THREE BOYS, ONE GIRL, AND SOME HEART SURGERY

By Pankaj Shukl

Critic's I-View

For model Arjun Ramphal, his 'break' in Hindi cinema has been five long years in the coming. It was during the shoot of a music video that he met the director of 'Tridev' and 'Vishwatma', Rajiv Rai. Rajiv was so impressed by him that he signed him on for 'his next film'. Even the cinematographer of that video, the renowned Ashok Mehta was bowled over by the young man and signed him for his film 'Moksha' opposite Manisha Koirala. But, then 'Gupt' came along and Rajiv was attacked by some people from the underworld, and had to leave the country in a hurry.

In the meantime, cinematographer-turned-director Shantanu Shivrey zeroed in on Arjun and signed him for his maiden venture, 'Jadh'. But neither 'Moksha' nor 'Jadh' has seen the light of day. So after five years, Arjun takes his bow with 'Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabbat', directed by Rajiv Rai. He must thank Bobby Deol for making it, because it was Bobby's problems with dates that forced Rajiv to take on Arjun.

The story is about three males (Sunil Shetty, Arjun Ramphal and Aftab Shivdasani) chasing the same female (Keerthi Reddy), who has taken up the noble cause of 'making heart surgery affordable for the poor'.

The story basically is a repeat of 'Nikaah' with some minor variations. The pace of the film is very slow and the song situations are not well conceived. The depiction of the characters is also not convincing. Rajiv is guilty of some of the sins that Subhas Ghai puts on view in 'Yaadein'. Most of the things about the main characters are made known through the dialogue rather than through action.

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Since the screenplay is by Rajiv himself, the blame for the poor narration falls entirely on his shoulders. He also fails as an editor. Many of the scenes in the film could easily have been deleted to make the film more tight. In his earlier films, Rajiv had impressed with his story telling. This time, the touch is missing. Naeem Sha fails with the dialogue while cinematographer P. S. Vinod has not been able to catch the moods of the actors despite the impressive locales. The film is also found wanting in the music department, as Viju Shah has not been able to come up with anything trendy. He seems to have got stuck with the notes that he composed in the days of 'Tridev' and 'Gupt' and needs to grow up.

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The only saving grace is the acting by Keerthi Reddy and Arjun Rampal. For Sunil Shetty, the film is just an extension of his role in 'Dhadkan'. But he is heading up the wrong path. He may get typecast in such roles. Aftab is impressive as usual and is fast maturing as an actor. But it must be said that Arjun steals all the attention. It is also heartening to see performers like Raza Murad and Priya Tendulkar back after a long gap.

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