I always thought that Mahesh Bhatt flicks didn´t get much better than Kabzaa, Kaash, Zakhm, Naam and Sadak. Thikana proves that point, but definitely ranks alongside them as one of Mahesh Bhatt´s best.
The film has many strong points, of them being the most important, the story.
It has two separate tracks and they slowly merge into one. It revolves around a deceptively corrupt minister (Avtar Gill). One day during a routine attempt at raping a young girl, his victim tries to break free. In order to do this she gets a cameraman (Madan Jain) to videotape the incident. The incident is taped but the girl is murdered thereafter.
The film then changes focus to another story. The narrative then takes us to a poor family that consists of a mother (Rohini Hattangadi), her older daughter who is the sole earner of the house (Smita Patil) and her son (Anil Kapoor) an alcoholic lawyer. Anil plays a full licensed lawyer but he won´t fight a case that involves lying and treachery. However, being an honest man he finds it difficult to actually acquire any case.
Trouble arises when Smita Patel’s character becomes pregnant from a Police Officer (Suresh Oberoi). She refuses to actually get married to the officer in fear of what will happen to her home once she is gone. This causes Anil Kapoor’s character to try harder at acquiring a case.
Eventually he gets a case from his mate who runs a teashop (Satish Kaushik in fine comic form). The case is from a nightclub dancer (Amrita Singh) who wants Anil to find her brother who is hiding from a certain minister because he has a certain tape with evidence against him. How Anil Kapoor unravels the mystery on who is behind the disappearance of her brother and who the real culprits are forms the crux of the story. It is extremely well written with some "killer" twists and turns!
The other strong point are the performances. Anil Kapoor is excellent! He has been given a very well written role courtesy of Mahesh Bhatt. Like all Bhatt characters this character is also flawed and reminds one of the alcoholic from Kaash and the fighter from Kabzaa. Never the less, Anil is very natural in the scene where he is required to act drunk. He also excels in the court scenes. This may not qualify as his best performance but is one of his many under-rated ones.
Smita Patil was a disappointment. She plays her role of a sister pretty well and does her job perfectly, but an actress like her is capable of much more. Amrita Singh doesn´t have much of a role at all, she is there for the song and dance numbers and that’s it. Suresh Oberoi gives a very good performance, he is a terrific actor with a booming voice and impresses here. Anupham Kher as a corrupt police officer with a guilty conscience has one scene where he stands out. The rest of the cast are average, Avtar Gill does well as the corrupt minister, but I feel someone like Paresh Rawal or Kader Khan would have been more suited for the role.
Direction wise Mahesh Bhatt is excellent! Once again he has a great story and a very promising cast and makes full use of them. Like all of his films his strongpoint are the characters in the movie and how well he paces the film. On the music side, the film is just about ok. Some of the cabaret numbers with Amrita Singh could have been chopped since they are unneeded.
In the end, Thikana is a beautiful film from the Bhatt banner and definitely worth a watch not only for Anil Kapoor fans, but also for fans of good films. It’s sad that the film is so under-rated.