Not On Assignment

A journo's jottings under no deadline pressure (since Jan 1, 2010)

A tale of two Johnnys

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Sriram Raghavan, the Stardust journalist-turned filmmaker has done a commendable job with his second feature film Johnny Gaddaar (the debut was in 2004 with Ek Hasina Thi). Not since the days of Vijay Anand and his Teesri Manzil has a director come along who can rivet you to your seat. Raghavan, who has also written the script, does not throw in a single loose scene in the suspense caper.
I will not dwell on the story for that would mean talking a bit about the superb twists and turns in the movie.
Suffice it to say that Raghavan has extracted wonderful performances from most of the cast including Neil Nitin Mukesh (the singer’s grandson), Dharmendra, Vinay Pathak, Zakir Hussain (Sarkar’s Rashid; Shardul here), Daya Shetty (of CID fame), Ashwini Khalsekar (ex-CID) and the brilliant, ever dependable character actor Govind Namdeo (as Inspector Kalyan).
And yes, watch out for Raghavan’s constant tributes to Vijay Anand’s brilliant body of work.
In an interview before the movie’s release he was asked “Why Johnny Gaddaar? Is Johnny one of the central characters?”
This is what the writer-director had replied:
”No. There is no character by that name. Actually I have always had the highest regard for Vijay Anand and this is my way of paying homage to him. I vividly remember some of his films like Jewel Thief, Guide, Teesri Manzil, etc. They are decades old but still so much fun to watch.
“His work is admirable and I simply loved Johnny Mera Naam. It suddenly struck me to incorporate a kind of a movie excerpt from Johnny Mera Naam in a particular sequence in the film, and hence the title.”
Apart from the title, there are other references like a character reading The Guide, dancing girls with Teesri Manzil-type dresses and hairstyles, a hint of the background score from Johnny Mera Naam… oh, there are many… go spot them yourself!

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Written by Raju Bist

February 15, 2010 at 7:21 pm

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