Now that Himesh Reshammiya’s next shot at respectable stardom, Karzzz, has hit the big screen, look out for all the Negative Nancies (my favorites: one, two), telling you why and to what degree this remake sucks. To them I say… well, I say “True!”
But! I would like to point out that there are actually ways in which Karzzz trumps Karz. Yes, really! For example:
1. In Karz, Raj Kiran is the sap who falls for a no-good murderous golddigger and gets bumped off for his pains. But after that, he gets rewarded by coming back as disco-dancing Rishi Kapoor. Upgrade!
However, in Karzzz, the libidinous dumbo is Dino Morea and he gets what’s coming for him all right – he comes back as The Himesh. Now you could argue that this is possibly an upgrade given The Himesh has more of a career than ol’ Dino, but look, when your entire raison d’etre is your face… you see where I’m going with this? That’s some good thinking, right there.
2. In Karz, you couldn’t help but feel Simi Garewal outclassed everyone else on set. I mean, this lady was the Real Deal. Kamini might have been made of evil but it’s like someone getting up at an AA meeting to say: “Champagne made me what I am!” Heart-wrenching tale, I’m sure, but it’s still freaking Champagne!
In Karzzz, on the other hand, you feel no such compunction. Urmila Matondkar’s Kamini the Kameeni is the kind of godawful skank whose inner skankiness can’t be hidden even if she took hour long baths in the very essence of Prada and you can’t wait for her to hit the pavement face first. It takes a very special kind of idiot indeed to fall for her. (Which just gave me an idea: somebody should do a feminist viewing of this film. Seriously! Do it! I’ll read.)
3. I don’t know what Lakshmikant Pyaarelal were thinking when they composed the music for Karz but could it have been… grandstanding? The damn music is so catchy, you find yourself fastforwarding through the film, just so you can watch Rishi shake his booty to “Om Shanti Om”, revolving stage, sing-along crowds and all.
In Karzzz, there is no such fear. Not only is the music snoozeworthy but once you’ve seen Urmila grimace and contort her face through “Tan-tan-tandoori Nights” (sung at the world-famous, hip and happening, Indian Tandoori Club), it pretty much kills your desire to watch any of the songs. However, if you feel differently, there’s nothing to worry about – song succeeds song every five minutes. This is helpful because it signals your brain as to when a scene has come to an end.
4. One of the pivotal characters in Karz was the quixotic Kabira as played by Pran.
These days, however, any character with a penchant for Sant Kabir’s couplets would presumably get short shrift from the movie going public. So we have Danny Denzongpa plugging Himesh Reshammiya’s dialogues from Aap Ka Surroor. The Movieee. The Real Luv Storyyy. Don’t hate on the man just coz he thinks ahead, fools.
5. Which brings us to the dialogues! Subhash Ghai, the director of Karz, was obviously asleep at the wheel when he was making the original. It was full of commonplace dialogue that might have explained plot points and other boring stuff but it wasn’t anything earth-shattering, you know? No catch-word that would instantly tell the listener that here stands Ravi Verma reborn. He would have you believe that this was deliberate – a break from the conventions of 1970s masala movie-making. But the public has always known better. You fell down on the job, Subhash!
Well, Karzzz saw that problem and fixed it. Sample: “I heard something once – unlucky in gambling, lucky in love. And it’s reverse also exists – lucky in gambling, unlucky in love.” Sounds a lot like “lucky at love, unlucky at cards” but so much more detailed, don’t you think? Which is why Kamini immediately recognizes it! “I have heard that clunky line somewhere before,” she think to herself, a hunted expression in her round eyes. Muahahaha! You can run but you cannot run forever, eventually you will have to stop and attempt to hide but that will prove impossible, Kameeni!
6. Now, remakes of beloved movies always suffer from comparisons between the current lot of actors and the original cast. But Karzzz knows its limits. It’s one thing to switch in The Himesh for Rishi Kapoor and Danny Denzongpa (yay! Danny!) for Pran, but who’re you gonna get for Premnath? I’m sure someone thought “Boman Irani!” at some point (and definitely “Feroz Khan!” from the looks of things) but ultimately they made the right call – Karzzz‘s Sir Juda is an anonymous Blue Man (with strange beard) minus the blue paint. Not only that, but he eschews things like those humble 1970s’ tables for an electronic keyboard instead. An electronic keyboard grafted on his hand, people!
7. Karz was short on memorable dialogue but it made up for the lack with an iconic murder in front of a roadside Kali temple and the haunting refrain of “Ek Haseena Thi”.
That kind of thing might have worked in the 70s but this is the 21st century! We play a different game round these parts. So in Karzzz, Kamini the Kameeni takes a leap out of an airplane with the sole parachute while Dino the Dumbo takes a header straight to the Kali temple. That’s the way we do it, baby!
8. It’s so much more entertaining to watch scenes like this:
Urmila: “Don’t you realize the vast difference between our ages?”
Himesh: “I don’t care if I’m younger! What’s 20 years between lovers?”
9. Wall safes that open when you clap to a special beat. ‘Nuff said.
10. Face it: Rishi Kapoor wasn’t such a revolutionary pick for this role, was he? He was the gora-chitta teen heartthrob – he was already a rockstar. He didn’t need to convince anybody about anything. All he had to do was walk in and the stage was ready to go.
But in Karzzz, The Himesh has a much harder row to hoe. (Heh heh. I said “hoe”. Er…) He really needs to work for that revenge, converting one person at a time to his cause even if they are all struck with that mystery Bollywood disease called I’m Gonna Pretend You Look Completely Different From the Way You Do Because You’re All I Have to Work With.