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              Vaada Movie Review


More and more film-makers are opting for themes that defy the stereotype. Themes that don't follow the routine formula. Themes that may meet with diverse reactions/opinions. Some would go for it, some wouldn't.

Vashu Bhagnani's aggressively-publicized and much-hyped VAADA, directed by Satish Kaushik, is one such film!

Revolving around three characters mainly, the narrative starts focussing on the game of one-upmanship between the two male characters subsequently. The cat and mouse game - the duo trying to outwit each other - succeeds in arresting your attention intermittently.

But, to be honest, stories such as these have their share of limitations!

Rahul [Arjun Rampal] and Puja [Amisha Patel], a married couple, are completely devoted to each other.

One fine morning, they meet with a terrible car accident and Rahul loses his eyesight. On a business trip abroad, Rahul meets Karan [Zayed Khan]. Impressed by his dynamism and business acumen, Rahul asks him to join his business. They return to India and Puja is stunned to see her husband with old flame Karan.

Rahul's love for Puja is blind and unquestioning. Karan's love for Puja is obsessive and uncontrollable. Puja is trapped between a blind husband and an obsessed lover.

Now begins a cat and mouse game between the two. Rahul can see a web of deceit tightening around him. Karan can see a devious trap being laid for him. Will one of them succeed or will both fail?

First things first! VAADA bears a striking resemblance to R.K. Nayyar's QATL [1986], which centered around a blind man [Sanjeev Kumar], his deceitful wife [Sarika] and her affair with her husband's best friend [Marc Zuber].

But, in actuality, VAADA borrows heavily from director K. Subhash's Tamil film SABASH [Parthiban, Divya Unni, Ranjith].

The best thing about VAADA is that the story doesn't follow the mandatory Hindi film route of songs, followed by romance and light moments, before focusing on drama. In fact, director Satish Kaushik and writer Rumi Jaffrey have styled VAADA after Hollywood whodunits. The film begins with a tense moment [murder or suicide?] and the goings-on keep you on tenterhooks right through the first half-an-hour.

The intermission point, when the cat is out of the bag, takes the film to an all-time high. The twist in the tale is sure to catch a lot of people unaware.

But the post-interval portions are as erratic as the monsoons in Mumbai. The screenplay has some attention-grabbing moments - like the time when Zayed and his attorney [Rakesh Bedi] drop by at Arjun's house for a drink, as also the sequence when Zayed and Arjun walk on the railway tracks.

But it's not without its share of glitches…

The game of one-upmanship gets quite silly and childish at times. For instance, Zayed stealthily arriving at Arjun's house at midnight to place Amisha's jewellery back looks weird. Under normal circumstances, no one in his right senses would've risked going back, especially when the police enquiry is on and Zayed is supposed to be the prime suspect.

Even in the pre-climax, during the courtroom sequence, when the eye-test is meant to be the deciding factor [the judge is supposed to pronounce the verdict on its basis], it's not clear how Arjun manipulates the government machinery till the end.

One glaring defect is that the story vacillates between flashbacks and the current situations without giving much clue to the viewer. So much so that the viewer gets confused after a point. Also showing the cops behave like buffoons seems awkward. In a genre like this, it would've appealed more had the cops looked serious while investigating the murder.

However, the conclusion to the story is a saving grace. The penultimate reel - when Arjun visits Zayed in the prison and reveals the truth - is a highpoint again. It's deftly executed, although the unconventional end will meet with mixed reactions.

Director Satish Kaushik handles the complex subject well, though the loose ends in the screenplay do camouflage the plusses. The sequences between Arjun and Zayed are the best part of the enterprise. Rumi Jaffrey's screenplay is flawed and not arresting enough. Cinematography [Johny Lal] is efficient. Action scenes [Abbas Ali Moghul] are well executed, especially the fight on the beach.

Himesh Reshammiya's music is pleasant. 'Teri Kurti', 'Main Ishq Uska' and the title track are hummable.

VAADA rests on two strong shoulders - Arjun and Zayed - and though both deliver competent performances, it's Zayed who walks away with ceetees and taalis in the end. Zayed's role is crafted on the lines of SRK's character in DARR and though Zayed does go overboard at times, the overall output is a notch above the commonplace.

Arjun plays the sober part, a scheming man, to perfection. It may not be a flawless performance, but the sincerity shows. Amisha Patel hams. She just doesn't deliver. Besides, she's hardly there in the second half. Virendra Saxena, Rakesh Bedi and Rajesh Vivek are adequate.

On the whole, VAADA will meet with mixed reactions from the paying public. A theme like this is bound to find its share of supporters and adversaries. At the box-office, VAADA has some chances at multiplexes mainly. It will have to rely heavily on word of mouth to make some impact.

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