Movie Review: Yakeen

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

imageFilm: "Yakeen"; Starring: Arjun Rampal, Priyanka Chopra, Kim Sharma, Ankur Nayyar, Suddhanshu Pande; Director: Girish Dhamija

No one minds a spanking and gripping Hollywood adaptation. But why remake a lousy, unconvincing and wretchedly garbled version of Wolfgang Peterson's "Shattered" about an amnesiac victim of a road accident trying to piece his life together?

It's like re-visiting an unpleasant memory...on a particularly bad-hair day.

No doubt the film is aesthetically mounted. The hilly, misty landscape peculiar to most of Vikram Bhatt's works supports the plot. But the rest of the components fail the endeavour badly.

From the opening shot of a car crashing into a valley, the narrative does its own crash-and-burn routine, as Arjun Rampal and Priyanka Chopra, looking as much in love as two blocks of wood drifting and colliding down a bored stream of water, play a cat-and-mouse game which can only end in disaster...for the characters, and the film...take your pick.

Pique is the peak-purpose of this pseudo-piquant tale of deception, betrayal and gruesome revenge. In what looks like a heated-up carryover of "Aitraaz", Priyanka is again cast as the unfaithful wife.

Debutant director Girish Dhamija seems frequently inspired by Abbas-Mustan's style of filmmaking. The wife's character in "Yakeen" seems to be an uneasy mix of the wife in Abbas-Mustan's "Humraaz" and "Aitraaz". The mix is nixed from the start.

Too many speed breakers impede the callow suspense tale. One minute we see Priyanka playing the dutiful wife, a la Amisha Patel in "Humraaz". The next minute she's the hyper-strung wacked-out wanton wife, nibbling and biting the outraged Suddhanshu Pande's ears a la Sharon Stone in "Fatal Attraction"...or Mallika Sherawat in "Murder" if you will.

Writer Vikram Bhatt takes Harrison Ford and Greta Scachi's characters from "Shattered" and twists them into shapes the original would find hard to recognize, let alone accept.

The narrative momentum is sustained not through intrinsic conviction but by surface devices such as Amar Mohile's background music score (his second no-holds-barred effort this week after "Sarkar") and Priyanka's display of exaggerated anxiety meant to confuse the audience about her intentions.

Finally, as she, and the plot, hurl down the computer-generated cliff you are beyond caring about the characters and their steeply neurotic preoccupations.

There's scope for very little characterization beyond the protagonists. Saurabh Shukla as a private detective and Ankur Nayyar and Kim Sharma as siblings dwell at the surface level of the skimpily sketched suspenseful scenario, barely registering as anything but puffed-up props.

The performers try to be cool when their world seems to be falling apart. Only Priyanka Chopra attempts to breathe fire in her jumpy and absurd role.

She might as well have tried to scale the Himalayas on stilettos. Her fans would probably like the sequence where she creeps up on Rampal as he showers to whisper, "Kab tak intezaar karaoge (How long will you make me wait)? "

Our feelings exactly. "Yakeen" is like a terrible case of delayed gratification, more remarkable for playing around with the conventional man-woman paradigm in our films than actually getting there.

Did Arjun Rampal get cuckolded by Priyanka Chopra while he wasn't watching? Who the hell cares?

Bollywood.com Rating: 2