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BOLLYWOOD | Film Review
Humdrum Roller Coaster: Tezz

Directed by: Priyadarshan
Produced by: Ratan Jain
Music: Sajid-Wajid
Starring: Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor,
Boman Irani, Zayed Khan, Kangna Ranaut, Sameera Reddy and Mohanlal.

Reviewed by: Joginder Tuteja
Rating: ** (Mediocre)

Congress Party general secretary Rahul Gandhi
Ajay Devgn and Anil Kapoor (r) in “Tezz.”

"Ye Angrezi Picture Bahaut Dekhta Hai” - The dialog mouthed by Anil Kapoor for Ajay Devgn could well have been reserved for the makers of Tezz who take the Hollywood route when it comes to “the-train-is-all-set-to-blow” -- a genre in itself. It isn't difficult to find numerous reference points for the film, both from East as well as West. However what works for most part of the film is the entertainment quotient that it brings with it. Yes, there are occasional dips this Priyadarshan-directed action thriller takes, especially towards the climactic sequence. Still, what one remembers most are quite a few action and chase sequences that account for paisa vasool.

The storyline of Tezz is very basic and has been well conveyed through the promos. Ajay Devgn and his accomplices Zayed Khan and Sameera Reddy have planted a bomb in a fast moving train. Now it’s the job of Boman Irani (in the control room) and Anil Kapoor (on the road) to foil his plans. In the middle of all this, there is another cop (inside the train) who finds himself trapped. As the drama unfolds over a period of 10-12 hours, there are choppers, speedboats, bikes, cars, explosions and bullets filling in the frames at regular intervals.

Congress Party general secretary Rahul Gandhi
(Above): Sameera Reddy and
Ajay Devgn (r) in “Tezz.”

There are number of sequences like this that stand out but the ones that stay in your mind are ironically the ones that are not set in the train. Whether it is elaborate bike sequence featuring Sameera Reddy (which is bettered only by a similar sequence featuring Zayed Khan in Blue) in the first half of the movie or the one that takes place in the second half with Zayed getting into a Parkour mode, they are good enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. Of course one can get into a comparison mode with Hollywood but the fact remains that when it comes to Bollywood flicks, the sequences do stand out.

What doesn't stand out though are the sequences set in and around the train. Frankly, when the center of attraction is a train, one indeed expects better thrills, visuals and heart stopping moments. After all, the stakes have been indeed set high by the number of movies based on this genre and even our own “desi” The Burning Train had ample nail biting sequences. However, in case of Tezz, even the important sequence featuring the track change of two trains is done in a jiffy. Ditto for the sequence where passengers are moved from one train to another. Not just do these sequences struggle to catch your attention; they don't even have the kind of special effects that could have made it all look believable.

Thankfully, the actors try to make the entire plot look believable. Anil Kapoor and Boman Irani seem most natural and indeed seem to be going the extra distance to make their performances stand out. There is a touch of humor in Kapoor's dialogues and the very fact that the actor's presence is felt in almost every episode is a reason to rejoice. He is quite good and so is Boman Irani who showcases once again that he can do much more than just go over the top in comic affairs like Housefull 2. As for Ajay Devgn, he is present more in the second half of the film and there too comes up with the kind of act that he could do in sleep.

Congress Party general secretary Rahul Gandhi
Ajay Devgn in “Tezz.”

As for the other actors, there isn't much to really talk about from performances perspective. Sameera Reddy and Zayed Khan have limited screen time, happy to take home a high-octane action sequence each. Mohanlal has a ‘nothing’ role. Kangana keeps making her presence felt intermittently though the couple of songs (despite appearing for just about a minute each) disturb the flow of the narrative that could have done better by sticking to the path of being a tout thriller. In fact, the entire emotional angle of Ajay-Kangana love story, especially when the duo meets in the second half, is distracting. The same can be said for the climax, which is overly extended when Ajay and Anil come face to face, followed by an emotional cry that carries a clichéd theme.

Still, what stands out in Tezz is it's rich look, visible in most of the frames, especially the ones set in London outdoors. Frankly, this is one of those rare Bollywood films where a major part of the film is indeed shot outdoors instead of using the city as just a picture postcard. The city has been captured quite well and the real locations further add authenticity to the drama.

The uncomplicated plot and theme means that stylish execution is a good enough reason to see those 120 odd minutes flow by while you munch your popcorn. In that aspect, Priyadarshan and his crew have ensured there are ample action sequences interspersed into the narrative to keep audience interest alive. Now this is what works most for the film because as long as the narrative is indeed tez, you are hooked on to the proceedings.

Joginder Tuteja is a Bollywood writer based in Mumbai, India.


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