India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Tezz: Slow and unsteady

April 27, 2012

Film-maker Ram Gopal Varma, in a recent chat, said films are like products which have to be manufactured and treated accordingly. I’m sure Priyadarshan agrees. He certainly seems to make his films like assembly line products — all style, no substance.

Tezz“, similar to the Japanese movie “The Bullet Train”, is supposed to be a high-speed action thriller about a bomb on a long-distance train. Ajay Devgn plays Aakash Rana, an illegal immigrant in London who is deported to India, along with his co-workers after he is found working without a permit.

Anyone else would’ve found a better way to reclaim their life but Aakash hits upon the idea of planting a bomb on a train and asking for ransom, so that he can take revenge on a government which wants to deport “hardworking people” (notwithstanding minor details like whether they have a valid work visa or not).

He enlists the help of his co-workers and fellow illegal immigrants Megha (Sameera Reddy) and Adil (Zayed Khan). As the train races from London towards its destination and Aakash makes the ransom call, he realises he is up against two Indian officials (how all the top UK law enforcement officials are Indian is a mystery to me).

Anil Kapoor is in his “24” avatar as a police officer out to get the bomber while Boman Irani uses the same two-and-a-half expressions he has had since “Munnabhai MBBS” in his role as the railway security officer.

The one actor truly wasted in this movie is Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, saddled with a two-bit role and some atrocious dialogue, as a police officer on board the ill-fated train.

Director Priyadarshan isn’t bothered by plot holes the size of craters and dialogue and situations that are inane to say the least. But that wasn’t my problem with the film.

My biggest issue is that the film-maker depicts illegal immigrants as some kind of heroes — people who leave India to make a better future for themselves but are sent back, depriving them of a livelihood. Is that justification enough to carry out a heinous act like a bomb on a train? Entering a country illegally and working there without a permit is wrong — and to romanticise it is taking too many cinematic liberties for my liking.

This is one of those movies that can be watched on TV on a weekend when you have nothing better to do. Avoid in all other circumstances.

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