IRFAAN BANGS INTO COMMERCIAL CINEMA TOO
IRFAAN BANGS INTO COMMERCIAL CINEMA TOO

By Pankaj Shukla

Critic's I-view

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It all started with Bipasha Basu and John Abraham lip locking on the sea beaches in trendsetter film 'Jism' some two years back. Since then Bollywood has found a new genre of Erotic Thriller. The trend continues or to be more precise made a dent on the making of cinema in Bollywood with films like 'Murder', 'Paap' and 'Tumsa Nahin Dekha', all from the Bhatt camp. Others too followed soon with 'Hawas', 'Tauba Tauba', 'Tum', 'Aitraaz' and 'Musafir'. All these films were heavily loaded with eroticism and with female leads in these films sans acting, but competing with each other for scantier clothes.

If 'Murder' was the only super duper hit film of last year, others of the genre too managed to recover their cost and also earned some profit in 2004. Now, Pooja Bhatt returns with 'Rog', the film was screened last year in Pakistan, thus earning Pooja a unique mention in Limca Book of Records for being the first Indian producer to have held premiers of her two consecutive films in Pakistan. Besides, she zeroed in on South African super model Ilene Hamann for lead role of 'Rog'. In Irfaan she found her new male protégé. Till date, Irfaan has been portrayed as anti-establishment hero as in 'Haasil' and 'Maqbool'. 'Rog' is his first take on commercial cinema doing romantic lead for the first time.

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'Rog' (sickness) tells the story of beauty and the beast that wakes up in the minds of those who come in contact with beauty. Ilene Hamann is the leading lady around whom the story of 'Rog' moves. Her beauty is so bewitching that every one who sees her tends to fall for her at first sight. Not knowing what is going on around her she heads for an ad man honcho (Suhel Seth making debut on big screen) and soon their life sails calmly. But, the silence turns deadly when one day she is found in a pool of blood.

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Who did this? How did he do this? What was the motive behind this brutal act against a woman who is as simple as the first droplet of the rain? And, it is here when the hero or the investigating officer (Irfaan) enters the scene. First he considers it as a usual crime case, but soon realizes that it is not as simple. Hamann's iIllusions make him crazy. Is he sick? But, this is only the start of the mayhem that he is going to lead into. His buddy (Munish Makhija, Pooja Bhatt's husband and ex-Udham Singh of Channel V) tries to stop him from falling a prey to this but in vain. The sickness, 'Rog', takes over the mind of an otherwise happy man.

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First Friday of New Year has always been seen as a doomed Friday in Bollywood. If we go by records no film in the last decade has met with success if released on this day. Pooja Bhatt wants to blast this myth with her erotic thriller, mainly due to intense acting by Irfaan coupled with good lyrics by Neelesh Mishra and Sayeed Qadri with melody flooding the ears on the tunes of M.M Kreem. Director Himanshu Brahmbhatt travels with his crew on the lines written by no one else than Pooja's father Mahesh Bhatt.

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The idea to make a dead woman sole interest of the investigating officer may not be new for those who are fans of the Hollywood cinema but for traditional Indian viewers it is a deviation for the stereotype. Himanshu gets a great help from his crew in general and cinematographer Anshuman Mahaley, editor Akiv Ali and action choreographer Abbas Ali Moughal in particular. If Anshuman has succeeded in catching the scenic as well as live (Ilene's) beauty on screen in breathtaking scenes, it is Akiv's sharp and pace editing that keeps the film in tandem. Abbas Ali comes to help Himanshu to a great extent while bringing in a lot of novelty in action. Theiba B. and Pooja S. show their perfection of arts in costume designing department.

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Loaded with a lot of fresh talent Pooja has managed to make a slick flick in 'Rog'. Having learnt a lot from her last film 'Paap' where she put her bet on Udita and John Abraham, this time around she made it a point to rope in a seasoned actor like Irfaan. Irfaan enjoys a huge fan following both in classes and masses. It is his portrayal of a sick-investigating officer that walks away will all the accolades.

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Irfaan's eyes speak louder than his words and every time he is in frame, be it talking to his buddy Munish or arguing with Suhel, he shows his capability as an actor who is now on the verge of getting acceptance in commercial cinema as well. Ilene may have done this film for fulfilling her adventurous spirits but her body contours will give sleepless nights to many. She may not have been good in expression but her body show leaves likes of Bipasha, Amrita and Mallika miles behind. 'Rog' is currently the talk of the town and with the word of mouth publicity; it is going to get good results at box office.

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