Posts tagged investment banker
It’s an open secret now that thousands of crores of rupees are stashed in numbered Swiss bank accounts by our politicians. It’s the tax payers’ money but somehow has gone into the neta’s pockets. This issue has been a hot topic since several years with the opposition party during the last year’s general elections promising people to bring back this money. The ruling party, however, denies the existence of such accounts. Knock Out deals with this issue and does almost a great job. Loosely inspired from Phone Booth and ‘A Wednesday!’, Knock Out could had been better but nevertheless creates an impact!
The story of the movie: Tony Khosla aka Bachchu (Irrfan) is a streetsmart investment banker. He is married to a sweet wife (Rukhsar) but still loves to gets into flings every now and then. He has high political connections and carries out many of their corrupt jobs. To be on the safe side, he always finalizes odd deals and jobs from a particular phone booth and not from his cell phone. One day, when he finishes his phone job and is about to leave the booth, the phone rings. Like anyone else, he picks up the phone. The caller on the other end is a mysterious person (Sanjay Dutt) who happens to everything about Bachchu, including his odd jobs. He orders Bachchu not to leave the booth or else he’ll shoot him with a sniper. The astonished Bachchu has no option but to listen to the caller. Unfortunately for Bachchu, a murder takes place at that place and everyone feels that it’s Bachchu who killed that person. Hence, the police and media arrive. They are puzzled as to whom Bachchu is speaking to on the phone and why didn’t he run after murdering. Soon, Bachchu finds himself in the midst of the biggest political heist of independent India. Will he emerge triumphant or will he have to be finished off by the caller or the political bigwigs? And what’s the caller’s real motive? Watch Knock Out and find out!
The negative publicity regarding the film was that it’s a rip off of Phone Booth. The truth is, there are several portions of Knock Out that have been inspired from the Hollywood flick. In fact, this whole idea of a man held hostage in a phone booth by a caller is taken from Phone Booth (although the director denies it). However, the Phone Booth effect stays only till the first hour. The second half is truly original and very unpredictable. You never what’ll happen next. However, at the same time, the film drags at places in this hour too. However, it picks up wonderfully in the climax which was fantastic! The way the flick turns from a thriller to a patriotic one is worth appreciating. The film ends with a nice message, one that actually shakes you!
Making a film where the two protagonists are talking on the phone for a major portion is a tough task. The interest shouldn’t dip even at a single moment and the emphasis should be more on the dialogues and expressions. The film hits the bulls eye in both these departments. The conversation between Irrfan-Sanju is brilliant and nicely written and executed too. Besides the phone sequences, 3 scenes which stand out are Irrfan telling the cop (Sushant Singh) not to disturb him (that was hilarious!), Irrfan dancing on ‘Zara Zara Touch Me’ and Irrfan making the big confession.
Sanjay Dutt has always been a fine actor but many of the films (esp the recent ones) had failed to tap his potential fully. Knock Out, however, gives him a complete chance to display his histrionics and talents and completely succeeds. Same goes for Irrfan…as the helpless hostage, he gives a stupendous performance. The unusual chemistry of Sanju-Irrfan was also truly electrifying although both don’t cross paths at all in the film.
Kangna Ranaut looks ravishing in her new look. Although her accent was flawed for a news reporter, she tries her best and almost seems like a convincing journo. Gulshan Grover is an expert in baddie roles and shines here as well. Sushant Singh was as good as Sanjay and Irrfan. Nice to see him in full form yet again! Apoorva Lakhia surprises in his debut performance. Rukhsar and others were good.
There were a couple of songs in the film but none made it to the final cut, including the title track and Mahie Gill’s item song. However, the background score (Sanjay Wandrekar, Atul Raninga) creates impact in several scenes, esp at the intermission point. N Natarajan Subramaniam’s cinematography was topnotch and editing (by Make Films) was slick and stylish, which was really needed for this film. Allan Amin’s action was brilliant, especially when goons attack Irrfan from the car and later attack Sanjay. As mentioned earlier, dialogues played a big role in the film and Shiraz Ahmed wins here as the dialogue writer.
Finally, Mani Shankar who has given us memorable films like 16 December and Tango Charlie does a fine job in story, screenplay and direction. Story, although not completely original, still is appreciable. Screenplay was excellent at places but wasn’t consistent and fell at some places. If Mani had taken care of it, the film would have been a classic. Same goes for his direction. A good job overall though!
