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|August 18, 2000||
It's Abhishek all the way!
Refugee had a serious, sombre, mostly unsmiling Abhishek Bachchan. In Tera Jadoo Chal Gayaa, prepare to laugh through the first half of the film with AB in a comic role.
Directed by debutant A Muthu, long-time editor of David Dhawan, Tera Jadoo... is the Indianised version of the Jennifer Aniston (now Pitt)-starrer Picture Perfect.
For those who haven't seen the phoren stuff, it goes like this: Aniston is a professional on the move, working in an ad agency. She falls for the resident casanova, Kevin Bacon, and hires a young videographer to act as her fiance just to make Kevin jealous and fall for her. The plan works perfectly. Except the videographer falls for her. And, realising Bacon for what he is, she falls for the videographer.
Ditto idea here. Minus the sexual politics and the grey shades to Aniston's character. In India, the issue over a tissue is still a big deal. Hence we have debutant heroine Keerti Reddy is as pure as Bisleri.
So Puja (Keerti) goes to Agra for a friend's wedding and meets videographer Kabir (Abhishek Bachchan), a videographer, who happens to be the rakhi brother of half the women in Agra. And is second only to the Taj Mahal as far as being famous is concerned.
The first half of the film is hilarious, as Bachchan Jr reveals an excellent timing for comedy and great dialogue delivery. More than once, his gestures remind you of Bachchan Sr. Supported by Gafoorbhai (a very funny Paresh Rawal), the two create magic. Himani Shivpuri does her bit, but Abhishek steals the thunder with his flair for comedy and emotional scenes.
The trouble begins in the second half, which has four songs, and a very patchy narrative: Puja is shown cooking up ideas for cars and gutkhas, so one assumes she dreams of becoming creative head and marrying the -- yes you got it -- resident casanova. But in the second half, Abhishek decides to accept an offer to record his album, have Puja direct the video and then give her all the money and walk away.
Confused? I sure was! I realise the point is to establish Abhishek as the sacrificial lamb. But it was working fine anyway, as he tries to show everyone how awful he is as Puja's fiance. Maybe the makers decided to add a Kaho Naa Pyar Hai-like finale song on a big canvas because the similarity is pretty obvious.
Ismail Durbar's music is good with three great songs: Aye chand, the title track and a qawwali. While Mujhse Pyaar Karo replicates the same loop as the one Rahman used in Kaadal Desam, the background score, nevertheless, is extremely impressive.
Technically, the film is sound. Though there is an editing glitch in the very beginning -- a couple of frames are missing. Which has the film opening with an empty stage, a BLINK, and then a slight pan of the camera showing a compere in the middle of the stage.
And the scene where Kader Khan introduces Tikku Talsania to Abhishek as the music company owner Ramesh of Tips (taking off on Ramesh Taurani, owner of Tips Cassettes, which has the rights to the film), has a portion of Khan's dialogues missing.
Keerti Reddy loooks good and dances well. Good in parts, she needs to work on her weak dialogue delivery. Though with all the attention on Abhishek, her looks were more important than her performance.
Vashu Bhagnani's no-expense-spared attitude shows in every frame of the film.
In fact, with a good second half, this would have been the ideal launch for Abhishek. Tera Jadoo... offers better entertainment than Refugee. With Abhishek doing the entire gamut -- riding a horse on Agra station, beating up five goons at a time, dancing with 100 dancers, doing the comic, angry, tragic and romantic parts -- all in three hours. Had any doubts about his star quality? Watch Tera Jadoo... to erase them.
Oh, and you'll miss Sanjay Suri as the casanova if you so much as blinked. Can't blame me for that, can you?
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