Priyanka will be back; this film’s just not worth it.