In the run up to its release, the word BLUE has been associated with mammoth expectations, with three factors going in its favour:
1. A. R. Rahmanâ€™s music and Resul Pookuttyâ€™s sound design
2. The Rs. 125 crore budget given to the hands of an apparently novice director
3. The killer cast consisting of Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt and Lara Dutta, as well as Zayed Khan and Katrina Kaif
The tremendous hype and the near-perfect promotion had already sent the audience in a frenzy, so much so that the only other movie close enough to get its due (re promotion) was the Salman-Sohail-Kareena starrer Main Aurr Mrs. Khanna, whilst All the Best was struggling even to get noticed. Such was the gushing force of the Blue wave! Then the music release marked the return of the Oscar winning Rahman and whilst not his best, many people still enjoyed the fun soundtrack further increasing expectations.
With so much hype and expectations associated with Blue, the new director, Anthony Dâ€™Souza, was already associated with a lot of baggage without any prior release â€“ which was strange.
So, does Blue survive? Does Anthony get a chance to really show his mettle in Bollywood? Does it impress? Read on for a full lowdown!
The movie is all about three friends â€“ a conniving, shrewd businessman Aarav (Akshay Kumar), his employee Sagar (Sanjay Dutt), and Sagarâ€™s brother Sam (Zayed Khan). Aarav wants to find a mysterious treasure in a mythical ship, called Lady in Blue, which lies 250 feet deep down under the sea. Samâ€™s own problem forces him to flee from Bangkok and team up with his brother who, with the help of Aarav, comes to realise that the only way of getting out of the problem is to find the treasure. But deep down, a lot is exposed besides the treasure â€“ treachery, greed and more shades of grey than blue.
Letâ€™s clear some points straight away â€“ Blue is an entertaining movie with stunning visuals and electric action. But for a movie with mammoth expectations, the writing and execution of the sequences should be bang on, thus giving it the potential to be nothing less than a classic. Classic was what was expected of the movie, but classic it certainly isn't. Anthony didnâ€™t really miss the bus, but caught a '1970 Ashok Leyland' rather than the latest one!
For a novice, writer-director Anthony Dâ€™Souza knows his game well, and executes a number of sequences in the most top-notch manner. The underwater cinematography is nothing short of a spectacle, and is revealed right from the start â€“ at the extremely well-made opening titles, which floors the viewer and sets the base for what is about to come. And come it does â€“ a well layered storyline with decent characterization and loads of thrills. Time after time, you get to know a lot about the characters, their problems and the base of the story. And understandably, the pace remains slow for around the first hour of the movie.
But once the second hour starts, you begin to wonder if this really is all that good as its made out to be. Firstly, the nemesisâ€™ characterization (Rahul Dev) is very underwritten and underestimated, something that was only suitable for the Bollywood masala of the 70â€™s. The same can be said with the climax of the movie when everything is revealed but the manner of the execution gives you a sense that it was poorly written.
In the category of performances, Akshay Kumar impresses one and all with a fine performance of a shrewd and greedy businessman. His looks and hairstyles are very inconsistent throughout though, which is questionable of a movie with a huge budget. Ditto for Sanjay Dutt, who looks very fat in some places and decent in others. Zayed suits the character very well â€“ that of a biker with a passion for life in the fast lane. His acting also cannot really be questioned, as it suits the character he plays. Lara Dutta has a short role, but nevertheless impresses with her stunning makeover and her acting isnâ€™t disappointing either. Katrina Kaif adds to the glamour quotient for the limited seven minutes she appears in the movie.
Technically, the movie is first-rate. Cinematography, both underwater (as well as on land) is amazing. The lighting on the underwater impresses you. Editing by Shyam Salgaonkar is impressive, though at times it turns a bit choppy. The background score and music (by Oscar winner A. R. Rahman) along with sound design (by Oscar winner Resul Pookutty) are also amazing- they fuse the urban sounds with the desi beats really well. Rahmanâ€™s music is supported by some stunning videos.
Now for the flaws, and there are quite a few. Firstly, it is disappointing to note that for an action/adventure movie, the screenplay is not as tight as it could be resulting in certain scenes getting so slow to the point of being annoying! The problem with the story itself is that itâ€™s not so well-researched in many places. The navy angle looks very clichĂ©d and in some places, has loopholes that some ardent and picky viewers will not appreciate. Also whilst the performances are effective, they are not effortless. In fact, in some sequences, the acting looks very rehearsed rather than natural, which is disappointing. Another sore point is from the villain angle which looks a bit clichĂ©d. Not that Rahul Dev is miscast but more was expected from his character. Finally Kabir Bediâ€™s inclusion (even in a special appearance) is silly! They might as well have given him some dialogues, as he looks like a wooden puppet here which is disappointing given his past CV.
Despite the above flaws, the movie still manages to keep you hooked as you are regularly guessing 'what will happen next'. Also, the director has succeeded in upping the entertainment levels which also helps to hold the viewer's attention until the end. Dâ€™Souza has dared to do something different (as a novice) and was even given the budget to execute it (although in reality the production values look fairly ordinary in some places). Alas, if only Blue rose out of the clichĂ©d storyline. Maybe then we would be talking about a classic rather than a good film which it has ended up as!