In 2007, if there is a film which truly deserved to go all the way in becoming a major box office winner but didn't quite reach there, it has to be Johnny Gaddaar. There could be million reasons cited (none of which are directly related to the film and it's execution though) for a relative shorter stay of the film at the theaters. The good news though is that with the film's DVD release, a true film fan now gets a chance to see one of the best ever entertaining as well as intelligent thrillers to be coming out of Hindi cinema.
The film comes in single DVD with the film's duration being a little over 2 hours and features adding up to another 1 hour approximately.MOVIE DETAILS
Cast: Dharmendra, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Rimi Sen, Vinay Pathak, Zakir Hussain, Govind
Namdeo, Daya Shetty and Ashwini Kalsekar
Writer and Director: Sriram Raghavan
Music: Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Daniel George
Director of Photography: C.K. Muraleedharan
Special features in the include
- Making of Johnny Gaddaar
- Alternate Ending
- Music Videos
- Audio Commentary with Director, DOP and Editor
After viewing these features, one thing is for sure that the DVD would be memorable mainly for watching the film in itself rather than the special features. It is apparent that there is no additional effort spent in making the DVD a complete package by means of incorporating certain aspects about the film which one wasn't aware about during it's promotion. Nothing catastrophic here though since in the end, the film in itself is a good enough reason to go for owning a copy of Johnny Gaddaar.
MAKING OF JOHNNY GADDAAR is a standard 23 minutes feature where the director, actors and composers speak about the subject of the film, what prompted them to sign for it, how was it working with the director and co-stars etc. etc. Some interesting talks though are around acting rehearsals, creation of 70s style background score, roping in musicians from the past who had actually worked with the likes of Kalyanji Anandji and RD Burman and how background music was supposed to get the essence of Quentin Tarantino meeting Kalyanji Anandji! In addition, Sriram also reveals his inspiration behind the film by joking that he has lifted from each of those 240 odd movies world over which have Johnny in their title!
ALTERNATE ENDING is the most disappointing and seemingly needless part of the DVD. It spans barely a minute and has little relevance to the film as more than giving an alternate view of the film; it barely shows an extended version with a small flashback around the principal actors getting into an impromptu song and dance mode with Dharmendra leading the pack. In the hindsight, it is good that the film stuck to it's original ending since the alternate ending would have only diluted the otherwise hammer strong impact!
For those fond of song and dance, there are MUSIC VIDEOS like 'Johnny Gaddaar Title Track', 'Move Your Body featuring Hard Kaur' and 'Dhokha' which were either not present in the film at all or were in their edited format.
GAGBAG is amusing as it showcases some of the goofs that happened during the filming of Johnny Gaddaar. Watch out for the shots where DOP Muraleedharan teaches Dharmendra's on-screen wife how to furl a saree's pallu, Vinay Pathak's kid disappearing when required to be on frame or the door, Rimmi's lipstick failing to leave an impression on the mirror and many more! Wish this section was more than it's barely 200 seconds duration!
AUDIO COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR, DOP AND EDITOR is decent but not excellent. There are three reasons for that -
a) It doesn't have the kind of energy that one expected from the commentary for a thriller
b) More than a director's commentary, there is more of editor's commentary here as Pooja Ladha Surti, the film's editor, does most of the talking. So much so that at places it is annoying to see frequent interruptions which change the flow
c) Each and every frame in the film seems to be liked or loved by the three people presenting the DVD. Nothing wrong with the thought since it is obvious that a maker would always be passionate about his/her film. However, as an audience one wants to hear much more than a prefix statement 'I like/love this shot' beginning a narration!
During first 15 minutes, one tends to loose interest in the commentary due to lack of energy and a predominantly coffee table kind of conversation where the three technicians seem to be talking amongst themselves while being seemingly oblivious to the audience listening to them in their living room. However, the moment one adjusts to this fact and starts paying attention to what the trio is talking about; audience is made aware about numerous interesting facts about the film such as
- What makes Dharmendra's English interesting
- How the song from 'Bandini' came into picture
- The significance of color red in most of the frames
- Actual locations being chosen for shooting the film
- A year long break during the shooting failing to hamper the flow of the narrative
- Idea behind the cop (played by Govind Namdeo) going into coma conceptualized and then scrapped
- Godfather II inspiration during a key murder sequence
- A record that may have been created around Johnny Gaddaar being the first gangster movie where no gangster smokes
- 70s gold smuggling concept
- Why Sriram feels that his film is not suitable for kids less than 13 year old of age
..and many more!
16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation
Subtitles In English
5.1 Dolby Digital and Stereo
en though the special features are the not the kind that one would die to revisit after the first viewing, the film is quite good which makes you explore new facets about it with every viewing! Rimmi passes an interesting comment during the 'Making of the film' - When asked about her co-star Neil she says in a lighter vein, 'Achcha bolna hi padega isliye bol rahi hoon' (I am saying good things about him because I am required to!). Well, saying good things about the film Johnny Gaddaar is not just for the sake of saying so!