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Johnny Gaddar – Movie Review

October 1, 2007

Johnny Gaddar is not exactly a blockbuster, but it’s fast-paced and entertaining. I wasn’t disappointed even though I had expectations from this movie after seeing Ek Hasina Thi, which was director Sriram Raghavan’s first movie.

This movie has a similar theme, as the story is about a gang of thugs, but it’s centered around a guy this time, a young and brash gangster Vikram (Niel Nitin Mukesh) who is the youngest member of a gang of criminals. The leader of the gang is a seemingly innocent looking elderly gentleman – Sheshadri (Dharmendra). I don’t know why Dharmendra was chosen for this role because he didn’t look mean enough and his acting was average. Two other members of the gang…Prakash (played by Vinay Pathak) and Shardul (Zakir Hussain) stole the show where acting was concerned. There’s Shiva as well, who plays the thug Daya Shetty, but he did not have much of a role. Vikram is the protagonist, but his acting was average too and pretty below average in parts. He is paired with Rimi Sen. She doesn’t have a meaty role and basically plays the pretty helpless girl-friend, Mini.

The story? Well, the gang is about to strike a deal which will make them millionaires and this loot is to be shared amongst the five gang members. But thugs will be thugs…and as the title suggests, there is a Johnny Gaddar (Gaddar means treacherous in Hindi).

Reminds one of Reservoir dogs but Johnny G is different and it is interesting to read what Raghavan has to say about which movies influenced him during the making of this one. You read his interview here.

Raghavan has paid tribute to some of his favorite Hindi movies in the story. He shows various characters watching interesting scenes from old movies…there’s mention of Amitabh’s Parivartan and Dev Anand’s Johnny Mera Naam. I thought this was done very skillfully as these incidents (movie-watching) were kind of interwoven into the story.

Another thing I liked was that as the story unfolded (with increasing suspense) the characters came alive – we get to know the god-fearing man but inveterate gambler Prakash, the godfatherly but astute crook Sheshadri, the ambitious Vikram who wants to get rich quick, the nasty goon Shardul and tough guy Daya. The director manages this characterization vividly enough, without wasting much cinematic time, and not compromising on the pace of the movie..

I don’t want to give away too much of the story as the enjoyment comes from not knowing what happens next. There were surprises at every turn, right up to the last 20 minutes. There were several women in the film. Besides the pretty Rimi there is Prakash’s wife (Ashwini Kalsekar) and her acting was quite good. She played a pivotal role in the film…

The dialogues were not anything to write about home about, but the camera work was good and the editing too.

Inspite of the obvious faults, the movie succeeds as an entertainer. It’s clumsy in parts, but it has a fresh feel. If you like a dark sort of movie, you’ll like this one.

Unfortunately the theater we chose to go to was pretty dirty and noisy, even though it was a multiplex. The seats were stinking and some kids were bawling – don’t know how parents can allow their kids to watch all that blood and gore! There were torture scenes, and one of them was pretty sick! But one thing the stink in the theater helped with…the scene in the train toilet came across vividly!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2007 10:40 am

    I was a little surprised to see largely positive reviews for this movie that flew in under the radar. That was before I realized that it was directed by Sriram Raghavan who has the brilliant [i]Ek Hasina Thi[/i] to his credit.

    Your review has done the job – I’ll try to get a ticket tonight. :)

    And if he does decide to make a sequel to Ek Hasina Thi, I would definitely look forward to it.

  2. October 1, 2007 5:36 pm

    I often feel sad when I see Good directors fail to use capability of our Old n prooven Heroes like Dharmendra, Amitabh, Vinodh Khana, Feroz khan and many…. Infact this is real test for them.

    Some Directors did succeed like Sanjay leela Bhansali in ‘Black for AB’ & Maniratnam in ‘Guru for Mithun’

  3. October 7, 2007 2:29 pm

    I saw this flick last weekend…And the scope and screenplay is far superior to what they serve us in the name of thriller..Might be we finally gotta desi version of Tarantino and Ritchie ..The sub plots are nicely interwoven and rushes into one another like tributaries to form the plot..
    Two Thumbs up for Raghavan!

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