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April 3, 2002
Subhash K Jha
Hindi Cinema seems poised for the kill.
It started with actor-turned-director Chekravarthy's underworld drama --- or 'a love story painted in red', as he describes his film --- Durga.
Filmmakers are ready to unleash a virtual gangwar on screen. The first week of April sees Vipul Shah's directorial debut Aankhen, about a bank manager (Amitabh Bachchan) who, after being unfairly fired from his job, masterminds a robbery at his workplace by employing three blind men (Akshay Kumar, Arjun Rampal and Paresh Rawal).
"It is a crime drama. But nothing that has been seen on screen before," promises Akshay.
Crime caper Kaante, which opens in June, also sees Big B playing a bank robber. He says, "While I am the group leader in Aankhen, I am just one of the six guys who rob a bank in Kaante."
Sanjay Gupta's ensemble piece features Amitabh Bachchan with Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Shetty, Kumar Gaurav, Mahesh Manjrekar and Lucky Ali (the last stepping into a role earmarked for Akshaye Khanna). Despite the similarities, Gupta promises, "Kaante will be as different from Aankhen as chalk from cheese."
The language and mood of Kaante is raw, while Aankhen goes in for a more suave look to gangsterism.
Director Anurag Kashyap's debut Paanch, which releases April or May, is about a group of five wastrels on an embittered killing spree. Both Kaante and Paanch use streetwise language that may be problematic for conservative audiences.
Hansal Mehta's Chhal casts a slick look at the underworld. The agilely written script takes a cop (Kay Kay Menon) into the bowels of the underworld. The ensuing conflicts of interest make for riveting drama.
Then there is Ram Gopal Varma's Company, which chronicles the story of two underworld dons who become bitter enemies. Though Varma denies the film's proximity to real life, trade is abuzz with rumours that the film is inspired by the restless relationship between [underworld dons] Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota Rajan.
Meanwhile, love stories like the Hrithik Roshan starrers Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage and Na Tum Jaano Na Hum are also in the pipeline.
In Ram Gopal Varma's production Road directed by Rajat Mukherjee, Manoj Bajpai plays a wacko hitchhiker who takes Vivek Oberoi and Antara Mali for a ride they'll never forget.
Even the new David Dhawan comedy Hum Kisise Kum Nahin features a gangster (Sanjay Dutt) who goes gaga over Aishwarya Rai and seeks therapy from a shrink (Amitabh Bachchan) who is the girl's brother.
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