Bang Bang

Director: Siddharth Anand
Music: Vishal Dadlani - Shekhar Ravjiani
Year: 2014
Rating: 6.5

Right up front the film confesses that it is based on the Hollywood film Knight and Day, but I can’t recall Tom Cruise or Cameron Diaz singing and dancing. Which is a shame. I would like to see that. I enjoyed both films but Bang Bang has a lot more pathos which you would expect from Bollywood, but it also amped up the action scenes considerably. For example, in Knight and Day when they are discovered on that small island, they escape with a hidden helicopter – not good enough for Bollywood – in this one the girl escapes on a high speed mini-banana boat that can go underwater and he uses some electronic foot device that allows him to jump and somersault high into the air out of the water and shoot all the motor boats chasing them. And the end in K&D is pretty anti-climactic – in Bang Bang it is much deadlier and satisfying.

On the other hand if you thought K&D was ridiculous – which it certainly is – this is doubly ridiculous – but nevertheless I enjoyed it – maybe I was in the mood for mindless and ridiculous. Critics in India were not kind to it. I am nicer. It stars Hrithik Roshan in the Cruise role and Katrina Kaif does Cameron. I don’t know about their comparative acting skills but there is no doubt that Hrithik and Katrina have them beat stomach wise by a mile. Hrithik takes off his shirt more often than Salman Khan does in his films – total cheesecake moments for the ladies – and even I was like holy shit – six packs on top of six packs. Katrina’s was quite nice too. But his were like special effects. The stomachs look good together – they should have their own movie.

The film begins in London where the police are keeping India’s number one criminal – Omar Zafar (played by old time movie villain favorite Danny Denzongpa) in a top security prison - so secure that it takes his men scaling the outside of the building and crashing through the glass about five minutes to free him. Nice job England! And you want to exit the EU? Omar decides he wants to steal the Koh-i-Noor Diamond from the Crown Jewels and so logically puts a classified ad in the Indian papers asking for some Indian to steal them and contact him. Someone does – our hero Rajveer (Hrithik) who sets up a meet in Simla (no Love in Simla this time though). India is of course celebrating that an Indian stole the diamond since England stole it from India.

Meanwhile, a young bank receptionist is tired of being lonely and so she sets up an Internet date. This is probably the least believable part in the film – Katrina Kaif needs an Internet date? Well, after the deal goes wrong and a big action scene in which Rajveer races across the rooftops of Simla he ends up at her table pretending to be her blind date. And from that point it sort of but not really follows the plot of K&D – but with songs and a huge product placement ad for Pizza Hut and Mountain Dew (as I just did in fact).

There is a personal angle in this between Rajveer and Zafar that adds to or subtracts from the film depending on your point of view on corny melodrama – it worked for me. Very glossy and slick as Bollywood often gets these days with two actors who are just as glossy – so different from the old Bollywood films I have been watching – but it is the new age in trying to compete globally. There are only four songs and none for the last hour or so of the film – so they don’t intrude as much as you might think – one shot in a Buddhist temple among other locations with a cast of hundreds is lovely to look at. The music is composed by Vishal–Shekhar. Just as an aside - if one likes Katrina, she is great in the two action films Ek Tha Tiger and its sequel Tiger Zinda Hai as a Pakistani agent.