The biggest strength of the movie Wanted is Salman Khan. And the biggest weakness…well, is Mahesh Babu! His portrayal of the poker-faced fearless and arrogant goon-cum-undercover cop in Pokiri comes in the way of Salman asserting his authority all over the movie. Not that Salman himself can’t be poker-faced and arrogant, he usually excels in those type of characters and is no different in Wanted. Its at the lighter moments that he doesn’t even come close to Mahesh’s superb comic timing in the original. I mean, a simple upma-comment would evoke chuckles in the Telugu version but a similar comment on pasta in the Hindi one hardly makes one grin!
Apart from the comedy, Salman Khan puts in a bravura performance and carries the movie throughout. He’s never one for expressions but the arrogance and brooding machismo of the role fit him perfectly. Ayesha Takia’s portrayal is commendable and she does quite well at the emotional scenes as well as the confrontation scenes. Mahesh Manjrekar is good…he’s very hateable as the lecherous cop who makes everyone’s boot-tip itch. Prakash Raj reprises his role as the villain and I didn’t know he could speak hindi so fluently. Assemm Merchant (he from the bin tere sanam music video) plays his right hand man and could’ve been given more scope. Ditto for Vinod Khanna, who plays Salman’s father. He’s too big an actor to be relegated to bit parts such as this. Inder Kumar tags along with Salman as his friend, a cruel departure for a guy who played the friend/foe in Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge so well. Mahek Chhal plays the vamp, averagely.