On my 33rd birthday, i.e., 30th October, 2002, I decided to give myself a birthday gift in the form of a suspense thriller watch since I have always been a mystery fan. The movie was Deewangee (2002)whose attractive promos had already caught my attention and from promos, it looked like a murder mystery. Hence giving myself the coveted birthday gift, I arrived at the world famous theatre – Raj Mandir in Jaipur and watched this suspense-thriller which did not prove out a murder mystery as expected by me. There was a murder and a mystery but the mystery was not about the murderer. It was not a whodunnit. The mystery was about something else. The movie does not deserve to be a flop but it flopped. The reason understandable to me is that it got released near Diwali when the audience in India is in a mood to watch good romantic sagas and not blood-bathing thrillers.Well, after several years, I decided to write a review about it because there is something in this movie which I feel the reviewers (there are several reviews written for this movie) missed in penning. Seven and a half years later I watched Karthik Calling Karthik (2010) in which the protagonist, Farhaan Akhtar is shown to be suffering from a mental disorder called multiple personality (I think, this term is better than split personality). There had come one more such movie from the South Indian director, Shankar under the title of Aparichit (2005) in which the hero, Vikram suffered from multiple personality disorder. The difference between the two is that while in Aparichit, Vikram’s personality disorder harmed others because of his dangerous persona usually hidden behind his normal self whereas in KCK, Farhan’s second self affected himself only, first benevolently and later detrimentally.In Deewangee also, the accused murderer, Ajay Devgan is shown to be suffering from a similar type of mental disorder (given the name of split personality by the storyteller). But wait ! Here the case is different because our hero (or should we call him villain ?) is only faking to be that type of patient, just to escape from the claws of the law under this excuse. He is able to make a fool of the object of his obsessive love, i.e., Urmila Matondkar; his benevolent and trusting lawyer (who considers himself too intelligent to be befooled by a criminal), Akshaye Khanna; a seasoned psychiatrist, Seema Biswas and finally the court of law, his ultimate target. However soon after being exonerated by the court on this ground, he exposes the truth to Akshaye Khanna. Why ? To warn him to stay away from Urmila who has been getting too close to Akshaye during Ajay’s trial. This is the interval. Cheated and hurt Akshaye now decides to turn the tables on Ajay and the second half is an adrenaline-pumping cat and mouse game between the two. In fact, the whole film is nothing but a game of one-upmanship between the two male leads. The climax is predictable as Urmila, the renowned singer, is also shown as loving the young lawyer Akshaye instead of her childhood buddy and music guru, Ajay. However the ending scene is the show-stealer as it startles the viewers and they leave the theatre pondering over the end that creates a suspense for them (which the entire movie hasn’t created). This, I feel, is an admirable novelty for which the writer-director can be given a pat.Most of the people know that this movie is a take on the Hollywood thriller – Primal Fear (1996) but it has glimpses of Yash Chopra’s Darr (1993) too in the second half with Ajay Devgan doing the job of SRK in Darr. The script-writer who is the director Aneez Bazmee himself, has done the job well taking the plot of Primal Fear as the foundation. The narrative is gripping and the people fond of watching thrillers will not be disappointed by any means. The director has been aptly helped by the performers and the editor to achieve his objective in keeping the viewer on the edge of his seat.Ajay Devgan has given a knock-out performance in his (fake) multiple personality role which is definitely author-backed. On one hand, his quick switchover between the two polar different personas is simply marvellous; on the other, his obsessive lover’s part is able to send chills down the viewer’s spine post interval. Ajay has done negative roles otherwise too (viz. Khaakee, Shikhar etc.) but never has he looked so fearsome as in Deewangee. This is his movie, by all means.
However, Akshaye, though miscast in the role of a seasoned lawyer (as he looks so young), has given Ajay a run for his money in the competition of acting. Nowhere has he allowed his character to fall weak before that of Ajay’s. Urmila has got little scope to perform but she looks pretty and glamorous. There is nothing much to do before the supporting cast barring Seema Biswas, the psychiatrist who has done well.
The biggest letdown is music. Urmila has been portrayed as a renowned singer. In such condition, music should have been the strength of the movie. On the contrary, it is the biggest minus point of the movie. The music director is unbelievably Ismail Darbar, the man who gave us enchanting music in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999).
While the movie is a good timepass for the thriller fans as well as Ajay fans, I am left with just one question in my mind – Is it possible for an impostor (howsoever outstanding actor he might be) to deceive an experienced psychologist regarding his (seemingly) mental disorder ? The correct answer can be given by a psychologist only.
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