Directed by Prabhudeva, Wanted is the kind of movie where the guy woos the girl of his dreams by sticking his fingers in her mouth and asking her to blow. I enjoyed every second of it.
The remake of Telugu blockbuster Pokiri (“inspired by Infernal Affairs“… in an alternate universe maybe!), Wanted is full of gory action, mesmerized by mammaries, scattered with lame one-liners, populated by skeezy characters who’re occasionally rape-inclined, and set to the kind of thumping soundtrack you devoutly hoped had died with the 80s. It is, in short, that rare beast: everything the trailer promised.
When Greasy Haired Killing Machine Radhe (Salman Khan, miraculously minus moobs and looking much better than he has in years – that’s right, stay off the booze kids!) meets King of All Evil Gani Bhai (a deliciously cartoonish National Award winner – I say it because it’s fun to note! – Prakash Raj), he tells him, “You look like a villain from a B-grade Hindi movie.”
I had to grin because that’s what this is – an unpretentious B-grade tentpoler with A-list backing. It’s Transformers for the budget-challenged: the Americans blow up giant robots for their amusement, we blow up human beings because they’re cheaper and emote better when their brains are getting bashed in. The plot, such as it is, goes like this:
In a Mumbai wracked by gang wars, Radhe is a “one man army” who only owes allegiance to the biggest bhai of all – Money. One day, on a short break from all the killing and maiming, he’s transfixed by a Magnificent Bosom with Excellent Oral Hygiene called Jhanvi (Ayesha Takia). This turns out to be a bit of a problem as he’s not the only fan of her bosom – it’s an advanced Uncle Magnet model, you see.
Seriously. She can’t walk down the street or even sit at home without fat uncles hitting on her. And yes, her bosom is indeed that magnificent. As a fellow bosom-holder granted unfettered views – once even lovingly framed against a back-up line of bikini-top clad dancers jumping up and down for maximum effect – I would like to say: Congratulations & Well Done on all your success!
Given a choice between rapey uncles who constantly invade her personal space (Mahesh Manjrekar has this character down to a fine art by this point) and a totally buff uncle who might have an overwhelming love for Brylcream but at least doesn’t play grab ass or grossly proposition her widowed mother, Jhanvi wisely plumps for Radhe.
Unfortunately, his lack of rapey-ness is the best thing about him. She dutifully trudges along in his wake, watching with appropriate horror as he efficiently and brutally hacks into people who’ve pissed him off. “Did you think I was some petty criminal?” he demands as she stares at him like a bunny rabbit at a French chef sharpening his knife.
In between all this crazy love talk, there’re a dozen asides about an ill-equipped police force, corruption, drugs, extortion, the politician-criminal nexus and a bunch of other things that you really don’t pay any attention to. I mean, you could – but what would be the point? This is a movie about Salman Khan beating up a whole lot of men (and one woman), romancing a pretty young bosom thing, and singing a few songs with mostly naked women.
Like the Tamil and Telugu blockbusters that gave it life, Wanted doesn’t ask much of you other than your time and money. In return, it’ll give you a couple of hours of satisfying dishoom-dishoom and its best shot at eye candy. When you compare it to the 80s when all the South gave Bollywood was movie after dreary movie about fucked up families and uppity women who needed a beating to set them right, this is so much the better deal!
I went into this movie with a great deal of pent up rage about various things that took place last week and I cannot begin to tell you how relaxed I feel after watching Salman Khan beat the living crap out of legions of extras. Hooray for Wanted!
PS – I’m still not watching Blue. Uh-unh, Akshay Kumar. We broke up a long time ago.