Film: “Risk”; Cast: Vinod Khanna, Randeep Hooda, Zakir Hussain, Yashpal Sharma, Seema Biswas, Tanushree Dutta; Director: Vishram Sawant; Rating: * 1/2

Randeep Hooda’s scowl steels the show. And I do mean steel. There’s a bedrock of hardened cynicism in the way Hooda portrays the ‘encounter specialist’ Suryakant Satam who outwardly seems so stoic, you wonder if he feels anything beyond the shrill call of duty.

But underneath the imperturbable exterior is a heart that beats, bleeds and even bleats.

“Can I give you a hug?” he tells his girlfriend after a gruesome encounter. But his girl is a shadowy figure who makes endless cups of coffee for the man in her life.

If you’ve seen Jaya Bhaduri in “Zanjeer” and Parveen Babi in “Deewaar”, you’d know what the woman in the angry young man’s life is meant to do.

Tanushree Dutta doesn’t do it too well. The glamour she’s supposed to bring into this ruthless film about an ongoing flow of blood on the unforgiving streets of Mumbai and Bangkok simply gets washed away in the flow of clichés, albeit authentic clichés, but done to hammering death nevertheless.

There’s a whole battalion of baddies in this poor show of muscle power – all played by actors borrowed from director Ram Gopal Verma’s factory. They indulge in the most horrific violence with stomach-churning nonchalance.

Could we please send them to a forwarding address, preferably to a place where no one can bring them back?

The question one would like to ask director Sawant is – who wants to watch another cops-and-gangster film after it has been done to ruinous death in films as far-ranging as “Ab Tak Chappan” and “Shiva”? Who cares if the law-enforcing hero is an idealist beyond any rationale? Who cares if he gets suspended because he does his job too well?

We’ve seen every actor from Amitabh Bachchan to Manoj Bajpai to newcomer Mohit Ahlawat go through the gruelling ordeal by idealism. There are too many gangsters, politicians and other undesirables, including the impregnable Seema Biswas as a smooth-talking don-politician with visibly saffron leanings.

There’s nothing to be said about yet another grisly homage to gangsterism except Hooda who puts in a finely tuned bridled performance.

It’s good to see Vinod Khanna return from exile. As the chief antagonist, his wizened features exude an inner strength despite an under-written part. Wish there was more of him and less of the scummy brigade with torn off limbs and ripped-open morals.

The background score by Sandesh Shandilya sounds like a clutter of calamitous elements strewn into a sense of impending catastrophe. Mahesh Muthuswamy’s camera tries to pick out interesting elements in this simmering cauldron of clichés.

Watch this film only for Randeep Hooda’s clenched performance.



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