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Who Hijacked the script?

Elvis D'Silva | September 05, 2008 19:50 IST

A still from Hijack

What happens when you add a pinch of Con Air to a hint of United 93, season with Die Hard II, stir in some Passenger 57, consider a plot point from Under Seige II and not bother with coherence or logic? You get Hijack.

I could stop there, say that debutant filmmaker Kunal Shivdasani (who has shot many ad films) mistook style for substance and gave a roomful of critics several unintentional belly laughs, exhort you to not watch this film and we could move on. But you clicked through to get a review and a review is what you will get even though a movie isn't necessarily what I got.

Hijack opens on a botched attempt to liberate dreaded terrorist Rasheed (a shaven-headed KK Raina dressed in inexplicable Guantanamo Bay orange when we first see him) while he was being transported, presumably from one prison to another. The Home Minister is made aware that Rasheed's people may have failed but they will definitely try again.

We are also introduced to Vikram Madaan (Shiney Ahuja [Images]), an aircraft maintenance officer, who has a too-cutesy-by-far daughter, and a history. A history that involves the death of his wife, total upheaval in his life and his having reconciled himself to living life as a man who maintains aircrafts in a middle-of-nowhere airport in Chandigarh.

One thing leads to another and his daughter, nearly 200 other passengers and Esha Deol [Images], as air hostess Saira (with a laughably bad hairstyle that makes one appreciate Princess Leia's buns with renewed vigour), find themselves on an aircraft hijacked by the same terrorists, who attempted to secure the release of Rasheed earlier in the film.

A still from HijackTrying to make any further sense of the plot would be to attempt to offer logic where the filmmakers have adopted none. Suffice it to say that the stage has been set for potentially entertaining or nerve-wracking set pieces that never show up.

Instead, we are treated to dialogue so bad it should be outlawed in any part of the country that speaks Hindi. And action sequences that consistently reconfirm that Shiney Ahuja may be a lover but he is no fighter.

Our hero is established as such a doofus that it is no wonder that passengers keep dying on his watch. John McClane would never have let something like that happen on a plane he was trying to protect, nor would Jason Bourne, or hell, even Shahenshah.

A still from HijackThroughout the film, Shiney either displays a manic grin guaranteed to out-Joker Heath Ledger or frowns so sleepily that one would fear for the well-being of the passengers aboard the ill-fated aircraft, if we cared about any of them. The passengers are a series of hastily sketched out clich�s that redefine the very concept of clich�. Since we are never made to like them, we have no reason to care when a few of them meet their grisly ends.

The attempts at comedy elicit groans, the attempts at high drama prompt uncontrolled giggling fits and there is actually a point in the film where the Home Minister vehemently declares that they are not sitting 'haath pe haath dhare hue' while at that exact moment he is doing exactly that! In fact, during the entire series of 'tense' moments involving various talking heads debating the repercussions of the hijacking, nobody in that room so much as gets up out of his (or her) chair.

Trying to list the positives in a film this questionable only seems to help me further appreciate the simple pleasures within the smaller-scale A Wednesday. Perspective is a wonderful thing but no matter what angle you look at it from, there is no escaping the lack of form or substance in Hijack.

Watch it at your own peril.

Rediff Rating:

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