Coming from the director of the highly successful Dhoom series, Kidnap is Sanjay Gadhvi’s eagerly anticipated flick that has pitted newcomer Imran Khan against the experienced Sanjay Dutt in a game of cat and mouse. It promised to be a riveting thriller and one that I was definitely looking forward to watch. Does it deliver or does it fall flat on its face? Read on to find out.
Kidnap starts nicely. In a comic book style illustration, which I thought was very well executed, we are given an idea of the amount of pain that Kabir (Imran Khan) had to endure during his childhood. All this was done without even showing his face or without a single word being spoken, which was pretty impressive. As you can make out by the name of the movie, the story revolves around him kidnapping Sonia (Minissha Lamba), daughter of billionaire Vikrant Raina (Sanjay Dutt). All this happens within the first ten minutes and makes you feel that there is a sense of urgency in the movie, which was great. Unfortunately, that’s where the praises end. What ensues is probably one of the most illogical stories in Bollywood you will ever see.
After having successfully kidnapped Sonia, Kabir calls her mother Mallika (Vidya Malvade) and tells her that he will only deal with Vikrant Raina. Once he is in contact with him, Kabir makes it clear that he is not interested in his money, but instead wants to play a game with him. If Vikrant wins, then Sonia lives. Otherwise, well, you get the picture. All of this happens pretty early on, so you’d think that the meat of the movie, i.e. the “game” that is being played and all the other elements around it, would be well thought out. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.
One of the biggest problems with the movie is the relationship between Sonia and Kabir. First off, I would like to know if Sonia packed an emergency kidnapping-related backpack and carried it with her wherever she went just in case an incident was to take place or was Kabir generous enough to buy her a little wardrobe before she was kidnapped to welcome her? Every time we see the date changing on screen Sonia’s clothes get skimpier and skimpier. This just makes the whole situation very comical. As we see Kabir returning to where he has Sonia kidnapped, you can’t help but let out a laugh, or a sigh, as you see the victim in another new outfit sitting there all dolled-up. It just made no sense whatsoever. If someone was to make a parody of this movie then it would be impossible for them to top what the director and writer themselves have done with Mannisha Lamba’s character, as it really is a parody in itself.
In the middle of the kidnapping, Sonia manages to convince Kabir that she needs water, and since the house she is in has run out of it’s supply then the most logical thing left for Kabir to do would obviously be to take Sonia outdoors and let her roam freely. So freely that Sonia decides to dance under waterfalls and on top of rocks. Yes, she is still being held hostage. I know songs are important for a Bollywood flick but the placement was ludicrous. In another brilliantly thought out scene we see Sonia, after she has changed into a skimpy nightgown to sleep in, sitting right next to Kabir watching her father perform a task of the game devised by Kabir on a CCTV. In the audience, you sit there wondering if Sonia is actually cheering for her favourite soccer team or if her father’s life is actually in danger as she continues to clap after every two seconds like a little kid. It just took the whole seriousness out of the scene.
Apart from her completely illogical behaviour time and time again (she returns to the place she got kidnapped even though she had escaped successfully… well done), this movie makes little sense otherwise as well. I’m convinced, and very sad to say, that the “leave your brain at home” genre is here to stay in Bollywood. Picture this – in the middle of the movie, Vikrant Raina decides to not pick up Kabir’s calls in an attempt that he will do something unplanned. What does Kabir, our shrewd and calculating kidnapper, do? Why, he lands up at Vikrant’s house, obviously. Almost instantly, too! Can anyone please tell me which kidnapper in his right mind would do this? That is then followed by a chase sequence between Kabir and Vikrant which, while it was well shot, felt forced. All of a sudden we had Kabir leaping from platform to platform like Spiderman and Vikrant matching him step for step. We also see Vikrant, with the help of his wife, breaking a prisoner out of jail as if it was child’s play. You sure this guy is supposed to be playing a businessman?
Also, I feel this movie tried a bit too hard in looking cool and more “Hollywood-ish”, for lack of a better word, and this is most evident when Kabir tells Vikrant that he has to crash his business rivals party and steal some money. After doing that, Vikrant has to get rid of the bag full of money before he exists the party. How does he do this? Obviously, by throwing the bag from the fifth floor of a building that just happens to fall right through the sunroof of his car perfectly. Instead, if they would have just had someone waiting on the ground to pick up the bag as Vikrant threw it the result would have been just as effective. However, in an attempt to look cool, the scene just came off as cheesy.
Performance-wise, Imran Khan was the only silver lining in this movie. He was far from perfect, but whatever bit you do enjoy in the movie is thanks to his performance. It was nice to see him move from the baby-face role in his debut film to a more serious one, proving that he is indeed a capable actor. Sanjay Dutt was uninspiring and almost seemed tired throughout the movie. Apart from looking slightly unfit, which really didn’t matter in his chase sequence, his overall performance just seemed very lackluster. It was almost as if the newcomer and experienced tags had been interchanged between Khan and Dutt. As for Minissha Lamba, let’s just say that if it was her job to act like a two year old trapped in an 18-year-old body then she was brilliant. Otherwise, every moment she was on-screen left you clueless as to what she was trying to do. When, or if, you watch the movie it’ll be pretty clear why she was in it. The only thing Vidya Malvade did for this movie was make you wonder why she was cast for the role of Mallika in the first place as she looked way too young to be playing Sonia’s mother (who, might I add, looked way too old to be 18). There was no real chemistry between the cast either.
The movie is shot well, the camera work is good – there are some very well executed scenes, but when you have a flawed recipe in your hands then no matter what the chef does his dish will end up disappointing the hungry audience. Random song placement, below-average acting, absolutely illogical writing and poor casting make Kidnap one of the most senseless movies of 2008. I’d suggest you only watch it if you know a fantastic surgeon who can extract all the grey matter from your brain for the length of this movie. Otherwise you’ll end up shaking your head after every ten minutes wondering why writer Shibani Bathija is insulting your intelligence with such a script. Kidnap is a definite miss.