Planet Bollywood
Producer: Ram Gopal Verma, Ronnie Screwvala
Director: Vishram Sawant
Starring: Randeep Hooda, Chunky Pandey, Goga Kapoor, Rukhsar, Sushant Singh, Yashpal Sharma, Isha Koppikar.
Music: Nitin Raikwar
Lyrics: Nitin Raikwar
Genre: Drama
Recommended Audience: Adult
Approximate Running Time: 101 mins
Film Released on: 03 June 2005
Reviewed by: Shahid Khan  - Rating: 6.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 412 viewers)
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That is certainly an attention-grabbing title and is one of the shortest names for a Hindi film. But what does “D” stand for? It is short for Deshu (Randeep Hooda), the titular character who rises from being a nobody to an underworld boss in a short period of time.

There is nothing remarkable about the story as it is one that most will be familiar with. Indeed, I had to wonder why they even made “D”. Maybe that is an unfair question to ask. So many love stories are made with similar plots but not many people mind, as it is the presentation that matters. The same rule should apply to underworld sagas.

Deshu is witness to an incident perpetrated by Mangli (Raju Mavani), which gets him into trouble. He goes with an offer to Mangli’s rival, Hashimbhai (Goga Kapoor) to kill Mangli, as he is a “jaanwar”. Initially apprehensive, Hashimbhai accepts it, as he has nothing to lose with the offer. Deshu succeeds with the plot and he becomes firmly entrenched in the gang much to the consternation of Shabbir and Mukarram (Yashpal Sharma and Sushant Singh playing Hashimbhai’s two useless sons).

Ultimately, Deshu wins over everyone in the underworld circuit of Mumbai and he is seen as the lifeblood of Hashimbhai’s party. Raghav (Chunky Pandey) gives him solid support in his endeavours and stands up for him whenever the don’s two sons push them around. Deshu strikes up a relationship with a big hotshot Bollywood star, Bhakti Bhatnagar (Rukhsar). Shabbir and Mukarram deliberately misinterpret this situation to create confusion regarding financial matters and Hashimbhai gives the go-ahead for them to attack Deshu and Raghav. When Hashimbhai realises his folly, he attempts to restore order. But Deshu is not a man who forgives easily…

Unusually, Vishram Sawant’s “D” has three editors - Vivek Shah, Amit Parmar and Nipun Gupta - and unfortunately that fact is too obvious as the film gives the feeling that it perhaps has been edited in a crushing manner. The weak beginning is too ambiguous for the story’s benefit. Deshu arrives in Mumbai to mourn the death of his mother but this is never alluded to, only hinted at evasively. The train sequence where Deshu is suspicious that something that may have happened is nicely filmed but the overstated dubiety fails to work.

The problem with the severe editing carries on throughout the rest of the film. At only 101 minutes (short for a Hindi film), some of the scenes are skimmed through in a lackadaisical manner. For instance, showing more of the relationship between Deshu and Bhakti would have yielded some benefit. But when the development of their love angle is rushed through with a montage of scenes covered by music, you get the impression that there was more but that the footage was snipped off mercilessly by the editors. This angle could have added another dimension to the film but its potential to act as a contrast to the blood and gore scenes is never entirely fulfilled.

The dialogues by Manish Gupta are suitably stylish. “Koi kaam chota nahin hota, kaam karnewale chote hote hain” drawls a smooth Deshu after he is told that he is about to be relegated to do business in Gujarat, away from Mumbai. The technical aspects are rather clichéd in their treatment. The background score by Prasanna Shekhar is a typically thudding one and resembles the sound of heartbeats as a metaphor for the tension being experienced by the principal characters. There is a healthy use of steadicam to ensure shaky camerawork for the gunfight and beating scenes.

It is the performances that lift this movie to a watchable level. The main core of Deshu’s character is silence. He may or may not do anything but he likes watching people suffer… To him, the joy is in making people sweat even if he intends to not do anything.

Randeep Hooda uses this silence effectively to convey a mood of unpredictability. Deshu teaches a Bollywood actor a lesson after he manhandles Bhakti. The scene of the actor (who resembles many of the muscle marys currently clogging the industry) begging for forgiveness seems fairly over-the-top but it underlines Hooda’s restrained and stylised acting.

Vishram Sawant’s dislike of industry favourites is not just restricted to the scene of the Bollywood pin-up squirming and begging, it is also reflected in the cast, which is not full of huge stars but is largely made up of actors who have got a raw deal from other films. Goga Kapoor, that familiar face from conventional potboilers, gets one of his best roles here as the don whose ailing health connotes at his crumbling grip on his empire. Chunky Pandey’s performance proves that he is an under-used actor and his final expression in the movie stays on your mind. Rukhsar, who has returned 13 years after the melodramatic tearjerker “Yaad Rakhegi Duniya”, impresses as the classy star. Note how she is always fixing her make-up and even when she is half-hanging off a balcony, she is more worried about adjusting her


The grey roles offer nothing new for Sushant Singh and Yashpal Sharma but they still do a fine job. Isha Koppikar gets no scope but she leaves a mark in her final scene. On the DVD version, some of the songs have been cut out and offered as special features. Rajpal Yadav appears in “Yaar Dhokebaaz”, which is a song that can be found in the special features section. Although he is entertaining, his song/role seems incomplete. I shudder to think just how much was cut out in the editing room.

To go back to an earlier point, it is the presentation that matters. And does “D” succeed in that area? Not exactly, it is jarringly glossy and too self-conscious in its attempt to entertain and hook the audience. The marketing has been hokey too what with it being touted as a prequel to Ram Gopal Verma’s “Company” giving the impression that “D” is all about the rise of Malik (when he is featured nowhere at all in the film!).

If “D” will be remembered for anything then it will be for the performances by the lead players. The rest of the qualities in this thriller are quite a disappointment.

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