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Home > India > Movies > Columns

Why I gave away the Race ending

Raja Sen | March 27, 2008 14:19 IST

Akshaye Khanna and Bipasha Basu in a still from Race

Ever since it was published on Friday, the 1.5-star review for Abbas-Mustan's Race has generated considerable curiosity in terms of my revealing the film's ending. The film's makers have been constantly hounding me since late Saturday night, demanding that I take off the spoiler.

Let me tell you, first and foremost, that nobody should give away the ending of a thriller. Ruining a whodunit was never my intention but -- and this is the critical thing, my dear reader -- Race isn't a whodunit at all. At closest, it's a whydunit, the why being asked of the filmmakers, demanding their reason for making such a dramatically unengaging ripoff.

Taken almost entirely from the weak 1999 film Goodbye Lover, but with the ending altered and made more conventionally box-office friendly, Race is a ridiculous film borrowing twists from more than one source. With every moment aiming at being a dramatic change in plotline, not just does the film stubbornly refuse to make sense, but the twists stop working entirely.

My intent, simply, was to play with the format and the linearity, to see if even this ghastly film could be made interesting. To give the reader point Z and send him into the theatre to start from point A and try to join the dots of the how-do-they-possibly-get-to-Z puzzle while they're watching the film. Anyway, thanks to a complete lack of logic and rationale, it's impossible to judge, but at least this turnaround might have given audiences something to do rather than sit in a darkened theatre, completely unimpressed.

Sure, it's criminal to give away the film's point of suspense -- but that's when it's a reasonable point that makes sense, a revelation that the entire film's logic fundamentally hinges on. In this case, it's plain nutty -- and I can't imagine even one person having read the climax and enjoyed the film any less as a result of it. It's like not reading Golden Age mysteries because you know the butler did it. Closer to home, can you tell me what the big reveal was in, say, 36 China Town, and how knowing that could have made you appreciate the film any lesser?

Heck, people acting in Race have shared a laugh over the review. And it really is the first mega-hit opening of the year, so please don't say knowing the climax is keeping people away from theatres.

So congratulations and all, but stop talking about suspense-shmuspense. As I said, just stop calling this film a thriller. Please.

Either way, filmmaker people, after seeing your continued consternation, I'm sorry for giving away the ending.

Now do I get a note of apology from you, for giving us this film?