By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Film: "Teesri Aaankh: The Hidden Camera"; Cast: Sunny Deol, Amisha Patel, Ashish Chowdhary, Aarti Chabria, Mukesh Rishi, Mukesh Tiwari, Murli Sharma and Neha Dhupia; Director: Harry Baweja; Rating: * 1/2
The one redeeming factor in this mixture of Hollywood-like thrills and desi kitsch is the effort at projecting a social conscience... Never mind if this conscience is extended into a film that never goes beyond the portals of a potboiler.
Harry Baweja tries. He takes a major part of the narrative to London where a mute girl Amisha Patel tries to run away from three murderous porn racketeers.
Mukesh Rishi, Mukesh Tiwari and Murli Sharma are truly repugnant in their sleazy avatars. They uphold the film's theme of voyeuristic viciousness with ghoulish delight, stabbing poor Neha Dhupia in her abdomen repeatedly until the mute Amisha threatens to scream for mercy.
The bits where the speechless Amisha has to run for her life with the goons in hot pursuit are nicely done.
Trouble is, Harry Baweja's new film lives in a house divided. It wants to emulate the slick Hollywood thrillers. But it also wants to incorporate potboiler elements from Hindi cinema.
While parts of the narration are done with slick candour, many bits are predominantly patchy and overdone.
The narrative veers from slickness to sickness with scarcely room for breath. Baweja wants his film about the porn racket to be cool. But his earthy cinematic sensibilities shine through in the way the songs (albeit done in the chic bhangra-pop style) serve as speed-breakers in this blend of Terence Young's "Wait Until Dark" and Partho Ghosh's "Dalaal".
Indeed there is a frail and vulnerable quality to Amisha's performance as the mute girl on the run, reminiscent of Audrey Heburn's blind act in "Wait Until Dark". She plays the central character with quite a lot of spunk. Sunny Deol as the super-hero, lifting two motorbikes together and thrashing a multitude of villains to a pulp, is slightly out of rhythm but nonetheless effective. But he needs to stop trying to dance. Among the rest of the cast, Ashish Chowdhary as a spaced-out self-absorbed filmmaker is mildly entertaining.
The film qualifies neither as entertainment nor a social statement on hapless girls being sucked into porn activities. Not after you watch Harry Baweja take those surreptitious shots of semi-nude white-skinned girls doing the pole dance.
Bollywood.com Rating: 1