Director: Hansal Mehta
Cast: Sikandar, Neha Uberoi, Arbaaz Khan, Gulshan Grover
Storyline: A hairy, wooden player with three stock expressions finds himself as the villain responsible for kidnap and murder.
Bottomline: Not as bad as people say it is.
Introducing Sikandar, the new Suniel Shetty (remember Shetty when he first made his debut… this one’s comparable to that).
The introduction song is enough to rest my case.
Within the first ten minutes, whatever little expectations you had from a Sanjay Gupta production are reduced to zilch.
Which is the only thing that works for Woodstock Villa. That once you make your peace with the situation, things only get better.
The film begins with a hyperactive camera (Vikash Nowlakha comes up with a few gorgeous sweep shots otherwise) that doesn’t stay on anything for more than half a second as a couple (Arbaaz and Neha) have a fight in the middle of a nightclub and Arbaaz Khan ends every line of his with ‘Sara’ trying to drill her name into our heads. The next thing we know he’s yelling “You bastard” into the phone because a mysterious kidnapper is demanding ransom for his wife.
The kidnapper stays mysterious only for two minutes after which director Hansal Mehta decides to give him a full fledged cool intro song as he enters riding a Harley (he’s so cool that he can’t seem to take his hand of the clutch) and his sunglasses take care of the rest of the acting in the song.
One scene after another, the filmmaker goes to spell out the character: First, young Sikandar seems to take Love Thy Neighbour a little literally even if she’s married. Two, he owes money to his landlord Shakti Kapoor. Three, he’s in a nightclub with a friend telling us why he’s returned to India. Four, he owes money to bad man Gulshan Grover and five, even when he’s getting beaten up, has his pride in tact.
After getting beaten up, he bumps into the girl he met at the bar (poor thing hasn’t heard of valet parking) at the deserted parking lot late in the night and asks her for a lift.
Neha Uberoi looks like a sexier version of Soha Ali Khan, manages a decent debut, pulling off the cheesiest dialoguebaazi with a straight face. Sikandar can only do better than this by working within his limitations. All he has to do is steal roles from Suniel Shetty.
S.Farhan’s story is the only thing that keeps you hooked, in spite of all the plot holes. What sort of a con would take a bagful of money on board an international flight?
Smart storytelling is about tying up those loose ends, more so in a thriller. The film doesn’t become smart because you employ jump cuts, split screens and bleach the image. It looks like you just finished your first editing assignment in film school.
Hansal Mehta used to be a better filmmaker before he joined Sanjay Gupta. Now it’s hard to tell them apart. And, even Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai seems more mature.
Yes, Woodstock Villa is juvenile filmmaking but it somewhat engages with its gimmickry.