Antara Mali Shines Once Again,
Manoj Bajpai, Vivek Oberoi, Antara
The Film: Attempts at making road
movies, already developed into a separate
genre by Hollywood, have been few in Bollywood.
And if any have been made, these do not
strictly fall into a well-defined class.
But Ram Kumar Varma breaks new ground
alongwith his director Rajat Mukherjee
with Road, literally a road movie.
Shot for most part in Thar desert and
Australian outback in extreme weather
conditions, the film's narrative avoids
homesteads: there are frequent references
to the girl's parents - dad a high police
official - but he is never shown. The
road, passing through desolate, bumpy
bushlands and rocky terrain, with all
possible hazards, including the enemy
lurking in the shadows, plays in the
movie more like an antagonist than merely
a useful physical feature of the scene.
Chatterjee's camera keeps inter-changing
long shots of desolate landscape and
close-ups of the various characters
in and outside the vehicle on a long,
endless drive with the haunted couple.
The contrast and the communion between
the moods of the boy and the girl, besides
the guest they gave lift to on the one
side and the lifeless backdrop on the
other builds a tense scenario for the
is a testing ground for both Vivek Oberoi
and Antara Mali, whom we have seen together
in Company. Both made a good impression
through that movie, despite the veterans
they were with to match their talents.
In Road too there are Manoj Bajpai and
Shinde. It wasn't easy to stand out
against them, particularly Manoj as
far as Vivek's role is concerned. Manoj's
unusual characterisation as conceived
by the writer and its portrayal by the
actor on the scene was a big challenge
for Vivek. And it's satisfying to watch
him perform with a rare confidence.
Mali has to live and travel through a
scary experience from the moment they
offer Manoj a lift. Soon they both realise
their kindness towards a strange wayfarer
was a foolish act. Having eloped with
her lover was risk enough, they were caught
in a situation far worse than what they
imagined. The rest of the story is how
they manage to cope with an unexpected
situation created by a simple act of giving
lift to a man who seemed to be needing
help. He turns out to be a crazy chap
who is bent on doing things his own way.
In fact, he takes control of the whole
operation leaving the two to his mercy.
is nothing lacking inAntara's performance.
Apart from the serious side, she has also
to play the glam doll as per the Hollywood
norms, which she does with all the flair.
In fact, she outdoes Urmilas, Kareenas
and Raveenas when it comes to hip-swinging
and highlighting body curvatures. The
somewhat wild choreography gives her a
lot of scope to throw around her body
in all kinds of movements.
the movie slows down a bit midway, there
is so little to say in Rajnish Thakur's
story, it picks pace in the second half
and rushes towards a tense moment of
Our Film Critic
September 27, 2002