Reviewed by Simon Booth
Director: Ramesh Sippy
Music: R.D. Burman; Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Running Time: 2 hours 57 minutes
Five years after the breakthrough success of
SHOLAY, director Ramesh Sippy once again teamed up with Amitabh Bachchan
- and this time they're taking no prisoners. SHAAN is a grandly conceived
epic of action, adventure, comedy, romance, drama and a bald supervillain
who keeps a man-eating crocodile in his underground lair.
Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor are bad guys!
But they're not the kind of bad guys you hate... they're the lovable rogue
types. They're con-men, but they only con other bad guys. Their policeman
brother (Sunil Dutt) knows this, and when he arrests them it's really for
their own good. When they get out of jail he's there as a brother to support
them, and they earnestly decide to try and go straight. But their plans
of living an ordinary life are foiled when they get caught up in the investigation
of super-villain Shakal, a bad guy in the best James Bond tradition played
brilliantly by Kulbhushan Kharbanda. The good bad guys have to go up against
the really bad bad guys!
SHAAN is like every movie ever made all rolled
up into one, and barrelled through at a pace that makes the 177 minute
running time seem very brief. It rides a little roughly, with some pieces
of plot development and editing that challenge logic and continuity, but
with tons of energy and enthusiasm. It's not as carefully crafted as the
masterful SHOLAY, but it does provide the same kind of fun and thrills
that make DON such great entertainment. It's a grandly ambitious movie
that sometimes skirts the line between genius and simple madness very closely.
It's the kind of movie they just don't make anymore!
A movie so grandiose can only work with a cast
up to the task, but Amitabh rises to the occasion, oozing cool and commanding
the screen most of the time. As with SHOLAY though, the bad guy nearly
upstages the heroes - he definitely has all the best lines (plus an island
fortress surrounded by sharks!).
SHAAN may borrow most of its elements from other
movies (notably the James Bond movies), but it has enough personality of
its own to make them seem fresh and special all over again. You just can't
help grinning at the sheer silliness of it all, and getting carried away
by the melodrama. It's a movie treat, jam packed full of high calorie entertainment.
What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?
Reviewed by Brian
I just wanted to add by thumbs up to this film
and thank Simon for reviewing it and thus me having to watch it. What a
huge amount of fun! They really don't make films like this anymore - not
even in Bollywood - full of comic bits, fabulous music from the great R.D.
Burman and action crazyness that will have you lapping it up like melting
ice cream. During this period Amitabh seemed to go back and forth between
fairly serious dramas and these amazingly over the top and wonderful action
films. I have to admit a preference for the latter which may be a bit dated
but have not lost an iota of their entertainment appeal over time.
I mean how many films can you think of in which
a legless man rides around Bombay on a handcart and sings a fabulous song
or have an ending like this that begins with a huge musical number - then
has the tables turn like revolving doors between the good guys and the
villains for fifteen minutes - and then has Amitabh fight a giant crocodile.
I have always assumed that Dr. Evil from Austin Powers was based on a James
Bond villain but after seeing this I really have to wonder if Shakal wasn't
the inspiration - from some of his mannerisms to his inability to just
kill the good guys without trying to concoct some elaborate death for them!
The film has five songs - all excellent - but
in particular Janoo Meri Jaan is a complete treat sung on a bicycle and
a bus and is considered a true classic. Appearing also in the film is Shatrughan
Sinha as the circus trained sharp shooter, Parveen Babi as the quick fingered
and eye popping cleavage girlfriend of Amitabh (and perhaps not coincidentally
a strong resemblance to his often co-star Zeenat Aman) and Bindiya Goswami
as the gum popping honey of Shashi.
My rating for this film: 7.5