Planet Bollywood
Producer: Venus Films
Director: Abbas-Mustan
Starring: Bobby Deol, Akshaye Khanna, Amisha Patel, Johnny Lever
Music: Himesh Reshammiya
Lyrics: Sudhakar Sharma
Genre: Suspense
Recommended Audience: General
Approximate Running Time: 3 Hrs
Film Released on: 05 July 2002
Reviewed by: Rakesh Budhu  - Rating: 8.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.12 / 10 (rated by 413 viewers)
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Finally! A film worth mentioning. It is indeed not false that directors Abbas-Mustan are not the greatest in the industry. But the duo has continued to make fairly enjoyable films in the past, which are accurately made to please the Indian audience. Critics panned their last release, Ajnabee, yet it managed to do more than average business at the box office. Less than a year later, and more notably, less than a year after the film’s launching the duo returns with Humraaz, a different film with great music that takes into consideration the right recipe for success.

Carrying with it an intriguing tagline of “Between the three… they share a secret”, Humraaz takes its inspiration (A Perfect Murder) and throws in desi thrills and suspense, which at the very least is innovative in times of poor filmmaking. That Abbas-Mustan has mustered up a far above par product makes it certainly one of the better so far.

Humraaz is a thriller revolving around Karan (Akshay Khanna), Priya (Amisha Patel) and Raj (Bobby Deol). Karan and Priya head a band of sorts, through their progression in singing they fell in love. They get their big break when they are offered a job at a big exotic boat courtesy of rich man Raj. Needless to say they take the offer.

But as Raj is pleased with the talent of this band that he has hired, he is also growing heavily attracted towards Priya. And seeing green with naivety, Priya does not hesitate to respond equally. Now the budding relationship that once occurred between Karan and Priya is now revived with Priya and Raj, unknown to Karan. That is far from the end (let alone the middle) of the film and what unfolds are a number of twists of turns, which deserve to be kept secret for the sake of this review and for the film itself. On a simpler note, this time, a Hollywood script has been perfectly played in Hindi cinema, all the way to the end.

There are a number of reasons that make Humraaz a winner. Trying something different is an excuse many directors have used for simply changing the ending or one quality of the film. But Humraaz, like Ajnabee and to a certain extent Chori Chori Chupke Chupke, is a different film in its entirety and holds its promise on all accolades for great entertainment. Even the comedy, is well interspersed in the film, even if it is courtesy of three comedians, (the most noted of all being Johnny Lever). A great looking star cast and pleasing tunes also add some backbone to the product.

Humraaz is a great product overall. It’s script by Shiraz Ahmed and Shyam K. Goel actually seems like its been reviewed a couple of times for loop holes rather than assuming the audience won’t mind. And Abbas-Mustan take full advantage of it using the talent that they have displayed with their good products in the past. The direction of the thriller is almost perfect, with glitches more easily overlooked (including a slow second half).

But they have given their characters in depth dimensions justifying their greed, lust, desires adequately to support the going ons. And to support this, everything else in the film works. The film has a lot of these things to boost of and while Abbas-Mustan do deserve a lot of the credit, the other factors are just as important.

In the technical department, this is no superior product, but the needed gloss, style, is evidently there. The cinematography scores for most of the part without embarking any superb territory. And when the film has its musical qualities as such (including the background score which does its best in enhancing the occurrences), with Himesh Reshammiya coming up with some perfect numbers like “Bardasht”, “Dil Ne Kar Liya” and “Sanam…”, the songs provide us with some great entertainment amidst the thrills. The music is also served up well with the added fact that two of the three main protagonists are stage dancers. Combine that with decent choreography and the film continues to gain its marks in key areas.

With everything being unique about the film, screenplay wise, script wise, a good set of performances would certainly be the call of the hour, and that these three deliver. Please welcome [back] Akshaye Khanna. He seems to be resurrected courtesy of a Farhan Akhtar, and now Abbas-Mustan. Those who always knew he had talent have a chance to witness it in Humraaz as he shows his great range for talent completely playing the sly character perfectly. Definitely a contender for Filmfare.

And aren’t we happy Amisha doesn’t have any scenes to cry! None of the scenes where her neck is drawn in and the bones pop out! Wouldn’t that be enough to compliment on her on this performance? Amisha shows her talent after her last torrid affairs as she too embarks on newfound territory as a villainess (slightly). She carries off her role very well as a character-defined heroine. The actress and Akshaye also share a spark of screen presence that is seen in the sassy picturizations of the tunes Bardasht and Pyaar Kar.

Finally, Bobby Deol may have had a rough early half of the year box office wise, but has certainly given in his share of decent performances. Bobby shows a great deal of understanding of his character and does a great job as well, making it a three for three in the acting department.

Humraaz would certainly prove an excellent entertainer and a film quite viable for the movie ticket. You´ve got excellent- well placed tunes, an extremely talented star cast, and an intriguing story. And if you have any doubts, just watch last week´s two releases. You´ll be running to the theatre in no time.

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