Among the contemporary Bollywood movie directors, I am a big fan of the director-due Abbas Mustan. Their filmmaking style contains watching the DVD of some good Hollywood thriller, then getting the script of their next movie ready by using the theme of that Hollywood movie, changing the characters and the milieu according to the taste of the Bollywood movie audience and getting some good songs composed by the music directors. Earlier they used to borrow the title also from some old commercially successful Bollywood movie. This formula has worked well for them in many movies made by them. One such movie is Humraaz (2002) whose title has nothing to do with the story or the classic Hindi movie made by B.R. Chopra – Hamraaz (1967).
Humraaz was released on 05.07.2002 and I had watched it in the Aakash Cinema of Kota exactly sixteen years back with my wife and little daughter, i.e., on 07.07.2002 which was a Sunday. I had gone to see that movie being under an impression that it’s a murder mystery. However despite liking the movie, I felt that the directors were not interested in keeping any mystery or suspense in the movie. They were more interested in making a lavish movie with ample dose of thrill and showing use of modern gadgets.There are only three main characters in the story – Karan (Akshaye Khanna) who is the leader of a music band, Priya (Ameesha Patel) who is Karan’s associate in the band and sweetheart in the real life and Raj (Bobby Deol) who is a multimillionaire businessman. Karan manages to get the contract of running music band on Raj’s cruise and then his sweetheart Priya makes Raj fall in love with her. The director-duo has very generously exposed it at the interval point itself that the love of Priya for Raj is fake and she has trapped him in that under some scheme masterminded by her real sweetheart Karan.
After the interval, the game of checks and checkmates begin between Karan and Raj when Raj comes to know about the real link between Karan and Priya. However Priya bows before the real love of Raj for her and she no longer remains as willing to dance to the tune of Karan and be a faithful wife to Raj instead. Raj first decides to kill Priya considering her as infidel but soon he comes to know of the change of her heart also. However by that time, he has already taken his plan to ensure her death, only to be checkmated by Karan who is the real mastermind here. Finally, it’s the villain only who loses in this chess-like game, not the hero.
As said earlier, the title of Humraaz (someone who knows your secret or someone whom you have shared your secret with) has nothing do with the story presented. Though the narrative is very interesting and keep the viewer engrossed, there is nothing like suspense for him. After coming to know of the collusion of Karan and Priya in the scheme of trapping Raj and extorting money from him, whatever little suspense has been there, is also gone and there is hardly any suspense in the post-interval session. The curiosity of the audience regarding the conclusion has been maintained though.The story has been written by taking the basic grains from Alfred Hitchcock’s classic movie – Dial M for Murder (1954) which was remade as A Perfect Murder (1998). However the directors appear to be more interested in showing lavishness, remote-control gates, video-conferencing through internet (which was a recent development in the world of technology at the time of this movie), one-way mirrors in bathrooms of the cruise etc than having a good script for the movie, using those basic grains. That’s why their grip on the movie gets loosened at many places and the movie could not be as good as it could have been.Technical and production value wise, the movie scores like anything but lavishness leaves a positive impact on the audience only when the script is taut and engaging and Humraaz loses the plot on this count. Raj (Bobby Deol) takes interest less in his business and more in watching nude females through one-way mirrors fitted in their bathrooms. And mind it, he is the hero of this movie. His roaming about the world alongwith his cruise, leaving his vast business behind and leaving his mother in Jaipur (their hometown), also does not make any sense. The lead female character is given the form of a vamp in the major part of the movie but she turns out to be the heroine in the final reels. Changing her infidel and greedy character to that of a devoted wife or Sati Saavitri is sudden and not very convincing.
Himesh Reshammiya’s music contains foot-tapping numbers and can be considered as overall good. Bardaasht Nahin Kar Sakta is my favourite song from this album. Shiraz Ahmed’s dialogues are as average as his screenplay is.
Performance wise talking, both Bobby Deol and Ameesha Patel are average alongwith the supporting cast members. The real performer in this movie is the villain Akshaye Khanna who has delivered a sensational and convincing performance. He is a talented actor and was able to create his sizable fan-following in the initial years of his career itself. The movie alongwith his role may be considered as ordinary but his performance is extra-ordinary.
If you want to watch an Indianized version of Dial M for Murder or A Perfect Murder, I suggest you to watch Mukul Anand’s Aitbaar (1985) which is a much better adaptation of the classic Hollywood movie(s). Still, courtesy Akshaye Khanna, this Abbas Mustan presented Bollywood potboiler is also worth a dekko.
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