Now is the time for all award-givers to redeem their reputation. They might not get another opportunity in a long time. Govind Nihalani's Takshak is the proverbial rain on parched soil. And Rahul Bose easily the foremost contender for the best actor's slot.
Takshak is a not-so-conventional guns n' roses story. Ajay Devgan and Rahul Bose are heirs to a construction business run by an underworld ganglord, and naturally get involved in the shady goings-on that characterise their deals.
Devgan is the good bad guy, nauseated by blood and power. But Bose revels in it, and how! What conviction, what realism marks his performance, whether he shoots uncle Amrish Puri between the eyes, or suddenly throws a cousin off the balcony after apologising so sincerely for having done that! The funeral scene is not to be missed only for the looks Bose gives the grieving youngsters.
Meanwhile, Devgan's lukewarm desire to relinquish his connection with the underworld gets sharpened with the arrival of a Tabu wrapped in mist and fragrance. Easier said than done, of course. Events unfold at a brisk pace, and although the outcome may be as was expected, the means to the end make it different.
Nihalani has trodden the middle path between art and commercial cinema again, and this one looks like a sure winner, unlike the pseudo Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Ma. The film moves fast, and is well-written, especially the little poems given to Tabu to recite. Two songs are notably well shot: Khamosh raat, sehmi hawa and the delectable Rang de!
The film-maker had to choose Tabu as the perfect modern woman: talented, crusading and forgiving. But the risk with new performers has paid off too; even model Nethra Raghuraman is natural in the role of Bose's exasperated girlfriend.
Dark horse Takshak has hit the cinema halls at just the right time, and for the sake of intelligent cinema, one hopes it will gain ground. For surprisingly, not even the ``masses'' have risen to the bait of Sooraj Barjatya's syrupy Hum Saath Saath Hain, or Hum Aapke-Part II, and the film has bit the dust within five weeks of release. Of course, a bigger surprise could present itself next year when Nihalani has to make do with the critics' award. The juries have probably made up their minds about who's the most glamorous awardee.
Copyright © 1999 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.