First things first. Those who are saying that SPEED is a frame by frame copy of Hollywood flick CELLULAR have not seen at least one of the two films. That's because the fact remains that SPEED does find it's roots in CELLULAR but then grows further to get some more interesting twists in the tale with an additional screenplay that would surprise even those who have seen CELLULAR.
In fact there are not just CELLULAR elements in SPEED. There is quite a lot of BAADSHAH (especially the second half) with a hint of ONE TWO KA FOUR (cop angle). Heck, even the Indian Prime Minister's first name is same here. In BAADSHAH it was Gayatri Bachchan (Rakhee Gulzar, who plays a Minister), here it is Gayatri Devi (Suhasini Mulay)! But more about that later.
SPEED gets to the point from the very first frame. A conspiracy tale travels all the way from Kuala Lumpur to London with a plan to assassinate Indian Prime Minister. Number of people find themselves party to this crime. A cool, suave, intelligent and a well read criminal with a trouble past (Aftabh Shivdasani), his vampish cat-doll (Sophie Chaudhary), an undercover agent who cooks omelets for his family while carrying an identity of a chef (Sanjay Suri), his Science teacher wife who wears a shiney brown leather jacket (Urmila Matondkar), a charming-n-childish young man (Zayed Khan) who steps into London to woo his girlfriend (Tanushree Dutta) and an 'imaandaar' London based cop with an Indian origin (Ashish Chaudhary).
With number of such characters in frame, it is a difficult task to accommodate them all with good screen presence in a 100 minutes film. But credit it to a tout screenplay and some good direction that Vikram Bhatt manages to keep most of his actors happy with well etched characters.
This is where one can't help bring in the CELLULAR reference. While CELLULAR had it's story mainly centered on the woman who is kidnapped (in this case Urmila), the man who kidnaps her (Aftab here) and the young man (Zayed) with whom the kidnapped woman establishes contact through a phone, SPEED has the cop angle being further fleshed out.
Ashish Chaudhary makes a belated entry into the film as a cop but in the process manages to bring around some unexpected twists in the tale. Just when you believe that you have cracked it all, the story takes a turn, hence keeping the edge on for this racy thriller. Unlike most of the roles in the past (most recently DHAMAAL) where he was required to play a funny man, Ashish handles a different kind of character that he is required to play naturedly and gives an impressive performance.
The best part about SPEED is that the story keeps moving with every reel. The two 'naach-gaanas' take place at the very beginning of the film and from there on the movie gets into a thrilling mode. Urmila's kidnapping, subsequent conversations of Sanjay with Aftab and Sophie, entire part of the film where Sanjay is required to watch a CD, go to a bank, head towards the school, go back to the bank and land himself at the place of all the action is well done.
Zayed's journey on the road in his attempt to save the life of Urmila and her kidnapped son is interestingly cut out. Especially exciting are the scenes when he lands up in the school to search for Urmila's son, his desperation for a car charger and stealing of a car! It is after a long time that Zayed is tolerable and in fact quite likeable (the last film where he made an impact was VAADA) and keeps the film rolling along with him. Tanushree doesn't get much scope to perform and surprisingly doesn't get a single scene where her character could be seen smiling. Amrita Arora is hardly there.
Urmila is as usual and just about decent as the role hardly demanded her to have any histrionics on display. Unlike the impression given in the p