Kumar Tarani’s Prince promises to be a film with a difference. If Vivek Oberoi‘s new look was not enough to catch your eye, the three debutantes are sure to make a lasting impression… or are they? The first-looks of the movie showed Oberoi attempting many breath-taking stunts and getting cosy with the three ladies. First impressions reminded viewers of the star-studded Dhoom 2 and even more of the very entertaining Race because Prince is written by the same talent.
First-time director Kookie V Gulati shot a huge proportion of the film in South Africa, guaranteeing the film a very picturesque backdrop. The leading ladies (Nandana Sen – last seen in Black as Rani Mukerjee’s sister, along with Neeru Bajwa and Aruna Shields) make their Indian cinematic debut in Prince. The hype surrounding the film was in part due to the bikini shots of all three, not to mention the kissing scenes that all three beauties had with Prince Oberoi. Apart from this, the music of the film is proving very popular. ‘O Mere Khuda’, the video of which perhaps inspired by Justin Timberlake’s ‘Rock Your Body’, and ‘Tere Liye’ being clear favourites. The genius idea of having just one male playback singer – Atif Aslam – has done wonders for the film’s music.
So does the film live up to all of the above?
The film’s story is centered on Oberoi’s character, Prince, who is a professional thief before waking up one day and discovering he has lost his memory. With the help of his not-so-trusted servant “PK”, Prince makes a series of attempts to discover his true identity. During this time, Neeru Bajwa and Nandana Sen appear on the scene, both claiming to be Maya – Prince’s girlfriend. The plot surrounds the obsession of several characters to acquire a special coin. Why? Well, would you believe the coin is believed to hold the secret behind Prince’s memory-loss? Yes, really.
The first half of the film sees many ins and outs within the story – characters changing shades, new characters coming in and more. You are introduced to the the less-than-convincing villains played by Isaiah (who won the Manhunt Modelling competition in 1998) and Rajesh Khattar. As the film unfolds, Nandana Sen also shows negative shades and Dalip Tahil also tries his hand at the ill-famed baddie role once more. Sanjay Kapoor plays the role of the trusted Police Officer “Khan” and, sorry to say, plays it rather unconvincingly. The introduction of the third actress, Aruna Shields, comes just before the intermission. Her entry is extraordinary to say the least… pity the same can’t be said about her dubbing.
The second half of the film focuses on the unfolding of the real story of Prince’s character. The real Maya is unveiled and she becomes Prince’s partner in crime. She is able to shed light on the real goings-on and the incidents leading up to Prince’s loss of memory… and, of course, the whereabouts of the dreaded coin. Why does the coin get so much importance? The second half also discloses that the coin has a microchip installed within it which, when fitted to a computerised machine, is able to extract a person’s memory and store it. Sounds a bit odd, right? Well, this should explain the reason for Prince’s inability to remember. Prince also finds out that due to this incapacity, his memory system will restart (much like a computer) every time he wakes up, resulting in more forgotten instances. Contrary to this, the fact doesn’t seem to hold much weight when he still remembers who the lady he’s waking up with is and that he needs to locate the coin! A hard disk malfunction if ever there was one.
Gulati’s directorial debut has been inspired by Hollywood greats such as The Bourne Identity and the Matrix. You can see that they spent a lot of the budget on the special effects of the film to give the feel of a true science-fiction flick. Science-fiction the film is not, and the money to create this potential blockbuster was not well-spent. The stunts attempted in the film have been seen before in numerous previous endeavours. Although the first look draws the audience in, unfortunately the action sequences and expensive effects simply do not cut it. The memory-loss aspect has also been seen before, both in Hollywood and Bollywood.
As for the three sexy actresses, none leave a last impression. Neeru Bajwa was the most promising out of the three, but her character was such that she was forgotten about in a large, and somewhat important, part of the movie. Nandana Sen gave a hugely mediocre performance in a negatively shaded role. As for Aruna Shields, the dubbing left a lot to be desired. Having said that, Shields pulled off the stunts very well and the skin-tight “super-heroine” clothing did her more justice than it would have the other two.
Overall, it can’t be ignored that Vivek Oberoi gives a good action-packed performance and the film has opened well in the sub-continent. Producer Kumar Taurani reportedly said that he believes the film will “make Vivek the new Prince of Bollywood”. It seems this tag may just stay with the heart-throb. The film, it seems, will put Oberoi back in the popularity stakes. The attire Oberoi has adorned in Prince will leave his fans wanting more. Although, it is arguable whether Oberoi is more suited to dramatic roles, such as Kurbaan, than an action-oriented character such as Prince. His performance in the film is definitely not his best yet, but hopefully it will open the doors to some meaningful cinema, which will only benefit the actor.
To conclude, this film could appeal to the youthful masses who will appreciate the stunts as well as the sexy babes along with the fantastic music. For Oberoi fans and Bolly buffs alike, this film is one which disappoints beyond belief. The film left many parts of the plot unanswered and unclear so it’s safe to say the kissing scenes with Neeru Bajwa and Nandana weren’t the only missing parts. The music gets a huge thumbs-up but the film, sadly, doesn’t live up to the hype.