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Carry on racing

Friday, June 15, 2018

The third film in the 'Race' franchise releases today – this one directed by Remo D'Souza with major stars and a mega-budget. These big, splashy films are like fast food, instantly forgettable. So a reminder of what the earlier two films – directed by Abbas-Mustan – were about is in order.

The first film (2008) was a construction of elaborate deceptions and double-crosses involving two half-brothers Ranbir (Saif Ali Khan), Rajeev (Akshaye Khanna) and the women in their lives, Sonia (Bipasha Basu) and Sophia (Katrina Kaif). The brothers, while professing love and caring on the surface, were actually after the family's stud-farm fortune in South Africa.

Anil Kapoor turned turned up as a fruit-chomping cop Robert D'Costa, with a dumb sidekick Mini (Sameera Reddy). Robert, investigating a murder and “intorragating” (sic) suspects, was supposed to provide comic relief, but he was given the most vulgar lines heard from Anil Kapoor in quite a long time; and for all their cunning, the foursome left incriminating trails any half-wit detective could follow.

The men were so busy trying to look cool or menacing, that they skipped acting. The women had to slip into sexy threads and dance (terrible costumes and worse choreography!) when the going got too serious.

In 'Race 2' (2013) John Abraham played the greedy and ruthless Armaan Malik, Deepika Padukone was his half sister Alina (described a “pillar who can be a killer!”) and Jacqueline Fernandes his girlfriend Omisha. Saif Ali Khan's Ranvir Singh returns from 'Race' (2008) along with the fruit chomping Robert D’Costa (Anil Kapoor), with his new sidekick Cherry (Ameesha Patel) and more vulgar dialogue, that has to be heard to be believed.

The plot was the usual Abbas Mustan maze of scheming, double crossing, bombastic dialogue and some steamy stuff, though much less than in 'Race', all of it shot on exotic locations.

The leading men and women were obviously cast for their bodies rather than their talent, though Saif Ali Khan looked rather beefy. John Abraham got one unnecessary boxing scene, so that he could flex his muscles. The music was dull and the picturisation even more so.

'Race 3' got Salman Khan on board, and these days, he is all a film needs to draw in crowds. Such is his clout that a week before and a week after his movie is scheduled to release, no major film is lined up.

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