Randeep Hooda may not be having a superstar father to shower 'excessive' praise on his performance. But if his deliriously heartwarming portrayal of an encounter specialist in Vishram Sawant's 'Risk' is anything to go by, then this hunky dude is the most hard-hitting news of year 2007. So far. In an author backed role, he impresses not only with his stone faced determination, grip on Marathi lingo and sedate body language but also with a vulnerable humane side (especially when the news of his mother's heart attack filters to him before an encounter). At many an occasion, the resemblance (both physical as well as contextual) with sullied encounter specialist Daya Nayak is hard to be missed as well. Same can be said about 'Risk'. Shouldn't be missed!
Suryakant Satam (Randeep) is a don't-mess-with-me kinda cop who is well known for his trigger-happy-ways. Bangkok based underworld don Khalid (Vinod Khanna) isn't happy with his 'daring'. For, inadvertently by killing his shooters, Satam is helping politician Sarang (Anant Jog) and his prime adversary (and once-upon-a-time ally) Naidu (Zakir Hussain). But when Suryakant stretches his tentacles till Devki Vardhan (Seema Biswas), Khalid's prime conduit in Mumbai, all hell breaks lose. Finding himself behind bars, the hard cop doesn't have any option other than smearing his hands with the same dirt that he always sniggered at arrogantly. How he takes the 'risks' in salvaging his lost pride is what the story is all about.
There are several junctures when the similarities with 'Ab Tak Chappan' and even 'Shiva' (the latest version) are hard to be ignored. But the near flawless treatment meted out by Vishram Sawant makes it different from any of the other encounter cop stories one has seen. The film remains glued to the context of an encounter specialist's ordeals, trials and tribulations. Scintillating camera work of Mahesh Muthuswamy and strict editing of Vivek Shah prove to be big assets for Sawant's vision of creating a murky ruthless world that is always scheming. And falling apart. The only aberration is Tanushree Datta's 'Hitchki' which is the only occasion when the director seems to have compromised on his vision. In fact Datta doesn't have anything to do in the film except pouting and preening.
Vishram Sawant is definitely hot on the heels of Ram Gopal Verma brand of film making (especially films like 'Satya' and 'Company') as far as narrating a story in almost a journalistic story fashion. All the players are clearly defined and they have a specific role to play. Even the proverbial villain is shown to be humane and giving. Khalid cares for his mentally unstable son like a mother would (he even applies oil in his hair). Tears trickling out while offering Namaz on hearing his brother's death....Khanna moves with his terrific performance. In fact it is a worthy comeback role for a star of his stature. The scenes where he psyches Hooda with mind games are especially intriguing.
In the support cast Zakir Hussain as Naidu is first rate while Anant Jog as the dirty politician is impressive too. Seema Biswas doesn't have much to do. And that's a pity considering her immense potential. Background score by Sandesh Shandilya successfully creates the dark edges in its cymbals and keyboards.
'Risk' is a commendable film. For it dares to call the spade a spade. Why and how the system is corrupted? Why little is done to change the functioning of the police force? Why honesty is getting confusingly redundant?
If reality is your brand of cinema, then just don't miss 'Risk'. Yes, the frequent gun-pushing can be a deterrent at times. But at least you know that you