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A pale copy of the Korean classic Vengeance 2, Oldboy (2003) this film lacks all the tension, music, world-class acting, perversion, shocks, twists and turns and cinematography that made OldBoy such a classic. Director Sanjay Gupta is seemingly on a roll of remakes, having recently done Kaante (2002), a remake of the now classic Reservoir Dogs (1992). I haven't seen that film, but this film is definitely a great disappointment.
Balajeet Roy (Sanjay Dutt) is a man who finds himself kidnapped one day and subsequently detained for 15 years without knowing why. After he is finally freed, he has no other thought but to find who did this to him, and why. Rohit Chopra (John Abraham) is a multi-millionaire who hates Balajeet and put him through this ordeal as a revenge. Only when the two men finally face off will the conflict be resolved, but not without one last twist that paralyzes Balajeet.
There is nothing much redeeming about this film. The acting is adequate, but Sanjay Dutt and John Abraham are simply no match for Min-sik Choi and Ji-tae Yu who played their roles respectively in the original. Some scenes are literal copies of the original film, and more often than not, they are botched. For example, the now famous corridor scene is completely spoiled, lacking the tension, style and energy the original had. Thank god, the film did not contain any standard Bollywood musical number, as they would have felt completely out of place in such a story, but even worse, the soundtrack is simply flat, with overly dramatic tones here and there to underline the drama, or overactive percussions for action scenes.
There are however a few good points for the film. First, it was shot in Bangkok, and that location provides ample opportunities for an exotic feel which was well utilized in the film. Second, the ending was rather interesting. The original subjects were simply too taboo for the Indian audience to replicate here unscathed, so the writers had to do something different. I thought they did a good job, and that was the only glimpse of creativity in this otherwise bland and disappointing Massala.
- Laurent Hasson