Many Bollywood films lately have been working on getting the ┬┤look┬┤ of the film just right. Directors are realizing that a slick polished look can help even a medicore story seem entertaining (just look at Dhoom and Musafir). Vikram Bhatt┬┤s latest film, Elaan, is another excersise in getting the look just right, but in the process he loses focus on the story. Elaan┬┤s story is reminicent of
Sholay, it┬┤s just taken out of the rural setting and put amidst an international backdrop. To boost the prospects, Bhatt has also enlisted some of today┬┤s best looking rising stars to help. Unfortunately Elaan (like many films before it) is all style and no substance.
The film┬┤s Gabbar Singh is now named Baba Sikander (Mithun Chakraborty) and although we hardly see him do anything evil, he┬┤s the most wanted Indian on the planet. For that reason he lives in Europe where he runs his international crime syndicate. Extortion, Drugs, Murder, Kidnapping, it┬┤s all in a days work for Sikander. When he kills Kantilal Shah for refusing to cough up some dough, Kantilal┬┤s adopted son Karan (Rahul Khanna) decides it┬┤s time to bring the big bad boss down. To assist him in his mission he gathers a diverse team. Arjun (Arjun Rampal), is an ex-cop and has an expertise in laying traps. Abhimanyu (John Abraham) is one of Baba┬┤s former henchmen who is doing jail time. Abhimanyu┬┤s girlfriend, a bar dancer named Sonia (Lara Dutta), also joins the group. And then there is Priya (Amisha Patel), a shrewd reporter who is just chasing a story but ends up falling in love with Karan. Together these five forces come together to stop Baba, will they succeed?
Vikram Bhatt has never worked on an original project. He┬┤s always looked to Hollywood for inspiration. Elaan is his first film inspired by a Bollywood story, but the look is all Hollywood. Along with producers Venus, Bhatt puts out a stylish piece of eye candy, but looses grip on the story telling. The films first half is mildly entetaining and provides a few good moments, the second half is a letdown. Apart from the action sequences the film offers nothing in terms of entertainment. The plot development, and most of the plot twist are predictable and their treatment looks good, but is run of the mill. Pravin Bhatt┬┤s camera work is great, the various European locations are captured beautifully on screen. The look of the film is great. Dialouges are uneven, in some parts they work, but mostly they┬┤re just contrived. Anu Malik┬┤s music is a big let down, lately this music director hasn┬┤t been giving it his all. Elaan┬┤s songs sound like they were taken from a music bank. Their placement is equally bad, especially the group song. Costumes and styling by Anna Singh are a plus.
Of the ensemble cast only a few stand out. Mithun Chakraborty used to be one of the most sought after names in Bollywood. Then he started to stagnate and took a break. One wonders what it was about Elaan that made him come back to the big screen. Baba Sikander isn┬┤t a well written character, nor is he memorable, and Mithun doesn┬┤t leave an impression. For such an evil man, he doesn┬┤t seem all that menacing on screen. It┬┤s sad that a man with his talent is wasted here. Of the three hero┬┤s
Arjun Rampal makes best impact. He has become comfortable on screen and fits the action hero role just with the same ease as he did the comedic narrators role in Tehzeeb. The role doesn┬┤t require much acting muscle, but Rampal lends a certain charm to his character, and his character gets the most sympathy. John Abraham is equally charismatic on screen, and his confidence helps him pull the role off with panache. Abhimanyu is a character who will appeal mainly to the Mumbai audience, John gets the Mumbaiya slang and swagger down pact. His action scenes are well perfomed except for the odd screaming and facial contortions. Rahul Khanna does a decent job in his first commercial venture, but he is more at ease in offbeat films. As an actor he┬┤s amazing, but as an action hero he still needs to do some convincing. The two heroines a gun totting, butt kicking eye candy. Lara Dutta is comfortable in the action sequences, dances well and looks jaw droppingly gorgeous. Her pairing with Abraham is also fresh, but Lara is more intelligent than this. She needs to start selecting better roles, otherwise she won┬┤t last long.
All in all, Elaan is a waste of time, the film offers a lot to look at, but after a while it just becomes an exercise in staying awake. Vikram Bhatt needs to go back to copying Hollywood films, because it┬┤s the only way he can make a good movie (which is a sad thing if you think about it). The film is watchable for the production values and a great looking cast, but that should never be the selling point of a film. Simply put, skip Elaan unless you catch it on TV somewhere.