Khiladi 420  
Producer: Keshu
Director: Neeraj Vohra
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Mahima Chaudhary, Antra Mali, Alok Nath, and Mukesh Rishi
Music: Sanjeev Darshan
Lyrics: Sameer

Released on: December 29, 2000
Approximate Running Time: 2 hrs. 53 minutes
Reviewed by: Narbir Gosal
Reviewer's Rating: 6.5 out of 10

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In the tradition of the Khiladi series Keshu Ramsay brings us yet another īgemī from his Khiladi market to end the year off! The film which is touted to be the best Khiladi script ever (was that supposed to be a joke?) actually pulls off a few surprises, but still it is not a classic (well maybe by Khiladi terms it is!). The film does however portray Akshay in a role which is unlike anything he has attempted before, and he does succeed under this new avatar, and the stunts are the usual Khiladi Kumar affairs, good, they are a major reason to sit in anticipation (or if youīre lucky, fast-forward) of. One thing which is hard when reviewing this flick is to try and not let too much of the story out, there is an element of surprise, which I donīt want to reveal.

Ritu Bhardwaj (Mahima Chaudhary) is the daughter of the rich industrialist Shyam Parsad Bhardwaj (Alok Nath), who lives in a big house with her blind grandmother, and niece. Ritu has men fighting over her and vying for her affection (whatīs a girl to do?). One of them is Rahul (Sudhanshu Pandey) a childhood friend who has just re-entered her life as a police officer! The other is Dev Kumar (Akshay Kumar) whom she recently met in Canada. While Ritu doesnīt really intend on marrying either of them, they already seem to have plans to get together with her (quelle surprise!)! Dev (who is also a rich hotel manager) comes to India after his father's death and decides to settle there. Shyam Parsad takes him under his wing and gets him a very prestigious position in his company. With this doorway open Dev attempts to get closer to Ritu, and she slowly accepts him, but only as a friend. What she doesnīt know is that Dev along with his girlfriend Monica (Antra Mali) has hatched a plan to kill Ritu and get hold of her money. Meanwhile Shyam Parsad discovers Devīs true identity and is killed (by whom...well Iīm not telling!). The only eye-witness is Rituīs niece Riya, but she is knocked unconscious and rendered comatose (how convenient!). Ritu, who is obviously shocked from the tragedy, takes comfort in Devīs arms and marries him. But the suhaag raat isnīt really what Ritu has in mind and through a series of events Ritu ends up killing Dev! And then? Intermission! Confused huh? Well letīs just say that Dev has a twin bother Anand who comes into the picture and helps clarify (or confuse in some cases) things.

Performances in this flick are actually pretty good! Akshay gets to do a different role (at least for his image). His performance is reminiscent of Shah Rukhīs in Baazigaar. He is challenged more in the role of Dev as opposed to Anand. Akshay comes off as very menacing and terrifying especially in the wedding night sequence. This one will be a feather in his cap. Mahima is, has been and pretty much will always be a good in whatever role she has. She suits the character and does a good job in handling her character, plus she looks great in the film which is an added bonus. Her only major setback is that sometimes her emotional sequences can get a little nerve racking because her dialogue delivery suffers. Otherwise she has a meaty role and is pleasing as Ritu. Sudhanshu Pandey is passable as Rahul. He doesnīt really have much scope to act, anyone really could have done his role. This isnīt really the ideal launch pad, playing second fiddle to Akshay Kumar, heīll need be seen in different roles for a definite verdict. Antra Mali tires her best to breathe life into her character, but in order to do that she would need a good role to start with. Itīs surprising this is her chosen second flick after Mast because she is hardly there in the film. Roles like this will not get her far, but none-the-less the does her job well with whatever she has. The supporting cast is the usual, nothing great, nothing new!

Technically the film has its assets and liabilities. The assets include the cinematography which has captured some great shots of the Toronto Landscape. Itīs fun to see Toronto on screen. Action scenes were very well done! Akshay should take a bow for his death defying airplane stunt which was shocking and very edge-of-your-seat material. Never before has anyone even attempted anything like that. Other good stunt scenes include the climax scene and the wedding night sequence! Akshay has definitely put a lot of work into his stunts and they are sure to be appreciated. Special effects are good, but they are not blended into the cinematography well. With every special effect the screen achieves a glow which you canīt miss. The biggest liability is the direction. Direction is uneven and shaky in portions. Neeraj Vohra has a decent script and some compelling scenes but sadly they are not executed well. Of the scenes which are directed very well, the wedding night sequence stands out the most. It reminded me a little bit of Daraar and other Sleeping With The Enemy type thrillers. The direction of the songs is also decent, but what was happening in Batiya Bhuja Do? Akshay and Antraīa food sex was strange, but him throwing her on cars in a junk yard was hilarious, same with them both in a bulldozer. The song made the audience laugh, otherwise Kaisa Yeh Pyar Hai was well directed. The script falls apart in the second half and the climax needed to be edited because it was a little lengthy and overdramatic. The biggest drawback maybe the confusion over characters in the film. Many people were confused between Akshay as Dev and Akshay as Anand, plus the first half of the film has enough drama for a full film! This film seems to be put together in reverse! Usually the love stuff is taken care of in the beginning and then comes the suspense, here itīs the other way around.

Overall the film isnīt all that bad, but it is not a good work of art either. The definite assets of the film are Akshay and Mahimaīs performances as well as the stunts, but the script had more holes in it than swiss cheese. Many scenes came off as non-convincing and they overshadowed the well done scenes. Still the effort put into the film is apparent and may pay off. The film has realized a good initial, the next week will decide the final fate of this Khiladi flick. Regardless we already have another Khiladi film to look forward to! Get ready for Akshay in Khiladi Vs. Khiladi next year (Canīt wait...yeah right)!