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Apne July 10, 2007

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Director Anil Sharma’s latest offering brings together Dharmendra and his two sons, Sunny and Bobby. Fans of these stars might have hoped for this union on the big screen for a long time. The search for a suitable script was on for a while and this seems to have met their expectations. If you were expecting an action film from these stars and the director of Gadar, you will be surprised by this emotional fare.

Baldev Singh Chowdhary (Dharmendra) is an Olympic Silver medalist who’s dreams of becoming the World’s first heavyweight boxing champion from India. However, his dreams are shattered by doping charges which causes him to be banned from the sport. He still believes that he can train a World Champion but he is let down by his elder son Angad (Sunny Deol) when he chooses to take up agriculture to support his family instead of a career in boxing, which has little scope in India. Baldev is unable to forgive his son for this. His younger son, Karan (Bobby Deol) is a musician who cannot take part in his father’s dream because an accident at a young age has left his left hand paralysed. At this juncture, Baldev gets the chance to coach someone of his choice for a tournament whose winner will ultimately get a chance at the World Heavyweight Championship. What will Baldev do? Will an Indian be the World Heavyweight champion? Does Baldev forgive Angad?

This movie belongs to Dharmendra. He plays the central character and it is clear that he can still hold the audience. I find that he exudes a certain warmth, which few actors can. Sunny is quite good too and for those who hate to see him shouting, he doesn’t do much of it here. Bobby is alright. It is quite nice to see family together. The chemistry between them and the respect for the father is noticeable. Kirron Kher gets a conventional mother role that she executes well while Shilpa Shetty and Katrina Kaif get limited scope. Victor Banerjee gets a nice supporting role. Divya Dutta in a very short role makes an impression with an interesting accent. Aryan Vaid in a bit role seems to have some promise too. Overall, the performances suit the melodramatic tone of the film.

In a time where we see too many films singing paeans to Indian culture or waxing eloquently on the greatness of love and family, this family drama had a certain freshness to it because the actions of the characters depict the feelings instead of empty dialogue. The boxing setting isn’t common to Hindi cinema and is one of the films USPs. Also, the boxing matches are well executed (choreographed by Chris Anderson). The screenplay by Neeraj Pathak (who co-wrote Subhash Ghai’s Pardes) has its share of cliches and melodramatic moments that are common to Hindi cinema but isn’t an outright attempt at manipulating the audience. Instead the characters and their emotions are allowed to drive the movie and it works. The soundtrack isn’t great (Himesh Reshammiya) but Monty’s background score suits the film. Anil Sharma makes the film with an intent to appeal to a larger audience (read interiors) that is used to such dramas and despite flaws, this is much better than the overhyped disappointments from Yashraj films in recent times. Watch this if you enjoy emotional family dramas.

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