Director: Jehangir Suri
Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Bipasha Basu, Rahul Dev
Storyline: A photographer turns gambler when he gets a camera that clicks photographs of the future and soon realises he just has one week to live.
Bottomline: You won’t need the special camera to find out what will happen next in this film. But then, you won’t need brains either.
When life gives you lemons… Okay, here’s another one.
What do you do when your producer gives you Neil Nitin Mukesh?
A fairly good-looking chap, acting may not his biggest strength but he has those sinister smiles. With a face that’s vulnerable yet deceiving, Neil seems to be the kind who would go to any extent to make a little money, a persona he owes to Johnny Gaddar, his debut film. And boy, he can run. He reminds you of Hrithik Roshan, he may not be as talented but hey, he ain’t half bad as that Baweja boy.
Aa Dekhen Zara is the best you can squeeze out of Neil Nitin Mukesh – who may soon be singled out for this genre of dumbed-down crime-thrillers with guitar intros, quirky camerawork, slick cuts, surreal lighting, gun-fights and stylish clothes. The kind of cinema that will eventually give Johnny Gaddar a bad name.
It’s a fairly safe narrative structure, a formula that has been tried and tested over the years: first, a glimpse of something terrible that will happen in the future and then, a series of adventures as the protagonists try to stop that from happening, only to find that they are only inching closer to the inevitable. The TV show Heroes has formed a cult following with his formula.
So the story goes that Ray (Neil), a photographer down on luck, inherits a camera from his eccentric inventor uncle after his death. This antique piece of camera was probably invented after his uncle watched the ‘Back To The Future’ films back to back. And Johnny boy (yes, his name is Ray here but the first half of the film is like watching Johnny Gaddar in a parallel universe) puts the camera to good use by taking pictures of his hot neighbour (Bipasha) only to find a gun pointed at her.
Thanks to the camera, he saves the girl, makes a fortune at the lottery, the share market and the horse-races before the bad guys catch up on his secret. And to make things worse, the camera tells Ray that he’s headed into darkness.
The rest of the film is about Ray on the run with Bipasha to give him good company. Bipasha looks spunky, with a badass tattoo and attitude to boot and it’s only when she has to get her eyes moist that we have the time to discuss the glaring plot-holes in the script. Like why doesn’t he ever take a picture setting the date to the day after the D-day… Just to be sure, you know.
The stone-faced Rahul Dev playing a trigger-happy shooter called Captain makes things a little exciting with his cat and mouse game but this is clearly a Neil Nitin Mukesh showcase. Johnny is still a little raw on dialogue delivery, strong on subtleties and a fish out of water with heavy-duty drama. And, he can’t sing to save his life.
His self-conscious take on the Kishore Kumar song lacks the energy of the original and is smartly left relegated to the end credits, especially since it gives you a choice to walk out.
Like most horror films, Aa Dekhen Zara ends pointing towards a futuristic sequel that seems like a cross between Krissh and Love Story 2050.
Hurman Baweja, you may not be alone after all.