Tezz is a widely anticipated movie for a number of reasons. Firstly Ajay Devgn is doing an action thriller after a long time. The last one being Qayamat: City under threat in 2003 and since then has delivered two of Bollywood’s biggest grossers, Golmaal 3 and Singham. Anil Kapoor returns to Bollywood films, hot off successful appearances in popular American TV series 24 and a cameo in Mission Impossible 4. Priyadarshan is actively directing different films as opposed comedies, starting with Aakrosh, a hard-hitting social drama and now Tezz, a slick action thriller. Can Ajay Devgan deliver another 100 crore blockbuster? Will Anil Kapoor be back with a bang? Can Priyadarshan pull off an action film? These are just some of the questions we went in to find out…
Firstly a quick summary of the story: Aakash (Ajay Devgn) is happily married to Nikita (Kangna), he lives and works in England. A raid on his business by the U.K border and immigration service leads him to being deported to India and in the process he loses his family, life and business. Now Aakash is back to avenge what he feels was an injustice by the system and is assisted by two close associates, Aadil (Zayed Khan) and Megha (Sameera Reddy). Together they plant bombs on a high speed train travelling from London to Glasgow, demanding 10 million Euros to defuse the bombs. The catch however is that the train cannot dip below 60 miles per hour, or else the bombs will self-detonate. Boman Irani is the station control master, Anil Kapoor is the Counter terrorism command officer and Mohanlal is a police inspector travelling on the train. Between them they must stop the train and capture Aakash. Why has Aakash planted this bomb? Will station control be able to negotiate with Aakash and stop the train? Will the counter terrorism squad be able to find Aakash and bring him to justice? To find out, you will need to watch Tezz!
For many this film will remind you of two recent Denzel Washington films Unstoppable and The taking of Pelham 123. Most memorably it will remind of you Keanu Reeves Speed, but although taking inspiration from a number of films, Tezz has its own take on the genre and is an original proposition for Bollywood viewers. It has a strong star cast, with Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor coming together for the first time and at 122 minutes running time, is a well paced film.
Lets go into a bit more detail about the various aspects of the film, starting with sound design. Sound is an important part of any action film and should add to the proceedings, plus for a film like this to stand up to international standards, it needs to have good sound mixing. Tezz scores in this department as it manages to weave great sound effects with the action, particularly in the key action scenes that formed crucial parts of the film. For example in two fantastic action scenes, one involving Sameera Reddy and a motorbike chase and another involving Zayed Khan and the use of free-running, to escape the police. Both the sound and background music added to the intensity and excitement of those scenes.
From a cinematography perspective, handheld cameras were used very effectively in the scene involving the police raid. Further, as quite a few Bollywood films have been shot in London and across the U.K, you can now compare films for how well they have captured England on camera. In the case of Tezz the look of the film was realistic and as well as shooting popular landmarks across England, they managed to find fresh locations which suited the script and they were filmed well.
Editing is where many Hindi films tend to fail and with an action film there is even more reason to keep the editing crisp and sharp. Tezz scores again in this department, managing to keep the film around the 2 hour mark. It also does not waste time with elongated backstories and unnecessary side stories, just a few flashbacks to give us an idea of why things were happening. A particular mention must be made of the use of split screen scenes which were used most effectively in dramatic and action sequences. Apart from a misplaced ‘Laila’ song (which director Priyadarshan was reportedly not happy with), the songs are thankfully kept out of the proceedings and to a minimum.
Moreover with the screenplay and script, Tezz was kept tight and did not include the regular love story or comic side-track, but just stuck to being a fast paced action thriller. They could have delved into the motives behind Ajay Devgn and his relationships with Sameera Reddy and Zayed Khan and what exactly drove them to support him. Also Ajay’s main premise for planting the bomb was quite weak, but what was refreshing was that the film did not succumb to jingoism or oft-repeated cases of Islamists as the cause. It was just about a man who felt he had been wronged.
From a dialogue perspective, this is perhaps the first film I have seen where they really paid attention to balancing English dialogue with Hindi. You did not have actors delivering Hindi monologues to non-Hindi speaking characters and those characters pretending to understand exactly what they have said. Care was taken in keeping with reality and communicating in Hindi and English where appropriate. However the extensive use of English throughout the film does make one think how the film will fare in the Indian interiors and single screens? The only hiccup for me was the use of the word ‘bomber’, it is pronounced ‘bom-er’! But I am just being pernickety here!
The most important area to look at is of course the acting and performances. Ajay Devgn plays his role well, I would not say it is anything different or challenging for him, but he had the right approach to the role and does what is expected from him. Anil Kapoor is always a delight to watch and in this respect gives a calm and restrained performance. Boman Irani is always bankable and delivers a strong and intense performance which is spot on, whether he delivered his dialogues in Hindi or English. It was nice see Sameera Reddy in a Bollywood film again, her dialogues are extremely limited, but she emotes well. She was was convincing in the action scenes and delivers a good emotional scene. I am sure no one would complain if were to see her back in more Hindi films. Zayed Khan always seems to pop up in these types of films and plays it just as we are used to seeing him in many other films. Mohanlal sadly does not get much scope and perhaps it better to classify his role more as an extended cameo.
Finally the directing, Priyadarshan is actively trying to make more meaningful cinema and move away from the successful comedies he has more recently become known for. I believe he has done well and managed to create a successful action thriller, which was well paced, did not rely heavily on melodrama and captured the setting of London well. He has made a no-nonsense action thriller and one hopes it will set a standard for action thrillers to come.
In conclusion Tezz is nothing new for western audiences, who will have seen a raft of similar films from Hollywood, but from a Bollywood perspective this will come as fresh and thrilling. It is a breezy entertainer, which is fine for a ‘one off’ watch and lives up to it’s title of a fast, roller coaster ride.