By Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama News Network
When you carry the baggage of super-successful films like DHOOM and DHOOM 2, the expectations from your subsequent outing is bound to be gargantuan. Unfortunately, KIDNAP falls short of expectations. You expect a seven course meal, but you're served mere crumbs.
Let's introspect. Where does it falter? The boy versus man concept holds tremendous scope and writer Shibani Bathija could've come up with an enthralling revenge drama. But KIDNAP fumbles, stumbles and falls on its face. The cat-n-mouse game is hardly enticing and that is its biggest drawback.
KIDNAP comes close to ZINDA in terms of plotline. There're similarities between the two films. But KIDNAP isn't as dark and gruesome as ZINDA. Also, KIDNAP loses focus after a promising start.
The hallmark of any revenge fare is the suspense quotient. In this case, there's a motive behind what Imran does. And money is definitely not the motive here. So far, so good. But the purpose of kidnapping the billionaire's only daughter as also the chain of events that lead to the culmination is such a put-off. Things keep deteriorating as they reach the finale.
The culprit? Obviously, the writer of this lifeless, unexciting and tedious drama. Shibani seems to think that the audience is pea-brained.
Silver lining or just dark clouds? Imran Khan's splendid act acts as a soothing balm, but if the pudding is tasteless, no amount of dressing can salvage the situation, right?
When Dr. Mallika [Vidya Malvade] asks her daughter Sonia [Minissha Lamba] what she wants for her 18th birthday, Sonia tells her she wants to meet her dad, Vikrant Raina [Sanjay Dutt]. The mother and father of this kid have separated, we're explained at the very outset. After a spat between the mother and daughter, Sonia walks off in a huff and doesn't return.
Mallika panics when she gets a call from a stranger that he has kidnapped Sonia. The kidnapper, Kabir [Imran Khan], has only one demand -- he will negotiate with nobody but Sonia's father, Vikrant.
Reluctantly Mallika brings Vikrant back into their lives to save Sonia. But Vikrant chokes at the thought of taking orders from a criminal. But Kabir holds the trump card -- he holds Sonia -- and Vikrant knows he has no option but to toe the line.
Kabir tells him they are going to play a game -- just the two of them. Vikrant has to play by the rules set by Kabir and he has to play alone. He has to play to save his daughter. If he even utters the words 'Hello Police', it will be Bye Bye for Sonia!
Because his daughter's life is at stake, a reluctant Vikrant agrees to obey Kabir's orders…
Never judge a book by its cover. This adage suits KIDNAP to the T. One look at its promos and you know what the story is, but the screenplay is so amateurish, even lifeless at times, that you scream, no, no, no, no, no!
Gadhvi and Shibani open the cards at the very outset. The sketches at the very beginning as also Minissha's kidnap within 10 minutes of the start compels you to think that the follow up should be equally exhilarating. But things start going wrong from this part onwards.
Imran's clues for Sanju, the first in a train and later at an engagement ceremony, make no sense. Later, Sanju and Vidya Malvade's entry in the jail is bizarre. This part takes you back to the cinema of 1970s and 1980s, when nonsense dominated. Later, when Sanju refuses to take Imran's call, Imran lands up at his house. Which kidnapper, in his right senses, would ever do that? Even the flashback -- Imran's childhood portions -- are just not impactful. Ditto for the climax. The shootout at the New Year party is ridiculous. Seriously, the writing is pathetic!
Sanjay Gadhvi is letdown by a script that easily ranks amongst the worst of 2008. Pritam's music is another sore point. Barring the 'Mit Jaaye' track, the remaining songs are lacklustre. Bobby Singh's camerawork is first-rate.
KIDNAP belongs to Imran Khan. Watch this youngster take giant strides and you know that he has arrived. He carries the cold look effortlessly. Sanjay Dutt looks disinterested, as if he is about to break into a yawn. Minissha Lamba is miscast. She doesn't look like a 17-year-old in the first place. Also, the generous dose of skin show doesn't gel with someone who's held captive. Vidya Malvade is efficient. Reema Lagoo is a mere prop. Rahul Dev's character looks forced.
On the whole, KIDNAP fails to grip you and that is its biggest flaw. At the box-office, KIDNAP being teen sensation Imran Khan's immediate release after the blockbuster hit JAANE TU… YA JAANE NA would ensure a strong opening weekend, but the poor merits are sure to take a toll once the initial euphoria subsides. Disappointing!
Bollywood.com Rating: 2