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July 7, 2000

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Oh, for an aspirin!

Sukanya Verma

Bichhoo What stings you to death?

Which is the most deadly astrological sign?

What gives you migraine?

Which is one of the most painful films of the year?

The answer to all these queries is Bichhoo.

The film is a total rip off from Luc Bessonís Leon -- The Professional, with shades of Val Kilmer's The Saint. In the original, there was no romantic angle. It was a straightforward story of a hit man and a young kid. Sadly, cliches are a part and parcel of Hindi cinema, experiments are a rarity.

Our lead protagonist, Jeeva (Bobby Deol), is a paid assassin with a hidden identity and a tragic past. But he pretends to lead a normal life. His marked characteristics are that he drinks milk, does sit-ups and pets a scorpion (in the original, he would water a plant, but we need to justify the title, don't we?).

Jeevaís neighbour is the abusive, rebellious, nose-ringed, tattooed smoker Kiran (Rani Mukherjee). Her entire life shatters around her when her parents and brother (Sachin Khedekar) are shot dead by the chief of the narcotics department, Devraj Khatri (Ashish Vidyarthi), a drug addict himself.

Bichhoo Obviously, she goes to scorpion man Jeeva for protection against the villainous Devraj?

So the duo actually set up a new house, buy household articles, dance in Mauritius and ultimately fall in love. The rest of the film is as predictable as it comes, though some may find the climax a bit unusual.

Bobby Deolís performance is quite, well, robotic. He religiously hangs on to a brooding expression right through the film. Why o why doesn't someone insist he goes to an acting school?

Rani Mukherjee comes up with an extremely loud performance. She screams throughout the film in an effort to look cute, but the outcome is only irritating.

Ashish Vidyarthi looks as if he is suffering from some allergy, instead of looking like a drug addict.

Malaika Arora makes a special appearance in the film. Of her performance, the less said the better.

The title of the film has absolutely no significance to the story. It is preposterous to title a film Bichhoo, simply because the hero pets one.

Anand Raj Anand's music is no great shakes. To add to your woes, a song pops up every five minutes.

Bichhoo Which is why it comes as a surprise that there are actually a couple of bright spots about the film. Sripad Natu's cinematography, for one, is incredible. His camerawork gives the film a much-needed facelift. And action director Tinu Verma comes up with credible stunts.

But even they are unable to salvage Bichhoo. One expected better things from Guddu Dhanoa after Ziddi and Salakhen. The actors fail to evoke any emotions, or even a feeling of sympathy, from the audience. What they do succeed in doing quite effectively is giving the audience a headache.

My head, for one, is still throbbing. Oh, for an aspirin!

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