Some of the best scenes:
1. Bapuji (Gulshan Grover) at Euro Swiss Bank HQ
2. Bachchu picks up caller’s phone
3. Bachchu tells the cop not to disturb him
4. Murder takes place
5. Nidhi (Kangna) finds a significant lead in the happenings
6. Police raids Sanjay’s hideout
7. The intermission point
8. Cops seize Bachchu’s car
9. The last 25 minutes
On the whole, Knock Out, though flawed, is engrossing and arrests your attention and doesn’t leave till the end of the film. Contrary to popular belief, the film is very loosely inspired from Phone Booth and the end product is drastically different from the Hollywood flick. Watching this film will be no harm and will surely provide 2 hours of entertainment and drama!
My rating-*** out of 5!
By Taran Adarsh, October 15, 2010 – 08:32 IST
Several factors compel you to ponder over your decision whether or not to watch KNOCK OUT…
- There’s talk that KNOCK OUT is a blatant copy of PHONE BOOTH. If you’ve watched the original, why watch its clone?
- You rush to a nearby cineplex only if the film excites you and in this case, the buzz is missing.
- Sanjay Dutt – the lead actor – hasn’t been a part of a worthy film, post MUNNABHAI. That automatically robs the sheen from the film.
You can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that KNOCK OUT borrows from PHONE BOOTH. Even otherwise, a man held hostage in a telephone booth by a sniper automatically compels you to think that PHONE BOOTH is the prime source of inspiration, but what follows after a point bears no resemblance to that film. In fact, KNOCK OUT also bears an uncanny resemblance to A WEDNESDAY, although the two films are as diverse as chalk and cheese in terms of how the storyline progresses.
KNOCK OUT is a thriller that keeps you hooked at regular intervals. The best thing about the film is that it remains focused to the plot and there are no deviations [thankfully!] in terms of songs, comedy or any other parallel track. Of course, there are hiccups, but the finale and the message it conveys camouflages the defects largely.
Final word? If one goes with minimal expectations, chances are you may like this film.
KNOCK OUT takes place almost entirely inside a public phone booth on a busy street. Bachchu aka Tony Khosla [Irrfan] uses the phone booth to carry out all the odd jobs he’s into. After one such call, when Irrfan is about to leave the phone booth, the phone rings and he instinctively picks it up. On the other end of the line is a menacing caller [Sanjay Dutt].
The voice demands that Irrfan stay in the phone booth or else, the caller would destroy his marriage [Rukhsaar plays Irrfan's wife] and ruin his reputation of an investment banker. Irrfan tries to hang up the phone, but the voice on the phone threatens to kill him. Stuck in the phone booth, he’s forced to ward off anyone who tries to get him out, including a drug addict.
The drug addict is shot dead by the caller and the police as well as the media arrive on the scene. The caller makes Bachchu dance to his tunes for a valid reason.
Come to think of it, KNOCK OUT is a difficult film to execute because the two characters – Sanju and Irrfan – never cross paths, except for a fleeting moment towards the end. In fact, they are constantly talking to each other over phone. Now watching a man trapped in a phone booth [for the entire film] could make the viewer restless. But the engaging screenplay and the energetic pacing keeps the viewer on toes. You just don’t know what to expect next, since the story doesn’t follow the beaten path.
What sets it apart from not just PHONE BOOTH, but also other films [including LIBERTY STANDS STILL] is the fact that Sanju is not out to settle personal scores with the wrongdoers [Irrfan, Gulshan Grover]. He wants to book those who have cheated India by stashing unaccounted money across various banks abroad. In fact, the finale is the best part of the enterprise and stirs up patriotic feelings.
On the flipside, the film tends to get repetitive at times. The middle of the second hour stagnates, albeit for a few minutes. Also, there’s a reference to a woman that makes Sanju extremely emotional. One assumes that the woman is linked to Sanju is some way, but that remains a mystery all through.
Mani Shankar illustrates his ability as a fine storyteller. His handling of the subject is commendable. Also, the director employs the split-screen style to tell the story, which comes across very well. Cinematography [N. Natarajan Subramanian] is striking. Action scenes [Allan Amin] are vibrant. However, the one-on-one fight in the climax or prior to that, when the cops enter Sanju’s apartment and Sanju kills all of them single-handedly, should’ve been avoided. It robs the film on realism. Dialogues [Shiraz Ahmed] are razor sharp and an asset. I wish to make a special mention of the background score [Sanjay Wandrekar, Atul Raninga], which is truly fantastic.
