Producer: Vijay Galani
Director: Abbas-Mustan
Starring: Bobby Deol, Kareena Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Bipasha Basu and Johnny Lever
Music: Anu Malik
Lyrics: Sameer

Released on: September 21, 2001
Approximate Running Time: appx. 2 hrs 45 min
Reviewed by: Anish Khanna
Reviewer's Rating: 7 out of 10

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Much hoopla has been made about the Americanization of Indian cinema and how Abbas-Mastan have dared to cross all barriers of culture by copying a bold film like "Consenting Adults", the theme of which revolves around wife-swapping. Well, rest assured - this is Hindustan and our "lajja" is still intact (R.K. Santoshi might feel otherwise). Let me dare to reveal to you that though the idea of wife-swapping does come up, it never really occurs. Still - Neeraj Vohra has managed to write an entertaining story which Abbas-Mustan have infused with their usual slick direction.

The film follows the plot of a newlywed couple - Raj (Bobby Deol) and Priya (Kareena Kapoor). They move to Switzerland so Raj can be a professional polo player where they encounter another couple - Vicky (Akshay Kumar) and Sonia (Bipasha Basu). The couples become close but it becomes apparent that the husbands share more common interests with the opposite wives. To top it off - Sonia tries to seduce Raj and Vicky goes one step further. He suggests to Raj that they swap wives for one drunken night. The next day things go haywire as we learn that somebody is murdered. And somebody is framed. Or are they guilty?

Abbas-Mastan do a good job managing what would otherwise be a confusing narration. They manage to reveal just enough to keep the plot tracking along the line of indifference. The problem is that with four lead characters and one supporting actress introduced pre-intermission in a fleeting scene - it isnīt too hard for the audience to put two and two together. This is not a complex "who-done-it". Still, they are somehow able to maintain as neutral a narrative as possible which is commendable in Hindi cinema - where nothing is really a secret. We all know not to believe somebody is dead unless you see their body and they attempt an interesting twist to get around that fact. Enough said.

The performances of their lead cast add to the slick direction in maintaining any suspense possible. Akshay Kumar is the real star here - but this is his third film with a similar role. It didnīt work for Shahrukh and it gets tiresome even here. Bipasha Basu makes a commendable debut in her seductive, confident role. Just brush up those dancing skills, honey! Bobby Deol does his job as the protagonist well. And Kareena Kapoor breezes through a relatively simple role. She is particularly good in the comedy scenes (David Dhawan, are you listening?).

Music? It does the job. The one song that really sticks in oneīs mind is the one that is already there - "Mehbooba Mehbooba" - which is nicely shot. Cinematography? Switzerland. Nobody has the power to make it look fresh at this point. Comedy track? DA. Thatīs "Donīt ask" for those that have seen the film.

This isnīt necessarily great cinema. In fact - donīt even bother comparing it to the "Lagaan"īs and "Dil Chahta Hai"īs of this year. Still - in a time where the world is at war, it managed to make me forget about that fact for almost three hours. That in itself is a commendable feat. "Ajnabee" is Hindi cinema at its escapist best.

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