I had so desparately wanted to like [tag]Johnny Gadar[/tag]. I like noir. I like thrillers. And, i liked [tag]Shiram Raghavan[/tag]‘s last outing on [tag]Ek Haseena Thi[/tag]. I kind of liked the cast of the film – Dharam paji has been a favourite since i was a kid. and the promos looked interesting. But……….
But, the fundamental problem with Johnny Gaddar is that it is a thriller that is not thrilling. And, I actually cannot put my finger on what made the movie a less than satisfying experience. The shooting style is good, the cinematography interesting ….the editing is crisp… The music a melange of moods… the performances competent… but there is something missing. If i had to explain it in a single line it would be that the soul, the [tag]raison d’etre[/tag], of the film was missing.
So, overall though it is a well crafted movie, it is not a well crafted film.
What did i like about it… [tag]Dharmendra[/tag] for one… after a long time he has had a meaty role and he has savoured it… when Sheshadri tells you that "it is not the age, it is the mileage" when putting a 50 year younger Vikram on the mat….you believe him. Of the rest [tag]Zakir Hussain[/tag] rocks as Shadab, [tag]Ashwini Khalsekar[/tag] is brilliant, and [tag]Vinay Pathak[/tag] has fun. The problem is with the young couple…[tag]Neil Mukesh[/tag] is competent, but does not have the depth to pull off a layered role. and Rimi strikes me as not really being the type for whom someone will commit murder. She is as interesting as a cold, soggy idli. The chemistry would have been so much more interesting if the woman for whom Vikram commits murder was Aswini…
The tribute to [tag]James Hadley Chase[/tag] is everywhere…as is the ‘hat tip’ to thrillers like ‘Johnny Mera Naam"…. but there is a big difference. In a Chase novel you cared about what happened to the main protagonist…. here you don’t. and that is a very scary space for a thriller.
So it is worth a watch? yes…. if you don’t go in with overt expectations after reading the reviews. Otherwise, if you are seeing the film expecting the rebirth of Indian noir or Indian thrillers, you are going to be disappointed.