The casting is just perfect. Sanju seems to be in form after a really long time, after MUNNABHAI in fact. Besides, the performance is consistent from start to end, which only goes to show the involvement of the actor in the script and director. Irrfan is akin to a chameleon. Cast him in any role and he emerges trumps. A lesser actor in his place and KNOCK OUT would’ve got knocked out. Kangna is efficient, as always. But her diction is faulty at places.
Gulshan Grover is excellent. He plays the corrupt politician with natural ease. Sushant Singh is first-rate. Rukhsar is good in a brief role. Apoorva Lakhia carries the stern look well. Asif Basra does a commendable job.
On the whole, KNOCK OUT is a watchable fare, but its English title and also Sanjay Dutt’s box-office pull, which is minimal currently, will act as deterrents. Therefore, the film will require a very strong word of mouth to find a foothold.
Rachel Fernandes (BOMBAY TIMES; October 10, 2010)
Irrfan Khan’s reputation for versatility is well know in the film industry. He is one of the few actor who has essayed a wide range of characters, both dark and romantic, with equal panache. And in Knock Out, where he plays the role of a street-smart investment banker, the target of a nameless foe (Sanjay Dutt) who turns his world upside down, Irrfan has gone a step further by getting himself a brand new look. It’s suave, sexy and “very metrosexual” as the actor chooses to describe it.
“My role is that of a flamboyant guy and it needed me to sport a metrosexual look. Hence, I got myself a different hairstyle and consequently, a new look. I must say I’m really looking different and I feel it’s made a huge difference to my role. Had I stuck to my regular look, I think it wouldn’t have made the same impact on my character,” says the actor. He adds that though the producers initially weren’t keen on him changing his look, they eventually ended up loving what they saw.
Flamboyant and Irrfan? That’s got to be something new for his fans, isn’t it? “If one has to look at the same face again and again, it gets quite boring. Sometimes the role demands a new look, but sometimes I do it just for the heck of it. ,” he says.
Talking about the experience of shooting this fast-paced thriller, Irrfan says, “It was a bit tedious. There was no face to look at. All through the movie, the other person was on the phone and hence, it became a bit mechanical. But I have seen the film and I am very excited by it,” he says. About the rumours that his role is a copy of Colin Farrell’s in Phone Booth, Irrfan has just one thing to say, “Watch the film and then give the verdict. Anyways, what’s the point of doing a role that’s already been done by someone else?”
So will he carry on with this metrosexual look post the film? “If my future roles and of course, the public demand it, I will definitely repeat it,” the actor concludes.
Knock Out releases on October 15.
(Contributed by Meena Iyer and Prithwish Ganguly)
Dressed in a wispy Stella McCartney dress, relaxed at home surrounded by family and dog, Kangna Ranaut basks in the success of her latest film. With her legs folded under her, she looks like a little girl but comes to life and is all-woman when our photographer enters the room. That’s typically her, an actress who can change mood and look in seconds as she talks about her life and where she sees it going.
• Could you ever submit yourself and your career totally to one man the way your character did in Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai?
Gosh no, the thought is scary. Thank God we don’t live in those times when we could be told that if we did or didn’t do something we would be shot. I am very happy to be living in the times I do when things are cool and we can date whoever we want to without fear of repercussions. I am in Mumbai because here I have freedom. If I have to be told what to do I would rather live in Manali, with its social pressures.
• So much of freedom and you aren’t even dating?
Trust me I am exercising my freedom but because I am surrounded only by married guys, I don’t get a chance to go on dates. Freedom is not about walking into a club and saying hey, I’m single. I always say that I am late by 10 years in the industry because all our best heroes, directors and producers who I deal with daily are married and have children. Unfortunately, I never meet any businessman, investment banker or engineer, and even if I do all they want is an autograph.
• This seems to make you sad…
Yeah, it is sad at times. I am young and all my friends are dating or getting married but I have been exceptionally unlucky with love. None of my relationships have really worked.
A lot of my friends have been in love for 10 years and are now getting married. But I didn’t meet any guy in school; I grew up and just randomly dated. That’s why I say I have been exceptionally unlucky. Today, I am totally open to somebody match-making for me.
• What have your characters taught you about yourself?
