Star cast: Vivek Oberoi, Aruna Shields, Nandana Sen, Neeru Singh, Sanjay Kapoor.

Plot: Vivek, a master thief, has stolen a very expensive gold coin in which is hidden a computer chip which has erased his memory. Obviously, he can’t remember where he had hidden the coin. With the CBI, Indian government’s secret service agency, IGrip, and some dreaded criminals after the gold coin, Vivek has to lay his hands on it. And he has only six days for it. Three girls claim to be his girlfriend, Maya, not making matters for him any easier.

What’s Good: The music, the song picturisations, the breathtaking (although unreal) action.

What’s Bad: The unbelievable plot, the technical jargon about computers, chips, brain mapping etc.

Verdict: Very good start, but still, its heavy price of Rs. 500 million will not be recovered. Good for masses, not for classes.

Loo Break: A couple of them in the first half.

Tips Films’ Prince (UA) is the story of one of the savviest thieves in the world, Prince (Vivek Oberoi), who has committed the biggest theft of his life – he has robbed a gold coin which is valued at many crores of rupees. But the robbery is linked to his loss of memory. He doesn’t remember who he is and that he has a gunshot wound on his arm. Slowly but surely, he discovers that his name is Prince, that he lives in South Africa, that he used to work for a criminal named Sarang (Isaiah) and that his girlfriend’s name is Maya.

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Three Mayas come into his life, each one claiming to be his girlfriend. While one Maya turns out to be Priya (Neeru Singh), another turns out to be Serena (Nandana Sen). Priya is out to get the gold coin for herself while Serena is work- ing for Sarang who wants the coin.

Prince is also being hunted by IGrip, the secret service agency of India, and the CBI. Besides Sarang, there is another criminal, Sherry (Rajesh Khattar), who is thirsting for Prince who has only six days to trace the gold coin. Due to his memory loss, Prince can’t remember where he has hidden the gold coin. In the coin is also hidden the computer chip because of which he has had a loss of memory. He has to hunt for the coin because only that chip can restore his memory – and he has only a few days left. Besides, he must save the chip from getting into the hands of the criminals lest they use it on mankind in general.

Shiraz Ahmed’s story is not of the kind which would be understood and appreciated by the masses because of terms like brain mapping, chips, memory loss, computers, hard disc etc. used so liberally. No doubt, the masses would enjoy the abundant action in the film but they will not experience a sense of fulfilment because a lot of the proceedings would go over their heads.

Shiraz Ahmed’s screenplay is also not very convincing and believable. For one, the first half tests the audience’s patience as it takes time for them to understand what’s going on and why Prince has had a loss of memory. The initial reels remind the viewer of Ghajini because of the point of memory loss but, of course, the detailing and finesse of Ghajini are totally missing. That a computer chip can erase memory and that it can again restore the lost memory seems a difficult point to digest. Another drawback of the screenplay is that despite loss of memory, which is a major setback for Prince, he somehow always manages to achieve his target. Even if he is jumping from the 40th storey of a building, the audience can be sure, he will land – body intact – where he wants to land. In other words, nothing seems to be impossible for Prince. This is nothing but a case of convenient screenplay writing.

What does keep the audience engaged is the game of one-upmanship between the characters. And what entertains the viewers are the songs and sex. Yet, in the final tally, the public feels let down by a script that is just too unbelievable. Mayur Puri’s dialogues are very commonplace.

Vivek Oberoi does well. He acts ably and also performs his stunts efficiently. He is fair in dances. Debutante Aruna Shields is quite nice in the role of Maya. Nandana Sen is impressive. Neeru Singh is also good. Isaiah makes for a weak villain. He has a good voice but his acting debut is far from impressive. In fact, given the canvas of the film, the villain looks anything but formidable, which he should have looked. Sanjay Kapoor, as CBI officer Khan, does well. Dalip Tahhil gets limited scope in the role of Col. Khanna of IGrip. Rajesh Khattar, like Isaiah, doesn’t come across as a villain to be feared. Mayur Puri does an average job as PK. Manish Anand has his moments as Mike. Mohit Chauhan passes muster as agent Roy.

Kookie V. Gulati’s direction leaves something to be desired. The debut-making director has given the film a lot of gloss and sheen but his narration is not of the kind which can hold the audience’s attention uninterruptedly. Allan Amin’s stunts are breathtaking although it would’ve also been better if they had been more believable and palatable. Vishnu Rao’s camerawork is marvellous. Editing (Nicolas Trembasiewicz) is sharp. Sandeep Shirodkar’s background score is not upto the mark and lacks freshness.

Sachin Gupta’s music is one of the major plus points of the film. Every song is a delightful composition. ‘Tere liye’ is an extraordinary song. ‘O mere khuda’, ‘Jiyara jiyara’ and ‘Kaun hoon main’ are also very well-tuned numbers. Song picturisations (by Bosco-Caesar and Pony Verma) are eye-filling and have a lot of style. Sets (Sukant Panigrahi and Kiran Khanna) are very nice. Visual effects (Tata Elxsi) are of a high standard. Production values are just too grand.

On the whole, Prince has gloss, style and very good songs but its ultra-technical script dealing with gadgetry and rather unbelievable stuff about gadgets controlling the human brain will be its undoing. It has taken a flying start but that is only one part of the story. Given its high cost, it will entail a loss to its producers who are also the worldwide distributors. Business in smaller centres and single-screen cinemas will be better due to the overdose of action.

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