Welcome to masala ville – a place where the guy romances and jigs with the girl in exotic locations, uses fantastic punch lines repeatedly to grab attention, walks without a care, breaks into a dance whenever he wants to, and fights like he’s the most powerful man in this world! Yes – I’m talking about the cinema of the late seventies and the early eighties, where movies like these used to rule the roost with actors of the likes of Sunny Deol with the dhaai-kilo-ka-haath image used to be taken very often for such roles in such movies, which, over time, became an overkill, and where the tried-and-tested concept of one-man-heroism started to look clichéd to the audience – they wanted something new; something fresh; something to relate to! And after a very long time does one get to see a very brash, unapologetic entertainer which manages to entertain the masses, and how!
In this dog-eat-dog world, where corruption is on a consistent rise, what with the rate of gangsters and gangs of criminals rising constantly, a different but extremely powerful gangster Radhe (Salman Khan), who works for money and money alone, is asked by Gani Bhai’s (Prakash Raj) associate Golden, to work for his gang. Meanwhile, Radhe falls for the sweet, simple Jahanvi (Ayesha Takia), who is a victim of the lustful eyes of a corrupt Inspector Talpade (Mahesh Manjrekar). In the midst of this drama, Commisioner Ashraf Khan (Govind Namdeo) is in his efforts to eliminate crime from India by eliminating gangsters through his special team. But one fine day, a series of events leads to dire consequences of truths being uncovered, identities being revealed, and lives being crushed. Who will survive? Watch to find out!
Sounds very been-there-done-that, doesn’t it? But Prabhu Deva has given such a very 80’s story a very powerful execution, such that every scene creates an impact and generates ceetees and applause from the masses. Each scene (Shiraz Ahmed and Poori Jagannath for screenplay and story respectively) has been well-written, and each dialogue (Shiraz Ahmed again!) has been well worked on, such that every line sounds like a punch line, and every scene is THE scene! Picturesque locations of Greece (for ‘Dil Leke’) have been well captured, and otherwise as well, the cinematography (Nirave Shah, S. Sriram) really packs the punch and grittiness that accentuates the movie’s rustic appeal.
And who can forget praising the most integral part of an action thriller? Vijayan Master’s well-choreographed action sequences really provide the required impact that should be given to the audience, with each stunt given a perfect look and feel.
The placement of music is a sore point though. Apart from the electric ‘Jalwa’ featuring Prabhu Deva, Govinda and Anil Kapoor, the other songs just get in without any prior permission or knocking, which might annoy the viewer. But out of the other songs, it is ‘Love Me Love Me’ and ‘Dil Leke’ which deserve praise for its treatment, which makes the song enjoyable enough. The song ‘Le Le Mazaa Le’ deserves special mention for its brilliant choreography, though one might feel annoyed for (yet again, sadly) its sudden uninvited entry.
Other flaws include the pace, which takes a dip at places where some scenes were unnecessary and some subplots not required in the script. For example, the Manoj Pahwa angle really did not fit the story, and even the humor was cheesy. Tighter writing could really help the movie better, as watertight scripts (coupled with the right execution and right acting) help even the lamest of stories rise and shine. Also, the sudden abrupt end of the movie might turn some audience off!
When it comes to acting, the very first person that can be mentioned in this list has to be the one and only Salman Khan who makes a powerful comeback at the box-office after a series of disasters, namely Yuvvraaj and God Tussi Great Ho. His performance, if not his career-best, has to be his most powerful in this decade, with each scene and each frame being designed so as to give every move and verb of his a certain impact. He’s the man, I must say, something that must impress fans of Salman Khan and force the foes of Salman Khan to actually admit being impressed by his career’s most stalwart performance (if, at the risk of repeating myself, not the best)
Govind Namdeo comes back with his first powerfully positive role in a very long time, and plays aptly. Mahesh Manjrekar enacts the role of a corrupt womanizing cop with unsuppressed glee, thus making us notice that he has been consistently improving with each performance (though one misses his directorial days!). Vinod Khanna does well in a short role, but the only thing that was required of him was more screen time, which he unfortunately didn’t get! Mahek Chhal did nothing but added to the glamour quotient and tried to be rough, which was required of her. She isn’t disappointing though. Inder Kumar is decent. Asseem Merchant as Golden also doesn’t disappoint and in fact gives an able performance. But the most annoying performance is the unnecessary filler of a performance by Manoj Pahwa (who last impressed in Aloo Chaat), which was not required.
Overall, Wanted not just marks the comeback of Salman Khan, it literally announces it. With an ordinary plot given an amazing execution, I must say that this movie will be a darling of the masses and the Salman Khan fans who wanted that ONE bona fide “ego booster” featuring himself in almost every frame, mouthing the best dialogues, and best of all, kicking butt better than anyone else in the whole of the movie. Pseudo-intellectuals beware, this movie is not your type; it’s a typical fun movie that takes us back to the 80’s with a powerful execution. So go grab your tickets right now, and have a blast, while keeping your intelligence safely out of the way to enhance your viewing pleasure! Go for it (if only for the sake of Salman)!