By Subhash K. Jha
Film: "Crook: It's Good To Be Bad"; Starring: Emran Hashmi, Neha Sharma, Arjan Bajwa; Directed by: Mohit Suri; Rating: **
Damn! Why didn't we think of sending the amazing super-hero Emran Hashmi to Australia before? Emran Saab's solution to global malevolence as provided in this disappointing mismash of masala and headlines is simple enough.
It's good to be bad. So says the smooth-sayer. Fair enough. If only the director had not decided to apply the motto to the treatment of this film.
At last our revenge on the Aussie attacks. This film is the ultimate comeuppance for the Australians… those so-and-sos who have been maltreating our hapless students who go to the firangi land to garner education and come back black and blue.
Blue is the colour that director Mohit Suri favours for his lurid leery look at gori babes in Melbourne. There's a gori chick and a brown chick for the Chick-let hero to chose from. He sleeps with the former and falls in love with the latter. As simple as that. Indian women are to revered. Foreigners are to be… you know!
In trying to do a ferocious flag-waving trick over the complex issue of racism and colour prejudice, "Crook" ends up making the Australian population look like a bunch of psychotic killers bashing and burning the good desi boys who have gone Under to gain gyan. Is this Australia or Chicago during the Prohibition?
But wait. Suddenly the script decides to tilt the imbalance. Now the goras are not that evil. It seems Indians too create an obstinate culture block when they go abroad. They just don't know how to blend.
Thoroughly confused in its politics, "Crook" is one of those films that attempts to combine conviction with entertainment and falls between the two stools in the absence of those tools that lend skilful curves and slants to the storytelling. The narrative is uneven lopsided and askew. The pace goes from sluggish to frantic within a few reels providing us with no space to observe the characters' motivations beyond a cursory glance.
Mohit Suri who revealed a substantial grip over his material and characters in "Kalyug" here seems undecided about where to take his plot. The people who populate the storytelling seem to start off on page 1 of the newspaper and then head towards the cartoon section.
Technical aspects, another strong aspect of Mahesh Bhatt's films, are on this occasion just about okay.
The performances miss the intensity of Bhatts' "Gangster" and "Kalyug" by a wide margin. But Neha Sharma makes an expressive Hindi-cinema debut.
As for our super-hero … Move over, Rajnikanth. Emran Hashmi is more robotic in his expressions than you can ever be.