It is weird that whatever I have learnt about myself, my life or other people, it has been through my work. I am not well educated. And though I read a lot even more than that I observe people, see their expressions and emotions and every script and every story tells me so much about life and people. During Gangster itself I realised that I am exceptionally talented. So now I don’t underestimate myself.
The other thing I have learnt about myself is that there are many sides to me. I can be extremely aggressive and I can be extremely tender. And because I have been subjected to the most difficult circumstances at a very young age, I tend to behave like a man most of the time. When I meet a man I act so much like him that I evoke more competition than desire in him. But when I emote romance, a very soft and feminine side to me emerges.
• And from being a part of the film industry…
There is one thing about the film industry that hurts me very much. And that is that the industry on the whole is very partial to its own people. I know that if Gangster had flopped, then, despite my performance, I would have never been given another chance. But I am God’s favoured child so no one can do anything about it. I have a success percentage of 99 per cent which sometimes surprises me too.
Actors who belong to the industry are given chance upon chance till they make it, which is ok, but when there is an exceptional talent, the industry should be kinder to them. It should not be all about babalog and babylog.
There is no doubt that our work is given not only less appreciation but also less respect. Otherwise why would I have been jobless for a year between Life in A Metro and Fashion?
• You were not offered any roles?
I was offered roles but they were all B-grade or C-grade films. Today people are very kind but I remember a time when they would do everything to keep me out of the big league.
• And are you being selective now?
No. I don’t want to only have two films a year. I am in the process of experimentation. I will keep doing comedy, thriller, dancing singing roles, intense characters and romantic love stories so that by the middle of 2012 or so I will know my forte. I am probably the actress working on the maximum films. I have seven releases coming up and am working on five films. If I have signed 15 films, you can figure that I must have been offered at least 25.
• What are your securities and insecurities at this point?
My biggest security is my talent, my passion, my enthusiasm. My inspiration comes from within and I totally ignore people who are negative. When I am low and my father tries to be supportive and says, “You don’t need to do this. Why are you crying and feeling bad? Don’t forget we have a beautiful house, we can go back to it” I am like, “Can you please go from here?” Whenever I am upset my inspiration comes from within. My spirit is all I have.
Like any other person I feel extremely insecure, sometimes. Today I am on my way to doing things that will take me to my goal, the things that will make me happy and feel complete.
But my biggest fear is that what if I get there and then don’t get that feeling? What if I feel this is not what I should have done. Is this the meaning that everyone is looking for in life? That really scares me.
Sammir Dattani’s on cloud nine. The actor is super thrilled with the audience’s response to his latest release I Hate Luv Storys (IHLS). Sammir, who made his debut with a Rajshri film and was later seen in the critically acclaimed Mukhbir, is very pleased with the was his career is shaping up. Earlier this year he was seen in Shyam Benegal’s Well Done Abba, and in his recent release, he wears his heart on his sleeve to woo his lady love Sonam Kapoor in style.
A Shyam Benegal film and a Karan Johar release in the same year has been extremely exciting for him. “Last year I told a friend that I want to do a Dharma film and work with Sonam Kapoor. I didn’t expect both things to happen together,” he says.
Speaking about his character Raj in IHLS, he says, “Who would not like Raj? He’s your quintessential lover boy and a perfect catch. Sonam and I play Raj and Simran — the perfect couple a la Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. That was really special since DDLJ is among my all time favourite romantic films.” So did he take inspiration from Shah Rukh Khan for his character? “No, I play an investment banker. He comes from a corporate background, dresses formally. Also our director Punit Malhotra knew exactly what he wanted so I didn’t need to look anywhere for inspiration. But yes, I do go down on my knees and sing Tujhe dekha to yeh jaana sanam to Sonam in our opening scene. I was so anxious about the idea of singing impromptu on screen,” he laughs. Remembering the shoot, he says, “The fun element was always high during the shoot. We were all pretty much a bunch of youngsters on the set having fun and working very hard at the same time.” This year has been good, and Sammir is looking ahead for the things that are in store ahead. “I have already had two great releases and got two more coming later this year, which also includes a South film,” says the actor who has many hits to his credit down South. But right now he’s basking in the love that IHLS has garnered. As far as his own love story goes, he says, “Well what’s life without love, I’m the guy who ‘loves’ love stories, but I have to add we don’t match our clothes!”
BOMBAY TIMES (July 4, 2010)