Kasoor (2001)

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Kasoor (2001)
Cast: Aftab Shivdasani, Lisa Ray, Apurva Agnihotri
Director: Vikram Bhatt
Music: Nadeem Shravan
Nutshell: Indianized version of Jagged Edge falls far short of the mark

 

The film opens with what appears for a moment to be the Manhattan skyline, sparkling at night, set against the calm sea ahead. Except that it is not. We are in Mumbai and the deception is obvious, as obvious as the disclaimer of this film being an original piece of work, which it most certainly is not. The film opens nastily with a masked murderer entering a plush and swanky house and brutally murdering a woman in bed asleep.

We find that the murdered woman was the wife of a newspaper editor Shekhar Saxena (Aftab) and naturally he is the prime suspect. In fact, he appears to be the only suspect and instead of this being a suspenseful whodunit, the film seems to follow the track of keeping the viewer interested in the love story that emerges between the two rather than being a real thriller. Shekhar Saxena instructs Simran Bhargav (Lisa Ray) to be his defence lawyer, a lady with past demons to exorcise of her own. She once sent an innocent man to jail on the basis of cooked up evidence from the corrupt cop (Ashutosh Rana) and now takes it upon herself that she will triumph over his latest plot to see Shekhar jailed for his wife’s murder. She also has an assistant Apoorva Agnihotri who obviously carries a torch for Simran.

Clad in swanky outfits, slitted skirts and low cut tops, who would not want to instruct a lawyer like this one! You would imagine her practise to be a booming one. Well, inevitably, she lusts after Shekhar as he lusts after her and after much smashing of window panes and prefab passion, Simran gives in to her lust and falls for her client whom she is convinced is innocent. All she wants from him is honesty and after she discovers that he has not told her everything, she decides to withdraw from the case only to be chided by her earnest assistant not to do so. She succeeds in proving Shekhar’s innocence and then without a moment’s doubt, goes rushing back into the arms of her innocent lover. Or is he?

Anyone and everyone who watches flicks from Hollywood will know immediately that this is almost a carbon copy of the Jeff Bridges Glenn Close 1985 starrer “The Jagged Edge”, a cleverly crafted and superior thriller. Kasoor is an empty vessel with no juice at all. Vikram Bhatt comes badly unstuck in this effort and one really has to wonder what this man is all about.

Before this, he made a wonderfully crafted film Ghulam and even though there was some debate of it being “based ” on “on the water front”, it was actually very well adapted. Before Ghulam, Bhatt made “Fareb”, which was a copy of “Unlawful entry”. I never saw that but I believe it was well adapted. But Kasoor is very poorly adapted with no sign of originality or attempt to indianise it in any way. The whole romance between the two main leads looks tepid and utterly unconvincing, and ultimately, rather dull as it steps away from the plot. The climax of the film, which is simply a page taken out of any slasher flick, is yet another reminder of the fact that there is simply no originality here. Aftab is not convincing in the least in this role. The role of an older and more mature man required an actor of experience and this is something that Aftab does not have and he fails miserably. There is more movement in his lazy lip than in his performance. He is wooden to the extreme and simply does not suit the role of a married 30 year old man. He also does not exude any charm whatsoever which from what I remember, Jeff Bridges had in abundance in the original American film.

Lisa Ray has a plum role and looks pretty and cool in bits, old in others. But she’s no actress. She has a fair stab and she does a decent job for her first film. But I cannot see her gelling in with the bollywood crowd. She is unexceptional in every way. Surprisingly, Apoorva in his short role is more affecting than either of the lead performers. To an extent, some of the songs are good and will be popular although they are not necessarily well shot or well placed. The background score is ok and the cinematography good.

On the whole, this is a bad film, and Vikram Bhatt must take the blame for blundering with this. Certainly expectations were sky high because of Ghulam and because of that, this effort is so much more of a letdown.