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Double Cross - Ek Dhoka

Taran Adarsh/ IndiaFM News Bureau

Posted: Aug 13, 2005 at 1200 hrs IST

Bollywood is slowly opening up and attempting topics that were considered taboo not too long ago. Double Cross - Ek Dhoka also looks at issues that haven't been tackled in the past…

The wife pushes her husband to sleep with women and act in blue films. In short, the wife forces her husband to be a gigolo. The husband becomes a hustler since he has to support his wife and also his family back home in Punjab. The husband falls in love with a stripper, who subsequently beds one of her clients to free her lover from the clutches of his wife. Piping hot topics, must say.

Double Cross - Ek Dhoka represents the changing face of Hindi cinema. But how one wishes the execution of the subject would've been path-breaking/contemporary as well. Director Sabir S. takes a modern-day plot, but, unfortunately, tackles it like most ordinary filmmakers did so in the 1970s.

Based on a true story -- the film starts with a monologue by Ayesha Julka who describes it as a real-life story -- the film had the ingredients to shock and tease the moviegoer, but all it does is make an effort to titillate in an extremely tacky and abrupt fashion. And the culmination to this complex story is another snag that only complicates matters.

Sonia (Ayesha Julka), settled in Cape Town, decides to marry an uneducated, uncouth guy Sahil (Sahil Khan) from Punjab. Post marriage, Sonia compels her husband to be a male prostitute and even handles the upscale clientele herself.

Despite constant confrontations, Sahil emerges as the helpless one. On one of his trips to London to attend to his clients, Sahil comes across Negar (Negar Khan), a stripper. Both Sahil and Negar grow closer as they realize how similar their lives are.

Subsequently, Sonia has a change of heart and decides to change her outlook towards her husband. But it's too late by then. Sonia and Sahil have a bitter confrontation. Much later, Sonia is found raped and dead in her apartment.

The needle of suspicion points towards Sahil. But Negar admits to killing Sonia. The plot thickens…

Take a fine-looking man and cast him in an American gigolo kind of a role. Add an attractive woman and place her in a Striptease kind of a setting. Incorporate some titillating moments, stir for two hours and voila, Double Cross - Ek Dhoka is ready to be served. But as anyone who cooks will testify, the result isn't always delicious. Things often go haywire and that's precisely what happens here!

Double Cross - Ek Dhoka may appear like a bold film (story-screenplay-dialogues: Shashi Vadiya), but the path it charters isn't new. The scripting is loose, with several questions haunting the viewer even after the show has concluded.

For instance, if Ayesha had burnt Sahil's passport the moment they landed in Cape Town, how does Sahil fly to London time and again to service his clientele? Much later, Negar advises him to get a new passport made by approaching the Indian embassy. Isn't that a contradiction?

Two, Sahil is supposed to be an uncouth person in Punjab (sporting a dhoti and turban) when Ayesha approaches his parents for marriage, but the moment Sahil flies to Ayesha's home in Cape Town, he's sporting designer outfits, his hair is highlighted, he's suddenly transformed to a metrosexual male, without any grooming whatsoever. Hello, but when did this drastic transformation take place?

Even if the above-mentioned point could be a cinematic liberty, the writer cannot be pardoned for writing a tacky climax. From the time Ayesha is found murdered to the time the identity of the killer is unveiled, the sequence of events look like one farce.

Director Sabir S. had an interesting plot on hand, but he ruins it with inept handling. Although filmed in Cape Town and London, the film lacks the finesse and gloss associated with slick thrillers. Music (all remix numbers) is alright. 'Aao Huzoor Tumko' is an erotic number that has been filmed imaginatively. Cinematography (M. Shakil) is below par.

Ayesha Julka enacts her part with sincerity, although she tends to go overboard at times. Sahil Khan is able, but needs to work on his expressions. Negar Khan displays her anatomy without inhibitions.

On the whole, Double Cross - Ek Dhoka is a weak fare. At the box-office, the opposition it faces in Mangal Pandey as well as the lack of hype for the film will only go against it. It can only rely on some single screens to stay afloat!

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