A suspense-soaked version of Daag The Fire

In my review of Shart (1986), I had asserted that though Murder 2 (2011) was termed by all and sundry as a remake of a Korean movie – The Chaser (2008), actually its story was exactly on the lines of that old Bollywood movie (i.e., Shart) made more than two decades back. Therefore, it could be asserted rightfully that The Chaser itself was inspired by Shart. Now again the same situation has come before me after watching Jazbaa which is termed as the copy of a Korean movie – Seven Days (2007). However after watching it, I am able to contrast the theme of Jazbaa with an old Bollywood movie – Daag The Fire (1999) starring Sanjay Dutt, Chandrachur Singh and Mahima Chaudhary which was directed by Raj Kanwar. While all the reviewers are singing in chorus that Jazbaa is the Indian version of Seven Days, not a single one is pointing out that Seven Days itself could be inspired by the Bollywood movie – Daag The Fire. The scripts are different, no doubt but the theme and the undercurrent is the same. Jazbaa is looked upon as a thriller based on the issue of rape but in fact, the real theme of Jazbaa is different. It’s the story of a corrupt lawyer whose personal tragedy proves to be an eye-opener for her. The same is the theme of Daag The Fire though there is no suspense element in Daag The Fire like this movie. The role played by Aishwarya Rai in Jazbaa is akin to the role played by Chandrachur Singh in Daag The Fire. And anybody can verify this fact that the final interaction of Aishwarya Rai and Shabana Aazmi in Jazbaa is a ditto of the final shot of Daag The Fire involving Chandrachur Singh and Sanjay Dutt. Then who is a copycat? Is the maker of Jazbaa only who has unfortunately earned the ill-repute of lifting stories of his movies from foreign movies? But the thief is always the one who gets caught. Whosoever knows the trick of the trade, i.e., not to get caught escapes the stigma of being called a thief. In addition to Daag The Fire, Jazbaa is reminiscent of A Wednesday (2008) also when analyzed on overall basis. It can also be called a mix of both these Bollywood movies. Then why yelling the name of Seven Days only in the context of this movie and thus degrading the Indian brains?

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Now for the assessment of Jazbaa. After reading many negative reviews for the movie, I had approached the theatre with a low expectation. However my experience has been quite delightful. It’s a quality suspense-thriller though the filmmaker, i.e., Sanjay Gupta has focussed more on style than substance.

As clarified in the opening para of this review, Jazbaa (passion / emotion) is the story of a corrupt lawyer (Aishwarya Rai) who takes the cases of the outlaws and the guilty only in order to earn handsomely which is not possible by fighting for some cause or ensuring justice to innocents. However when her daughter is kidnapped, this lawyer who is a single mother, finds the world as upside down for her. With the help of her silent lover who is a suspended cop (Irrfan), she pays the ransom not in cash but in kind which is to get a convict of rape and murder free from not only the gallows but also prison. The bulk of the story goes in the efforts of this lawyer-cum-bereaved mother and her silent lover. On one hand, they are busy in arranging evidences in favour of the convict, on the other, they are busy in searching for the kidnapped child. What happens in the end, proves to be an eye-opener for the corrupt lawyer.

Though the director Sanjay Gupta has not done proper justice to the good stuff at his hand, the movie is nevertheless gripping right from the word  ‘go’ to the climax. The issue of rape is imposed on the script and the data of this crime given in the end are useless and irrelevant. Actually the focus should have been on the corruption in the profession of law when reputed lawyers become defense counsels for the people guilty of heinous crimes like rape and murder for the sake of getting exorbitant fees from their clients. But the director has not done so. He has referred to corruption in police also but not taken the issue to any logical conclusion. The romantic angle of the female lawyer and the male cop is also under-developed. There are  ‘n’ number of plot-holes and untied loose ends alongwith inconsistencies and contradictions in the script and many things are not clarified till the very end, the most prominent of which is the mastermind’s getting complete information of every move of the lawyer after the kidnapping of her daughter. How could it be possible? Sanjay Gupta may be knowing. The audience couldn’t make it out even after watching the complete movie. Besides, Sanjay Gupta only must be knowing the relevance of the title of this movie which has nothing to do with the story.

All the same, the movie works because of its pace. The fast pace of the narrative does not give any time to the audience to pause and think. The viewer just keep on watching while holding his breath. Besides, this is not a pure thriller. It’s a suspense-thriller. The suspense element has been kept intact till the climax which is a big achievement of the director. The film is completely successful in meeting its objective of entertaining the audience for around two hours.

This lavish movie impresses by its style, sets, action and thrills. Dialogues seem to have been specially written for the character of Irrfan. His one liners are able to arouse clapping from the audience every now and then. Editing is tight but confused perhaps because the script itself is confused at places.

No songs are required in this type of movie because songs only interrupt the flow of the fast-moving narrative. All the same, Jaane Tere Sheher Ka Kya Iraada Hai is quite impressive in terms of both lyrics and composition (plus Irrfan’s performance on that).

Jazbaa is termed as the comeback movie of Aishwarya Rai and her admirers are going gaga over her performance in this movie. However though the aging actress is quite beautiful even in her forties and post motherhood in her real life, her performance is so-so only. Those who are admiring her performance are not able to differentiate between acting and shrieking. Despite being a heroine-centric movie, Irrfan takes the cake as far as the clapping and accolades of the audience are concerned. However it’s Shabana Aazmi who is the best performer though she is definitely miscast for the role of the mother of a teenager (being in her sixties, she straightaway looks as the grandma of a teenager). All others are perfect in their respective places.

While advising all the reviewers to check the facts properly before terming any Indian movie as a copy of some foreign movie because almost all are copycats now (including both the Indian and the foreign filmmakers) sending originality for a toss, I recommend this fast-paced engrossing movie to all those who are fond of suspense-thrillers. It will prove to be no less than a roller-coaster ride for them.

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
This entry was posted in Movie Review and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A suspense-soaked version of Daag The Fire

  1. I agree though Aishwarya certainly looks beautiful but she went over the board with her wails.

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