on Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Expecting an original film from the Bhatt camp is a Paap. Hey, get it the right way. i.e. Paap does seem to be an original story as for now (unless someone sneaks into a distant source). The story is a blend of an urban and a rural tale with the urban one getting as cliched as possible though the rural part has some captivating moments. The film opens with titles rolling aside a blunt beauty indulging in a passionate plunge in the mystique river of Spiti, a small monk dominated town in Himachal Pradesh. The religious head of Spiti gets a vision about his master's reincarnation in Delhi as a six-year-old boy Llahmo (Madan Bhiku), and Kaaya (Udita Goswami) is assigned the task to bring her back to the monastery. As typical Bollywood fate would have it Llahmo turns eyewitness to the murder of a police officer. Enter an honest cop Shiven (John Abraham) who turns saviour to the child and her lady guardian. Escaping from the murderer (Gulshan Grover) they move over to Kaaya's hometown. Injured in the escape Shiven is coaxed by senior monk Lama Noorbu (Denzil Smith) to stay back in the village much against the wish of Kaaya's father (Mohan Agashe). Obviously love blooms between Shiven and Kaaya. But then Kaaya is forced to quit all the worldly pleasures of life to join the monastery. Meanwhile the bad men drop in the village. The grand finale obviously leads to a happy end. In her debut attempt at direction, Pooja's passion to serve something different is visible throughout the film. But her portrayal of the conflict between the rural and urban lives turns out somewhat confusing. After a while the repetitive bantering turn sort of monotonous leaving the audiences puzzled. And just when one expects the director would contemplate something on the Lama reincarnation factor she leaves that aspect totally untouched. The pace drops occasionally and over that the heavy dialogues by Niranjan Iyenger adds a lot of melodrama. (Incidentally Iyenger is the same person who penned the light-hearted, humorous and witty lines of Kal Ho Naa Ho). As its strength, the film boasts of soothing music, a superlative background score and convincing performances. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's "Mann Ki Lagan" and Anu Malik's "Intezar" (the opening track involving the passionate plunge) are outstanding. The background theme pieces (which dominate a major portion of the music CD) add an engrossing impact to the proceedings. And full marks to cinematographer Anshuman Mahaley who captures the virgin eye-appealing locations of the Spiti hill station, 16500 mts. above the sea-level in Himachal Pradesh, with remarkable elan. It makes me wonder why some filmmakers still tread the Canada-Canberra path overlooking our local beauty. Abbas Ali Moghul's action sequence where Grover's sidekick is attacked in the grain storehouse is innovative. Some light-hearted scenes like the one where John milks a yak and rides a donkey turn out amusing. Akiv Ali's editing is satisfactory. Of the cast, John puts in maximum effort which is visible though his bare body parades in the extreme cold of the hill station. And man, the female of species can't stay much away from John (or is it the other way round). Paap too has its share of hot Paapi scenes. Debutante Udita Goswami conveys through her body language (pun intended). Mohan Agashe as a concerned father and Denzil Smith are impressive. Gulshan Grover plays his usual act. Child artist Madan Bhiku is expressive without gong overboard.

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