Eeeeeeee this movie is so cool! Everything comes together so well - story, characters, settings, pacing, and I'd add dialogues if I'm allowed to gague them by subtitles! It all just works. It seems energies were expended to maximum effect and with no waste. It's so crisp, moving fast but with time to think about what's going on and why and who's acting in the way you think they will - and who isn't. Those are important qualities in a thriller: no one wants to be left behind in dusty confusion, but you want things to move. Speaking of movement, there are lots of cars and other vehicles in this movie, maybe because physically moving the characters around and changing locations underscores the idea that the characters' own facades and understandings of what's happening aren't fixed either. It's one of those great stories in which you know just enough to be able to keep up but not enough to get lazy. Knowledge is always in flux, and each thing learned has consequences. It's so interesting!
Everyone in it is very good - especially Dharmendra, whom I thought played his role with just the right touch and brought some winking film-world gravitas to this movie reference-soaked project.
What I feel I can honestly say about Neil Nitin Mukesh is that 1) he succeeded in this complicated central role, showing you how Vikram tries to handle all his lies and their consequences, and 2) he chose a really good debut film. Even Rimi Sen was compelling - I've seen her in several things and she's left no impression at all. She infused moll Mini with a nervous energy that kept me wondering what she was going to do next. Though in even smaller roles than Rimi's, Ashwini Khalsekar and Vyjayanthi do great things with what they're given as well. On that note: even though the female characters don't register much as developed people, they do and bring about a lot. That's new!
I really don't want to say or show much more because I don't want to hint at anything that happens. Just watch and enjoy the ride. Don't be surprised if you have to catch your breath a few times - but do be surprised at everything else.
A wee list of a few not-critical-to-plot things that caught my eye:
- She's reading R. K. Narayan's The Guide!
What does it all mean?!? There are tons of movie references in Johnny Gaddaar, but Guide isn't otherwise one of them, is it? And what contrast does it make to Vikram always holding James Hadley Chase (whom, incidentally, I just learned spent part of his childhood in India)?
- Fish=Bluffmaster reference?
- Look! So cool!
- The person who did the titles deserves a special mention - as you can see, they're so fab.
I watched them twice. Well done indeed, Huzefa Lokhandwala!