It was quite a while since I went movie-watching and I broke that monotony when I watched Johnny Gaddar yesterday; directed by Shriram Raghavan, who gave us the much-acclaimed-but-did-not-taste-commercial-success – Ek Hasina Thi. Raghavan is also the writing mind behind TV Programmes such as Aahat & CID. Ek Hasina Thi had a dark undertone to it and whilst it was a revenge drama, Raghavan’s next offering – Johnny Gaddar is an erm…umm…Crime Thriller! At the acknowledgements itself Raghavan pays homage to yesteryear director Vijay Anand & author James Hadley Chase. Hence I was expecting a thriller of the “Whodunit” ilk but the movie was more of a “what-happens-after-he’d-done-it” rather than a “whodunit”?
The movie’s about five people who are technically a ‘gang’ but call themselves businessmen! Led by the respected ex-smuggler Seshadri (Dharmendra), they consist of a stock-broker Vikram (debutante Neil Nitin Mukesh), a wily gambling-den-owner Prakash (Vinay Pathak), club-owner and Mr.Moneybags Shardul (Zakir Hussain) & tall n’ big guy Shiva (Daya Nayak). They pool in some moolah to get their hands on drugs seized by a crooked cop in Bangalore (Govind Namdeo) so that they can sell them off later and make a neat profit. And when one of the gang member is en route to Bangalore with the moolah, the Gaddar strikes…and decamps with the money! The traitor’s decisions and subsequent actions trigger off a chain reaction and take the viewer on a thrill-a-minute rollercoaster ride. Full marks to the director to have kept the ‘chain reaction’ element was so marked throughout the movie….each event triggers off an even bigger event and the story marches from each such events to reach a shocking – yet fitting – climax. The screenplay was taut and after Ek Hasina Thi, director Shriram Raghavan has upped the ante – so to speak – of the ‘Noir’ kinda thrillers. The pre-credit sequences and the introductory scenes of the characters are pretty slick & Noir-y. I was also impressed by the sound effects…Dwarak Warrier always sets high standards and he does the same here too. Music is OK and there are no ‘Songs’ to hamper the narrative but a few bar-song-sequences do get in the middle of smooth narrative.
Acting-wise, the lead characters do a good job. The catty fight between two of the members is also well-shot but doesn’t add any element of doubt into the narrative. Rimi Sen as the heroine is good. Can’t see what others have saw vis-a-vis her acting skills. Neil almost looks like a foreigner (he reminded me of Karan Kapoor and that guy in Little John) and his diction was emotion-less. Also he looks suave & level-headed at one place and psyched out at others! Dharmendra and Vinay Pathak are the best of the lot whilst Zakir Hussain was good. Narrative was pacy almost throughout but slackens somewhat at some places. Also the usage of ‘dream sequences’ at few places is totally useless and the viewer comes to know that ‘it ain’t so’ very soon! The film does has its share of loopholes. I can’t lay them bare here lest I may give out valuable plot-details! The gaddar’s ‘discovery’ and the following climax is one of the highpoints and it would have been interesting if it had moved a little bit ahead (wishful thinking!). Johnny Gaddar is entirely a director’s movie and is a must-watch for all thriller-lovers and also coz it breaks the monotonous song n’ dance routines that we se almost every week!!!
P.S: I must say that the mazaa was spoiled by an over-enthusiastic fan in the theater who shouted out very compromising words at the start of the movie 👿