Mayank Shekhar's Review: Prince


By Hindustan Times

Film: Prince
Director: Kuki Gulati
Actors: Vivek Oberoi, Nandana Sen
Rating: *1/2

If a fledgling Great Britain with its poodle status in global affairs can have a super-stylish, self-serious Bond, a massively scaled MI 6 that can change or blow up the world, no one need snigger that India has a daddy-agency called IGRIP (Indian Government Research whatever).

Its swanky headquarters is in Dublin, with sci-fi gadgetry, smart suits for sleuths, too cool for school. This think-tank even lords over the CBI.

They’re in South Africa to protect an Earth-shattering microchip designed by an Indian scientist that two rival Mafiosi are after. This chip, if slipped into your brains, can wipe off memory, serve as new hard disk, and turn you into a completely new man. Your brains get attached to a TV screen, and everything you’ve done flashes before as a feature film.

The new man the pic’s trying hard to peddle of course is one Vivek Oberoi, who launched his career with Company (2002). He finished it off with a live press conference, whining over a rival hero (Salman), who wanted to beat him up for a girl (2004). Too sissy in real-life for an onscreen hero. Many thought then, in film-biz speak, Oberoi’d be the new Shah Rukh Khan -- a minor problem being, he thought he already was!

Tips, the music company, have now pumped in over Rs 50 crore on this star reborn. The hero is unlikely to have pocketed any chunk of those many crores. You can tell, the buck’s been entirely bamboozled on aerial shots, tumbling trucks, beach town locations, disaster sequences, and snazzy special effect. The makers could’ve handed over part of that cheque to John Woo as well, the director of Paycheck (2003). The supple inspirations are obvious. But that may be expecting a bit much.

Oberoi’s Bond gets three babes for the price of one; two villains, one of them called Sarang, from Narang (Don; 1978, 2006). Even the background score sounds similar to Don’s.

The hero zips around getting chased, while everyone’s chasing that super-chip. No explanation’s necessary. These are ‘producerial’ films: proposals, more than pictures. The same makers came up with the unbearable Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani (Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif), possibly the worst film of last year. It turned out to be a huge hinterland hit. So you never know. Quite obviously, moneybag-bizman Mr Taurani knows something about his audiences that we don’t!