Speaking of the Amazon channel, I also updated my list of Bollywood movies on Heera with one new addition to its Hindi catalog. The 2016 anthology movie Shor Se Shuruaat features short films by rookie directors mentored by veterans like Zoya Akhtar and Imtiaz Ali.
The 2008 thriller Kidnap is now available for streaming on Netflix. While by no means a great movie, Kidnap stars Sanjay Dutt in perhaps my favorite role I’ve ever seen him play. Dutt plays the father of a kidnapped young woman — a la Liam Neeson in Taken — a role befitting a man of his age (Dutt was 49 when the film released). He still gets to kick plenty of butts but without having to simultaneously romance a woman in her early twenties. I wish there were more cool dad roles for Bollywood actors. One can’t play a college student forever (right?).
I recently read a post about older actors, including guys like Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone, who should retire from action roles. It’s time to add Sanjay Dutt to that list.
I’ll admit that Dutt was perfectly suited for his role in 2008’s Kidnap, in which he had to kick butt in order to rescue his daughter. But his role in Blue should’ve gone to a younger man.
In Blue, Dutt plays Sagar, a broke fisherman who lives in the Bahamas and works for his pal, wealthy playboy Aarav (Akshay Kumar). Their friendship doesn’t make much sense; I doubt that in real life Kumar goes clubbing with his gardener.
Even more ridiculous is Sagar’s relationship with his girlfriend, Mona (Lara Dutta). Dutta is nearly twenty years younger than Dutt and looks it. Why Mona — a hot, young woman living in the Bahamas — would settle for a poor, old fisherman with no prospects defies explanation.
After some opening scenes in which Sagar and Aarav wrestle a shark (I’m not kidding), the movie cuts abruptly to a new set of characters. A young guy named Sam (Zayed Khan) races motorcycles and gets involved with some shady people, including the lovely Nikki (Katrina Kaif). He’s paid to deliver a satchel to an address somewhere in Thailand.
As I was watching the movie, this task seemed tricky to me since Sam only had a motorcycle. Perhaps he had to take the satchel to the airport?
After an explosive motorcycle chase, Sam tells Nikki, “I’m going to hide out in the Bahamas.”
Wait! We’re not in the Bahamas anymore? A simple line on screen saying “Bangkok, Thailand” when the scenes with Sam started would’ve been nice.
Turns out Sam is Sagar’s younger brother. Much younger, apparently, since Khan is 21 years younger than Dutt in real life.
There’s only the thinnest thread of a plot holding Blue together, and it involves finding treasure on a sunken ship in order to pay off the people from whom Sam fled. Scenes involving the story account for approximately 15% of the movie; the rest is made up of chase scenes, dance numbers, underwater fights, shark footage, shots of womens’ butts and crotch-shots of bikini-clad Lara Dutta. Blue embodies the phrase “style over substance.”
The action scenes are reasonably well done, and the underwater shots are impressive. But being impressed by the movie’s technical execution doesn’t lead one to care about the characters, and I simply didn’t care about any of them.
Perhaps I’m not in the demographic Blue is hoping to appeal to. If I were a 15-year-old boy, I might be more easily dazzled by the girls in bikinis and the water ski chase scenes. But wouldn’t a 15-year-old boy rather watch an action hero who’s closer to his own age than to that of his father? Or worse, his grandfather?
After a wealthy businessman’s daughter is kidnapped, he jumps through the kidnapper’s hoops to get her back. The melodramatic story is entertaining at first, until the tasks assigned by the kidnapper (e.g., robberies, jailbreaks, and murders) become increasingly unrealistic and tedious. Kidnap also ends on a morally unfathomable note. Still, there’s something satisfying about seeing paunchy 49-year-old Sanjay Dutt (as the businessman) nimbly running, jumping, and motorcycling like a man half his age.
No Rating (violence); 149 minutes
This review originally appeared in The Naperville Sun on October 9, 2008