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RGV's Contract hits theatres today


Rajeev Masand,CNN-IBN
Jul 19, 2008 at 11:29am IST

Cast: Adhvik Mahajan

Director: Ram Gopal Varma

Satya and Company have been two of the most influential movies of the past ten years, but unfortunately their greatest influence has been on the dozen or so rip-offs that they've inspired. Think of how many bad gangster films you've seen recently that can be directly traced back to these two landmark movies.

Contract, which opens at cinemas this weekend, is a third-rate gangster film that suffers from a huge Satya hangover, but that's not even the most embarrassing thing about it. What's shameful and shocking about Contract is that it's been directed by Ram Gopal Varma, the very filmmaker who gave us Satya and Company in the first place.

Contract doesn't work because it has nothing to say. It makes a lame attempt at explaining the growing link between the underworld and terrorism, but that's done so conveniently and simplistically that the result is far from convincing.

The film focuses on Aman, a disillusioned RAW officer who is hired by a top cop to infiltrate an underworld don's gang so he can uncover the suspected nexus between that don and a feared terrorist.

If you smell The Departed, you're dead right, and Varma even pays a nod to Scorsese's film in a scene in Contract -- you'll know which one. In terms of screenplay and treatment, Contract is just a mangled mess of both Satya and Company. Almost all key scenes in Contract give you a sense of déjà vu - from those defining the relationship between a gangster and his nagging wife, to the ones with all that mindless banter between the henchmen - it's all been done before, and in better context. It doesn't help that Varma employs the most expressionless actors to fill most of his roles. Leading man Adhvik Mahajan (with the velcroed eyebrows) can't deliver one line of dialogue convincingly, and if that's not bad enough, he's got the presence of a postbox. The other actors aren't much better, including talented character artistes like Zakir Hussain who was so fine in Johnny Gaddar and Vibha Cheebur who left a lasting impression as the assistant hockey coach in Chak De India -- they're wasted in Contract, saddled with ill-conceived roles and left to their own devices.

Ramgopal Varma can be accused of many things, but being predictable is not one of them. It's unimaginable how Varma could see any potential in this lifeless script, how he could go out and shoot such flat scenes, how he could cast actors with such deadpan expressions, and how he could be fooled into thinking that anyone with a brain would find anything in this film interesting. Contract is a film so bad, it's almost like a spoof. Trust Varma to do the unthinkable. He's gone and spoofed his own classic film.

Rating, you ask me? You got to be kidding! It's a flat out zero for Ramgopal Varma's Contract. There's one scene in this film that's so prophetic, I'm almost convinced it's Varma's way of laughing at himself. A secondary character delivers this priceless line of dialogue: "Ek aur flop. Tum ek ke baad ek flop dete jaa rahe ho," he says. It's the only time you'll smile in this film.

Rating: 0 / 5 (Such Trash!)

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