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|February 13, 1999||
Revenge and amnesia
Well, if that sounds a promising beginning for, yes, it is. But that's about all that's promising about Daag: The Fire. After treading a new path for the first 20 minutes, the director decides enough is enough, and then heads down the well-worn road again.
The lawyer in question is one Ravi Verma (Chandrachur Singh) and if there's any softer feeling in him, it's reserved for his wife Kajal (Mahima Chowdhary). Even his daughter doesn't qualify for affection.
Enter the honest non-suicide's son, a soldier named Captain Karan (Sanjay Dutt), who blows his lid and, thereafter, Ravi Verma and Kajal to kingdom come.
Actually, he manages to get rid of the wife, but Verma hangs on, repeating the word Kajal for anyone willing to hear. The bright doctor, played by Shakti Kapoor, comes with the usual Hindi film quick fix formula for memory loss -- a heroine lookalike. And he finds one quickly in Kajari, a nautch girl.
Kajari is taught to behave like Kajal and then introduced to Verma who goes all a-quiver immediately that he lays eyes on her. Kajari sings a familiar song, which has Verma falling all over the place out of his armchair.
But Verma's recovery puts Karan back on his trail since the only reason Karan hadn't hacked him up because he didn't like cutting up vegetables.
The good doctor does the script a bad turn, worse than those already taken, telling Verma that his mind's a clean slate and his past is wiped clean. So it's time for a fresh start. And Verma believes him. With such powers of conviction, the doc might have done better as a lawyer, we guess.
Karan mulls over his earlier plan of slicing up the hero and starts wondering if he wouldn't be better off attacking the System with its own agent. Of course, if the baddies would allow that.
She looks good and dances well, and that, in a Hindi film, means she's a good actress. Sanjay looks stronger than before, fresher too. Raj Babbar looks a pretty unnatural villain and it's time he stopped hamming it up so much.
Rajesh Roshan is in his element, though he hasn't had any qualms about lifting the background score of Titanic and Sayonee, Sayonee.
This is the second film produced and directed by Raj Kanwar, and it would do him good to consider changing audience tastes and maybe a new cinematographer. And, of course, he could also do well to tell his set designer that the eighties are over...
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