Movie Review - Victoria no 203

Related Posts by Categories

Masala movies of the 70s had a kooky charm of their own. They had a weird logic, an eagerness to please and entertainment-at-any-cost credo. Considering most of them were made without written scripts and strung along from day to day as the shooting went, they came out looking remarkably coherent — but also over-dependent on stars.

Today, Ananth Narayan Mahadevan gets a readymade script of a successful film, and can’t do much with it. Something like an ordinary cook trying to recreate a haute cuisine recipe from a book. The ingredients can be assembled, but how to mix and match, that’s where the expertise lies. Or you get an undercooked or charred (like this week’s other release RGV Ki Aag) inedible mess.Rich Bobby Bombatta (Jaaved Jaaferi) and his moll (Preeti Jhangiani) are offended when his offer to buy diamonds worth Rs 100 crore is turned down, so they plan to steal them. His partner in crime Ranjit (Kamal Sadanah) gets an acrobatic Tora (all cleavage no expression) to grab the stones from a high-security cell (the same old dodging laser beams sequence), but she has ideas of her own.

Ranjit stabs the double crosser, but not before she has hidden the diamonds in Victoria No 203 and arranged to get the locker key to her brother. The victoria driver is arrested for the murder, and the key reaches the hands of two old crooks Raja and Rana (Anupam Kher-Om Puri).The Victoria driver’s daughter Sara (Soniya Mehra) takes up her father’s work disguised as a boy and also tries to find the real killer. An undercover cop (Jimmy Shergill) falls in love with her, but otherwise has little to do.

The highlight of the 1972 film was Saira Banu’s dance in a towel. Soniya Mehra does it too, without a fraction of the sizzle and an embarrassing product placement for a towel brand on full display. So tacky! Pran and Ashok Kumar as Raja and Rana had a genuine chemistry and sense of comedy. Om Puri and Anupam Kher look ill at ease. The climax at a South Indian film shoot, with Mahadeven himself playing a caricature ‘Madrasi’ director is dreadful. Better to get a DVD of the old film instead!

No comments: