They say that you have to taste the bitter to appreciate the sweet. Well, it is this humble reviewer’s hope that the adage holds true in this case! ‘Blackmail’ is the first of the three black films that Bollywood has to offer in this new year(Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Black Friday’ and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Big B-Rani starrer ‘Black’ are the other two). And one wishes that this wretched piece of film-making is only the bitter that will help us appreciate the sweet.‘Blackmail’ is directed by Ajay Devgan’s cousin, Anil Devgan. Understandably, one can excuse Ajay for having acted in this debacle. But then, Ajay also starred in this year’s recent disaster called ‘Insan’! Why do established actors like Ajay and Akshay Kumar(his partner-in-crime) have to act in movies like ‘Insan’ is something that baffles me. Especially when they are both financially sound and gifted in the acting department too!
Anyway, back to ‘Blackmail’. If you care enough, here are the details. Shekhar(Ajay) is a former car rally driver who uses his driving skills to assist criminals from escaping the scene of crime. Jason Statham’s ‘The Transporter’, anyone? After having eluded the police several times, he is finally caught by ACP Ajay Singh Rathore(Sunil Shetty) during a car-chase that results in the death of Shekhar’s pregnant wife, but not before she gives birth to his child. Locked behind bars, Shekhar awaits his release and the opportunity to get even with Ajay. By the time he’s out of prison, Ajay has a wife(Priyanka Chopra) and an eight year-old son Chirag(Parth Dave). The title of the movie doesn’t really come into play until midway when Shekhar kidnaps Chirag for information on his own child’s whereabouts. And just like Chirag is held hostage, we- the audience are held hostage to this mind-numbing crap as well.
Marketed as a thriller, the film hardly has any thrilling moments. The screamplay(written by Robin Bhatt) lacks vigour and the dialogues(Javed Siddiqui) are amateurish. The cinematography(Nirmal Jani) is dizzy and the actions(Allan-Amin) irritate with its various influences(side note: ‘The Matrix’ should never have been released in India). The music department fails very badly, what with the songs sounding too familiar and the background score(Amar Mohile) lifted unashamedly from John Debney’s fabulous work on ‘The Passion Of The Christ’. Himesh Reshammiya seems determined to become the next rickshaw favourite after Nadeem-Shravan. His tunes cater specifically to this stratum.Finally it is left to the competent Ajay Devgan to lend this film some credibility. And he does too! He performs his part with utmost diligence. But even he won’t be able to guarantee success to this film. Sunil Shetty is terrible to say the least. He dresses up like a club bouncer and resembles anything but a man of the force. The women have pretty little to do than dance(especially an item song that is unquestionably in very bad taste). The only positive thing about this forgettable flick is its running time which is roughly about 120 minutes. And thank god for that!
Reviewed on the 28th, January 2005