Third Movie Syndrome!
What is with all these hotshot directors? All their third movies seem to be their least. Indra Kumar with Raja, Raj Kumar Santoshi with Andaz Apna Apna, Mansoor Khan with Akele Hum Akele Tum and now Abbas-Mastan with Daraar seem to have reached their nadir with their third movies (not that Andaz.. and Akele.. were really bad, but they were a letdown).
Daraar is the latest and the least of the Sleeping with the enemy clones that have been going around. Atleast Yaarana had Madhuri and ┬┤Mera piya ghar aaya┬┤ and Agnisakshi had two solid performances from Manisha and Nana, if nothing else. This movie has absolutely nothing to recommend it. Even the half-decent screenplay (which gives the only star that this film gets) is a scene by scene lift from the Hollywood original. Considering that the original itself was none too great, three copies in the space of one year seems a bit too much.
Abbas Mastan have had a fairly good record of taking "inspiration" from Hollywood (Baazigar : A Kiss Before Dying) or Bollywood (Khiladi : Khel Khel Mein) and turning out fairly decent movies. There was a certain elan with which their earlier two movies were made. The movies managed to seem fresh. Daraar is anything but fresh. Everything in the movie seems jaded, right down to the placement of a song near the climax perhaps trying to revive the spectacular success of "Yeh kaali kaali aankhen". Doesn┬┤t work.
I don┬┤t think there was anything basically wrong with the script, except the ending. In fact, this movie has a better script than the other two clones. But it is sadly let down by lack of direction and some real sloppy performances. Rishi Kapoor should STOP, acting like a romantic nut, that is. Juhi Chawla, long past her Darr prime, is totally unconvincing as either the downtrodden wife or the avenging angel who spouts reams of dialogue about mangalsutra, etc. Again, I am not convinced it is her fault entirely. It seems the directors could not decide how her character should proceed. The worst piece of casting is certainly Arbaaz Khan as the possessive husband. As long as his mouth is shut, he manages to exude a certain devilish charm coupled with real menace. Once he opens his mouth, you want to laugh (anyone remember one Mr. Deepak Malhotra and his "Pallo"? Arbaaz Kahn manages to top that, almost). About Mr. Johnny Lever┬┤s comedy (?) routine, the less said the better.
The movie could have been good or atleast watchable if the directors had the courage to define their heroine┬┤s character properly and atleast get her to kill her possessive husband. I mean, here is the heroine shooting off her mouth about pativrata, mangalsutra and how she is not going to take her husband┬┤s cruelty anymore and I expect a payoff where the heroine kills him or atleast hands him over to the police. And what happens? The directors chicken out and put that tub of lard who goes by the name of "hero" into the frame and let him fight the villain. As if that was not enough, the villain is made to recant, give up his rights (what rights does he have anyway?) and let the heroine out of his life. Excuse me, but the last time I checked, we were in the nineties and I am sure the Indian woman has more spine than this pathetic character.
As for the rest of the contributions, Anu Malik┬┤s score only emphasizes that his 15 minutes of fame are way behind him. The camerawork is just adequate and the editing is not too bad. I hope Abbas-Mastan work on a better movie next time. They are certainly capable of doing better things, though anyone who has only watched Daraar wouldn┬┤t presume to think so.