Everybody loves a thriller.
When the film’s tagline proclaims it to be 'bold', you expect some edge-of-the-seat excitement.
Unfortunately, Ajnabee doesn't quite measure up to the changing sensibilities of the audience. With Abbas-Mustan -- the duo who gave us entertaining thrillers in the Nineties, Khiladi and Baazigar -- at the helm, the film could have been electrifying.
But the directors fall prey to general cliches. The result lacks the spirit evident in their more celebrated films.
Despite its daring subject, Ajnabee fails to sustain any interest in its second, and most crucial, half.
Much has already been said about the film's subject. Everyone knows it is a direct lift of the controversial Hollywood thriller, Consenting Adults. Though the filmmakers have ensured the plot has been modified to suit the Indian palate.
Raj (Bobby Deol) and Priya (Kareena Kapoor) get married in the first few reels of the film. Raj is invited to Switzerlamd to participate at a Polo tournament; he takes Priya along.
In Switzerland, Raj and Priya befriend neighbours Vicky (Akshay Kumar) and Sonia (Bipasha Basu). Vicky convinces Raj and Priya to holiday with them in Mauritius. And the action begins.
Vicky puts forth an indecent proposal -- Raj and he swap wives. A furious Raj puts an end to their friendship. The couples return to Switzerland. Vicky apologises and begs for forgiveness. The four are friends again.
The film takes a turn on Vicky’s birthday. When the two men return home, drunk, Vicky brings up his proposal again.
Raj lands up at Sonia’s house and Vicky finds himself knocking on Priya’s door. The following morning changes their lives forever -- one of the four is found murdered in cold blood.
Revealing more would be unfair to the film.
The first half of Ajnabee is racy -- the editing, crisp; the screenplay, tight. And the suspense keeps building.
Although the second half begins well, it is predictable. You wish there were some unforeseen twists or turns.
What's worse, the filmmakers have exposed the most significant ‘turning point’ through the televised promos and the Mehbooba song.
The film has its share of plus points. Though the songs are well shot, we sure could have done without Jab tumhe aashiqui maaloom hogi.
The lead performances are exemplary. Bobby Deol, with the author-backed role, delivers the goods.
Kareena Kapoor, in her most glamorous role to date, sizzles in the seductive number, Mujhko neend aa rahi hain, with Akshay Kumar. Her fine flair for comedy is on display at the scene in the supermarket with Bobby.
Bipasha Basu makes a decent debut. She looks stunning, acts well and has an awesome screen presence. But Akshay Kumar is the surprise package of the film. He looks smashing and is in total control as the bad guy.
It has been shot at exotic locations, but the film has a shoddy feel to it. The camerawork jars; the filmmakers lose control of the script at the climax, when vague scenes are pieced together.
The comic relief, spearheaded by Johny Lever, is loud and the insipid humour goes overboard.
Sadly, this bold attempt is in vain. Ajnabee could have been the precursor of the new niche thriller. But its makers haven't displayed enough bravado.
Watch Ajnabee once. Not for what it is. But for what it could have been.
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Bobby gets bold
Bipasha's licensed to thrill!
The music review