Azaan: A montage of post-World War II espionage films

Producer: JMJ Entertainment P Ltd, Alchemia Films.
Director: Prashant Chadha.
Cast: Sachin Joshi, Candice Boucher, Ravi Kissen, Arya Babbar, Dalip Tahil, Sajid Hassan, Sami Gharib, Aly Khan.

MUMBAI: Most films in recent times may have been accused of having poor scripts, pilfered and plagiarised from western ideas; Azaan is the ultimate of such films. It has no script at all. It is just a sort of a montage of a number of post-World War II espionage films transposed in to the electronics/cell phone era.

There is some sort of anti-India plot hatching somewhere or the other as the film makes it look and one Mr Azaan with the hand of God playing behind him feted to be the saviour. The film is also a sort of a travelogue without a planned itinerary. Wink and the hero is in some other country (the film has been shot in eight countries including India).
Azaan Khan is an ex-army officer. Despite his mixed parentage of an Afghani father and Indian mother, he swears by Mother India and he has been enlisted by RAW (the Indianintelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing), nothing less, the head of which is some woman for whom a perpetually skewed face passes as acting.

Azaan Khan’s brief is to find and eliminate a sinister enemy called Doctor (Sajid Hassan), who plans to destroy India with biological weapons through a virus called Ebola. Doctor has the backing of a powerful enemy of India--hinted at as being China. The other tracks are those of Azaan Khan’s younger brother suspected to be a terrorist and the love he finds in Candice Boucher.

Azaan is all about action and special effects which to an extent helps camouflage lead actor Sachin Joshi’s acting limitations. Candice Boucher looks pretty but is removed from the proceedings just as suddenly as she was brought in. Ravi Kissen is economical with his expressions, using just one throughout. Rest are okay. The script is episodic and there is nothing linear about the narration which, coupled with poor direction, puts paid to any hopes of an interesting action film.The director seems to be fulfilling his fantasy of shooting a ‘Hollywood like’ film. Songs are all in the background and offer no foot-tapping numbers.

Azaan is a waste of a huge budget befitting a star cast film.

Jo Dooba So Paar: It’s Love In Bihar: A low-budget earthy comedy

Producer: Andaaz Production.
Director: Praveen Kumar.
Cast: Anand Tiwari, Vinay Pathak, Rajat Kapoor, Sita Ragione Spada, Pitobash Tripathy, Sadia Siddiqui, Dadhi Raj.

For low-budget earthy comedies, the Hindi belt hinterland seems to be the preferred location. The television and computer may have now exposed people in the interiors to a lot of what others are exposed to but some things or people still can hold this audience in awe. Jo Dooba So Paar: Love In Bihar is the coming of age of a local young man.

In the film Anand Tiwari is a brilliant school student who usually wastes his talent for wrong reasons, like spreading laughing gas during exams since his friends are not yet prepared to take the exam. He is booted out of the school and his father, a trucker, wants him to join him in running the truck. As is the wont of all such teenagers, Anand Tiwari is at loggerheads with his father, Dadhi Raj, chiding him for all the illegal things he does with his truck and yet expecting his son to do everything right.

Things get worse between the two when an American girl, Sita Ragione Spada, enters the scene visiting Bihar to do research on the local art and staying with her uncle. She is white skinned, thanks to her American mother. The young man is besotted and it is love at first sight for him. He does not waste time and approaches the girl boldly and offers to be her guide. He is now head over heels in love and the day he decides to tell her he loves her, going to meet her with a watermelon as a gift, he sees her with a white American, kissing and getting cosy.

This is when the Bihar angle comes in; the girl is kidnapped by a local mafia, her American boyfriend seeks Anand Tiwari’s help to find her but he is too heartbroken and feeling betrayed by her to agree. Finally, of course, it is happy ending and the boy and his father too are on the same wavelength.

The problem with the film is that it is far too predictable and there are no high points. Direction is okay while the music provides some variety in the form of local flavour. Dialogue is well penned. Performances by Vinay Pathak and Anand Tiwari are natural with good support by the latter’s bunch of friends. Sita Ragione Spada is fair. Dadhi Raj and Sadia Siddiqui give a seasoned performance.

Jo Dooba So Paar: It’s Love In Bihar is tolerable but not at multiplex admission rates; maybe later on DVDs and TV.

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