Throw in some catchy item numbers, a sizzling chemistry between Sunny Deol, Vivek Oberoi, fabulous locations, great camerawork, brilliant special effects woven together in an age-old Bollywood formula script. And the end result is all sound and fury signifying nothing. That's exactly what Sachin Bajaj's debut venture 'Naksha' symbolises. An excellent packaging with little content makes less sense. Maybe the director should have given a re-look to his script in the beginning before splurging on those dare devil river rafting stunts, dilapidation of the expensive sets etc.
In an era of progressive films like 'Rang De Basanti', 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' and even 'Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna', 'Naksha' takes the viewer back in the zone of disbelief. Professor Kapil, a prominent astrologer dies safeguarding the secret of a 'Map' from the evil hands of another astrologer Bali (Jackie Shroff). Now, in a true 'Kahani Ghar Ghar Ki' soapy mould, Mr Professor leaves behind a couple of wives with a son each. Fast Forward twenty years, younger kid Vicky (Vivek Oberoi) is a US returned dude who likes to have a little-bit-of-fun in his friend's bachelor parties with a bunch of strip dancers.
His life takes a serious turn when he discovers a copy of the same 'Naksha' in their old bungalow. He realizes that this piece of paper had some link with his father's unfulfilled dream. A letter-of-departure on his mother's feet and off he goes in search of his 'destination'. Elder bro Veer (Sunny Deol), a Forest Officer makes a sky-piercing entry (literally) to save his steadfast step brother as Bali's goons are out to get him. Some lighthearted brotherly tomfoolery in the jungle follows (The bantering between the two is the best part about the film). They are joined by a TV Reporter in a mini skirt deserted on a raft in the middle of a jungle. A hamlet of dwarfs is the next stop where they sing 'Jat Yamla' and feast on some local liquor before Bali traces their whereabouts.
The hunt for the coveted Shield follows with a vengeance. Good versus evil. An age-old phenomenon in a fresh light...Director Sachin Bajaj deserves appreciation for working hard on making a slick product, but alas his 'Indiana Jones' meets 'Mahabharata' subject fails to ignite much interest. Of the cast and crew, Vivek Oberoi sparkles like never before. He is mint fresh. His comic timing with Sunny Deol has to be seen to be believed. Be it the daring stunts or the cool dance sequences, Oberoi shines in them all. Sunny Deol's pleasing demeanour is welcome anyday. But alas, his flab-n-wrinkles don't help his cause much. He looks the best in the 'Jat Yamla' number where he dances-like-a-man...Read his father. Sameera Reddy's glam doll TV reporter doesn't have much to do except dance to the groovy music displaying her booty in. I must say, that her snoring part is well executed.
Preetam's bhanra-pop music is one of the highlights of the film. 'U N I', 'Shake It' and 'Jat Yamla' are chartbusters. Vijay Arora's cinematography is simply brilliant. He has captured the nuances of the forests, the hills and the entire landscape beautifully. Allan Amin's Action is first rate. As for its Box Office fate, then with 'Lage Raho Munnabhai' on a rampage, 'Naksha' will have to really struggle to find a foothold. If only there was some novelty value in the film, it would have made more sense. But you never know, it may do well in the North (Especially Punjab), which is considered to be the stronghold of Sunny Paaji. And whether you should go to the nearest multiplex to check out 'Naksha', I would say watch an Indiana Jones on your DVD Player instead.
Star Rating: **