Sunday, October 11, 2009

Khakee: Deewar Redux

Flipping Deewar on its head is Khakee, one of the greatest post-modern masala films to come out of the first part of the 21st Century. The Big B's Angry Young Man avatar is reworked to fit a modern era...


Khakee is the story of a worn-down, worn-out police desk jockey, played by Amitabh, and how he gets the assignment of his career - one that he doesn't particularly want to do, but he's promised the promotion that he'd been secretly hoping for for 10 years.

The is the role that late period Amitabh was born to play. It takes his young image and persona as the Angry Young Man and flips it. He's not even the Angry Old Man; he's the Resigned Old Man who feels that he's wasted his life working on Mickey Mouse cases. He doesn't done anything great at work and he ignored his family to do it. And, in the tradition of the best cop dramas, I think it's not giving too much away to mention that his family will not be heard from again for the rest of the film.


Capt. Amitabh is given this assignment to transport a Muslim terrorist with suspected ties to Pakistan from some one cow town in the sticks to Mumbai for his court trial. The hitch is that other terrorists want to free him so he won't talk. The last team sent to fetch him was gunned down. Amitabh doesn't really question why he is chosen to be sent. His ragtag band of cops going with him include Tusshar - a young cop who is so innocent that he refuses to take bribes - and Akshay - a studly ladies man who has no problem taking bribes and tries to talk his way out of the assignment to no avail. Already we have the idealist being set up against the practical guy who works the system.


And who else could play the ruthless jerk out to cause trouble by killing innocent people?! AJAY! He works his best evil look.


The Muslim terrorist refuses to talk to anyone. Akshay doesn't like this. It bothers him when people don't play the system like he does. (I should mention that Mr. Muslim Terrorist is played by the same guy who was the Hindu Extremist in Rang De Basanti and he does an amazing job once again.)


And what would an Akshay movie be without overconfident Akshay just waiting for the right person to foil him. She's not quite 75 years old, but enter Mahalaxshmi.


She's concerned that some terrorist are holed up at the school where she is a volunteer teacher.


(These guys will take care of that real quick for you.)


They're rightly a little suspicious. And we get a sense of just how vicious Ajay is. He leaves behind the corpse of a guy with the face bashed in and the finger prints burned off. If he's that nice to his friends, imagine what he does to his enemies.


Now, with everybody nice and jumpy, they begin the journey to bring Mr. Muslim Terrorist to court. There is an excellent chase scene in a cow traffic jam, a wonderful stake-out scene with 18 ghosts, and lots of backstory and plot revealed. In a nice turn, Mr. Muslim Terrorist turns out to be Mr. Muslim Doctor who was framed by some wicked politicians. The same wicked politicians who are paying Ajay to hunt him down.

Ajay is not just after Mr. Muslim Doctor, but he's got a personal grudge against Amitabh for bring him to justice a few years ago. The realization that Mr. Muslim Doctor is actually a good guy gives Akshay the final push into becoming a more moral person. He feels really guilty for just coasting through life when here is this man who by trying to do the right thing ends up dead. For Mr. Muslim Doctor is killed by some of Ajay's men.


Tanuja turns in a great performance as Mr. Muslim Doctor's mother. Her son is being treated as a terrorist and Pakistani traitor and nobody will carry the casket for his funeral. It's pretty awesome when Our Heros show up and give him a respectful funeral. It shows how far both Amitabh and Akshay have come in their respective journeys from Not Really Caring to Caring A Lot.


There is some plot about a file. Akshay and Aish go looking for it. Their chemistry was so good in this! I hope they make another film together. I thought her icy princess style of acting was the perfect foil for Akshay's over confident guy style. Plus they dance well together.

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRE FILM AHEAD!

I am warning you to turn back now if you haven't seen this!!

Are you still with me?!

Okay, I was not expecting this at all.


The Bitch was just using him!!!!!


Poor Akshay! He had become so moral and was planning to settle down and have kids. He wanted to be good. The whole reason he kept looking for that stupid file was that he wanted to do something more for society.


Oh, you look content now, Aish, but, seriously, who would you place you bets on: a) the guy with the newly found moral compass or b) the psycho who kills people without feeling the least bit guilty. She chooses b) and he kills her about 5 minutes later. Not before she fires the first bullet the of the huge barrage of gun fire that kills Akshay.

*sob*



Big B chases Ajay into this pit or something and then there is a huge callback scene to Sholay where Amitabh kicks Ajay's ass for revenge against his slain companions and to satisfy his moral outrage.

However, instead of the cops showing up and stopping him from killing Ajay, Tusshar waits until the last second to stop Big B from kicking him into a pulp. Plus, Big B totally whips Ajay's ass with Fallen Akshay's Police Belt. Go, Amitabh! There's a courtroom scene. Ajay and his politician buddies are sentenced to life in prison. There is no doubt that they will all be freed eventually, though, because that is the way that politics and influence work.



The final moments go to Tusshar, Mr. Innocent Cop, who had taken a back seat to the main stories of Amitabh and Akshay finding their way. Tusshar seems to have learned the opposite lesson. He realizes that Ajay won't stay in jail forever and decides to take the law into his own hands and kills him at point blank range.

I liked the ending. Khakee does that wonderful thing where the viewer is taken on the same journey as the jaded lead. We laugh with Akshay at Tusshar's refusal to take bribes. We're pretty sure that the Muslim gentleman is a terrorist and we don't care if he isn't because we are waiting for the shooting to start. But gradually we come to realize that it does matter if the explosives were planted in his house. It does matter if policemen take bribes and scam the system to get what they want.

The shock when Tusshar kills Ajay at the end wouldn't be as great if the viewer hadn't been through that journey. On a final note, I question the sanity of Aish's character who chooses the proven psychopath over the reformed bad boy with a heart a gold. She could have totally played Ajay and ended up with Akshay - but then that would be Dhoom 2. Actually, they should make that movie where Aish is a rogue thief who is working with the bad guys to scam the police and she reforms Akshay but ends up falling for him!

5 comments:

martoufmarty said...

My main reason for watching this one ages ago was Atul Kulkarni. I thought it was a little long at points, but overall I enjoyed it.

You pointed out all the really good stuff in it!

world_of_blade said...

I enjoyed this show. I knew how it would end, and who would betray who...but it was still enjoyable. I really liked Ashkay (I'm sure I spelled that wrong, sorry) in this movie.

memsaab said...

I would choose Ajay over Akshay any old time :)

Kiran said...

Akshay's witty one liners were so good. Saw this a while back, so reading your summary was nostalgic for me.

eliza bennet said...

This is one of the first Bollywood films I have seen (purchased because I like action and was promised action on the cover) and the first time I have seen Amitabh and fell for him hook, line and sinker. I didn't realise there were a lot of stars in this one (and Prakash Dad too!)

Akshay didn't register since I was in a total Amitabh daze and liked Ajay's performance better. But then I watched Namastey London, became an Akshay fan and watched this film once more just for him.

I agree that he has great chemistry with Aishwarya and I would LOVE to watch them together in a romantic film.

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