I watched Race – the first part on television and thought it was a decent one time watch. It had a semi decent plot with loads of twists and turns, con and counter cons – as one would expect from an Abbas Mustan film. And it is usually easy to watch a bunch of good looking people on screen, all dressed to kill. Sameera Reddy was the exception to this with her vacuous role, but I learnt to ignore her as the film progressed.
I was not planning to watch Race 2 on screen and would have been happy to wait till it was shown on television (any bets on the timeline for this one?). However, fate had other plans for me so we toodled off last Sunday afternoon to watch the film.
The film opens with a yellow convertible screeching down a deserted Cyprus road. A very Hollywood-ish scorpion stands on the road (implying menace and danger for the ones who do not understand the underlying significance!!) and a lone gunman sets up a very large and fancy looking weapon on a rooftop in broad daylight without bothering to conceal his movements or intention. The car zooms into town and stops in front of a building. A man gets off and the gunman trains his sight on to………………the cover of the fuel tank. The car blows up and the gunman stands watching, again making no move to disappear. Wow! Cyprus is a blood thirsty island! And the gunman is one of the rare non Indians in the sea of Indians who seem to rule Cyprus and Turkey!
Now comes the voice over which introduces the characters. First comes Armaan Malik (John Abraham) – the erstwhile underground street fighter turned multi billionaire. He steps off a chopper and ramp walks into the film. The comes Aleena (Deepika Padukone), Armaan’s seriously hot half sister who ramp walks better than the brother when she is not chairing serious business meetings to make lots of money or seducing and then shooting men in crowded nightclubs. Just in case the audience thinks the brother sister duo luuurve each other, the voice-over warns you that there may be sinister undercurrents in this relationship.
Armaan and Aleena love parties, remember they are veryyyyyyy rich and can afford them. So Mr. Malik bumps into a young lady swishing across at a party and notices that she is a pick pocket. Does he order her sorry ass to be hauled out of the party? Oh no! He falls hook, line and sinker in love with this creature called Omeesha (Jacqueline Fernandez). Omeesha believes in wearing very few clothes and smiling dangerously at men before she attaches herself to them like a limpet.
Then comes the character we have been waiting for – Ranveer Singh (Saif Ali Khan). He steps out of the sea in low waisted jeans, slicking his hair back. He is also veryyyyyy rich and believes in conning and money laundering. We are never told why he was in the sea in his jeans but I didn’t care since I much prefer seeing Daniel Craig coming out of the waves.
As icing on the cake, we have RD (Anil Kapoor), ex cop and now the owner of RD’s, a drinking hole is and his ditzy assistant Cherry (Ameesha Patel). RD keeps eating fruits of various kinds and his assistant rues that he doesn’t eat (her) cherry! The film is full of their ridiculous interchange.
So Ranveer is a suave, smooth and rich con man who manages to hoodwink Thapar who is a very successful owner of 5 casinos. But being successful has not sharpened Thapar’s brains and he falls for Ranveer’s claim of being able to produce billions in counterfeit currency. Not only does he believe the story, he shells out a lot of money in order to make it happen. Money that he borrows from….Armaan Malik of course! Anyway con done, Thapar ruined and we see that this was all plotted by Armaan and Ranveer together. Aleena is the mean time has decided that she likes Ranveer and wastes no time in letting him know that. ‘Beintehaan…’ an amazing song and possibly the nicest part of Race 2 is picturized on these two. The best line of the film (missed by many since it is short) belongs to Aleena..”Aa gaye fruit and nut” when she sees RD and Cherry. We catch a couple of glimpses of Sonia (Bipasha Basu), Ranveer’s love who was killed.
The films moves on with everyone trying to con everyone else and RD being roped in everywhere to aid and abet. Ranveer announces his intent to steal the Shroud of Turin and convinces Armaan that this would be the deal of a lifetime. Armaan borrows money to fund this heist from Godfather Anza (Aditya Pancholi) – a man who has wears only black from head to toe (including dark glasses) so he appears as sinister as the directors want. So Anza tells Armaan to fight Typhoon (his champion streetfighter) in order to get the money. Typhoon has never lost a bout so Anza is convinced Armaan will not win. But Armaan manages to kill Typhoon and win after many long and gory rounds where he is severely battered. But the very next scene has him talking to Anza with a little band aid strip on his forehead – no signs of the broken nose and battered face!
The shroud is stolen amid ridiculous scenes of chaos within the cathedral and bomb squads headed by Ranveer. We then move to the desert where the shroud is to be handed over. More con happens here. The action then moves to a private jet, a fitting finale for the last fight between Armaan and Ranveer. So Armaan and Omeesha manage to jump off with the shroud and a parachute. Ranveer and Aleena are trapped in an aircraft about to explode….or so you think! They also manage to drive off into thin air in a fancy car with 4 red parachutes popping out of it! If all this was not bad enough, we have an expert telling Anza that the shroud is a fake; Armaan swearing retribution and Omeesha sashaying across to Anza since he now has claim to everything Armaan owns.
Learnings from the film:
- Indians are everywhere. They own casinos, head multi billion dollar empires, command bomb squads in Italy etc
- The title of the film has to be thrust into the audience’s face every few minutes. The word ‘race’ is used multiple times for no reason, just to remind us that the film is titled so for a purpose!
- Hot female characters need to have hair flying – in nightclubs, at parties and even in a fencing sequence! They also need strange sounding names!
- Billionaires trust con men. It does not matter if they are supplying counterfeit or delivering the Shroud of Turin – honour amongst thieves and billionaires is sacred.
- Billionaires have to strip in order to dance at parties – clothes are an unnecessary evil.
- The world economic crisis is a figment of our imagination since every conversation in the film is about a few billion euros – spoken very casually like loose change.
John Abraham should stick to keeping his mouth shut because he looks stricken each time he tries to emote; funniest being the confrontation scene with Saif where he talks about why he had Bipasha killed. He dances badly too, but so does Saif thanks to all the extra muscle mass he has added since his earlier days of being a great dancer. Jacqueline Fernandez cannot act to save her life, but such trivia would not have been bothersome to the makers of this epic. I found it difficult to believe that Anil Kapoor, after all his international exposure and acclaim would accept a cheesy role like this, but money talks! Ameesha Patel in her newfound avatar of being scantily clad and dizzy is profoundly annoying. Last but not least, I am convinced that Saif Ali Khan genuinely loves Kareena Kapoor. Why else would he look so bored and disinterested in his intimate scenes with someone as gorgeous as Deepika!
Scary thought – There will be a Race 3!!!
Copyright © Taraa Vermaa Senguptaa January 2013
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