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|December 3, 1999|
It is unfair to call Govind Nihalani a bad filmmaker. Yet, you might be tempted to junk the talented man after watching Thakshak.
This is Nihalani's first attempt at making a popular film. And he goes overboard
Honestly, if you have seen Ardh Satya and Aakrosh, you would find it difficult to believe that Nihalani can ever go wrong: At least, not to the extent he does in Thakshak.
If you are a Nihalani fan and stumped by Thakshak, you may need to watch it twice to seek answers to all the doubts and questions raised by the first viewing.
Ishaan (Ajay Devgan) and Sunny (Rahul Bose) are friends and heirs to a construction business (read mafia activities). They stay together and kill together. The conflict begins when Suman (Tabu) enters Ishaan's life.
Suman is idealistic and hates violence. Ishaan wants to leave his violent life behind and get married to her. But his sense of loyalty to friend and his duty to father pull him back at every point, and he is forced to take part in a massacre.
Nihalani is simply superb with the camera. But that makes him a cinematographer first and a director later. The greatest relief from the inanities of Thakshak comes from the brilliant cinematography of a true master.
It is a myth that a director's vision puts a film together. A director is primarily a talent manager who somehow brings balance to the visions of several artistes, to the perspectives of people who are constantly interpreting the same film in their own personal ways.
The actors have their own vision of what the script is going to be like on celluloid. The cameramen have their own beliefs as do music composers, editors, costume designers and several others. It is the director's job to balance these and stop the enterprise from becoming hotchpotch. Sadly, Nihalani fails to bring this much-needed cohesion.
Ajay Devgan's character is not any different from the other roles he is choosing of late, but he has portrayed it very well. It is the best performance of his entire career, for which the credit must go to Nihalani.
Rahul Bose as the hyper and recklessly violent young heir is good. The scenes between the two friends are the highlights of the film. But these are few, which is entirely the audience's loss.
Tabu as the idealistic person is a little tiresome. It's a proven fact that she can act and she remains a favourite with most parallel filmmakers. But surprisingly, she doesn't have much of a role in Thakshak, except reciting some poetry and giving Ishaan a different perspective of life.
She appears only when a particular scene gets heavy or there's a song to sing. Ditto for Nethra Raghuraman's role in the film. Pity the heroines, especially Tabu, are wasted in inconsequential roles.
The songs sound good on their own, but are unnecessary in the film. They fail to add any spice to what is supposed to be a dramatic story.
Nihalani's competence in story-telling is apparent, but somewhere you get the feeling that he is not comfortable with the song and dance routine. Hence the effort seems contrived and the film looks jerky.
Thakshak is a testimony to the fact that a good filmmaker is not necessarily at ease in both popular and art cinema. Nihalani proved his capabilities with his off-beat films.
What stands out in Thakshak is not his direction, but his camera work. But this brilliantly-shot film fails to bridge the gap between artistic satisfaction and populist demands.
'I have not compromised'
Thakshak in Real Audio and Real Video
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