Knockout – Review
Posted by Editor on October 16, 2010 | No Comments
FILM – Knockout
PRODUCER –Sohail Maklai
DIRECTOR – Mani Shanker
WRITER – Mani Shanker
DIALOGUES – Shiraz Ahmed
CAST – Sanjay Dutt, Irrfan Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Sushant Singh
MUSIC – Gourav Dasgupta
L.K.Advani has been reported to have had tears by the end of Knockout. No, it is definitely that bad. Puns aside, it is not bad at all. And for a remake, it is quite absorbing, even true to its own self.
Surprising, because gone are the days when jingoism and patriotism could raise the heat in our blood with its innate strength of nationalistic fervour. These days neither does the fervour exist nor the kindle of heat in us to be stirred. Rang De Basanti did its bit successfully (for whatever that counted) and it fell silent again. With or without reason, is a debate for another time and space.
Knockout, (though there is no comparison), too tries to do its bit to raise this nationalistic fervour, to jerk us out of the drugged slumber we have found comfort in. It takes the issue of Indian money in foreign banks and fights it with a ripped-off plot and chest-thumping devotion. It weaves a tight plot with trademark dramatic naivete and serves up a half-warm, half-cold dish that one wishes was just a thriller and not trying to be more.
As a thriller, it is step-cousin of the 2002 Colin Farrel starrer Phone Booth. A medium budget drama that revolves around a day in the life of an investment banker who is an important cog in the whole process of money laundering, the key in the business of corrupt politicians stashing their wealth in Swiss banks. Held at target by a sniper (Sanjay Dutt) hidden in a building a few kilometres away, Tony Khosla (Irrfan Khan), the investment banker is forced to reveal, accept and make good all his deeds and ill-gotten wealth in a drama that involves murder, media and money. Lots of it.
Stripped of memories of its Hollywood counterpart and nationalistic tone, Knockout is a watchable film, in between the dives in your popcorn tubs and swigs at the Pepsi, of course. It keeps its drama gripping, with snappy cuts, hand-held camera and short dialogues. To its credit, it avoids a direct cut-copy paste job of the original just taking the framework and putting its own colours to fill the palette. It is not incomplete or insincere. It just lacks a gravity and maturity that would qualify the emotion it aims to arouse.
Mani Shankar, as is wont in his repertoire, invests his brand of techy thriller, pepping up Knockout with enough technology to even out gaps in acting, screenplay or vision. And it always helps in giving it a modern and slick flavour. He also gets reasonably good performances out of Sanjay Dutt and Sushant Singh, both extremely comfortable in their skins and convinced in their roles. Kangana Ranaut as the female journalist of India TV is as unconvincing as an actress as she is as a reporter. Just that her suit looks good on her. Maybe a bit too good for a live reporting stint for a murder story. Irrfan Khan is surprisingly disappointing with his random and wanton treatment to his character not to mention the same qualities of his hairstyle.
Knockout, manages to pack a punch with its slow unveiling suspense and balancing the highs and lows of the tipping positions of all parties involved at all points. It is a big game out there, with multiple players. At any given point of time, it balances the dilemma and tension of Tony and the sniper, the police Inspector on duty Sushant Singh and his seniors, media and Kangana and the agenda of the politicians. It is a game that gets dirtier as it goes on and to its credit, the drama builds at an even pace.
However, the naivete of the jingoism catches up with the merit of the drama and it almost comes to a naught in the end, when the celebration of victory is full yet the moment seems false. There is no reformation, just a capture. There is no retribution, just a correction. There is no movement, just an episode. And a voice of myopic belief in love with its own fervour.