Cast: Anil Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Zayed Khan, Boman Irani, Sameera Reddy, Kangna Ranaut
Priyadarshan is a comedy film man. Well, mostly. With Tezz, he has tried to pull a fast one. Pun not intended.
“English filmein bahut dekhta hoga,” says Arjun Khanna (Anil Kapoor), retired counterterrorism officer in the UK. The same can be said about Priyadarshan. He liberally uses Hollywood film Speed as reference point to tezz his train of thought. It’s officially an action thriller, no denying that. You know something’s wrong when you laugh when you’re not supposed to.
Aakash Rana (Ajay Devgn), Adil Khan (Zayed Khan. How convenient is it to use a name like that and then say we’re not being xenophobic?) and Meghna (Sameera Reddy) plant a bomb in a train going from London to Glasgow. Railway traffic controller Sanjay Raina (Boman Irani) has just seen his daughter off on the same train. Sanjay has a personal reason to stop the bomb from exploding. There’s a catch: if the speed of the train goes below 60 km/hour, the bomb will explode. Sounds familiar? Never mind. Aakash keeps the railway control room on their toes with constant updates about the train, while asking for an insane amount of money.
The film opens with a sullen Aakash in a courtroom, where his marriage to Nikita (Kangna Ranaut) and stay in the UK has been deemed illegal. Immigration authorities deport him to India, only so he could return four years later to bomb UK trains. Sounds frivolous, feels even more stupid than that. Since it’s a foreign setting, a tinge of racism, misleading terror suggestions and fake tempers (mind you only Indians in high positions) slyly make entries and exits.
Many questions fly fast and furious: Who goes bombing trains for being caught living illegally in a foreign country?
Why demand ransom when all you want is to be with your family?
Is being a former boss good enough reason for ex-employees to blow themselves to smithereens?
If you’re a criminal, get over and be done with your crime. Why subject a compatriot to dialoguebaazi on family life and children?
Without doubt, some of the chase sequences are gripping and well-executed but the sense of déjà vu always lingers. Only this time Bollywood faces are in the middle of the action. Kapoor and Devgn are very good. Khan looks out of touch and lost (PS: He acted in a film called Speed in 2007. It had nothing to do with the Keanu Reaves-starrer Speed Tezz is borrowed from. But was the remake of another Hollywood film altogether. Confused? It’s alright). Even the filmmakers thought Khan was so useless; they gave the good stunts to Reddy, who is equally dazed because she has a brother who’s on his way to going blind. Really now? As ex-employees why they agree to be part of Devgn’s plan is another discussion altogether. Then there’s South star Mohanlal, too, sadly reduced to a portly police officer waylaid on the ill-fated train. Kangana Ranaut has more of a cameo (thank heavens for small mercies). Sabu Cyril’s production design gives Tezz a slick look, but the script falters so much the pace stops mattering.
May be Priyadarshan should stick to mindless comedies, so we can be sure we’re in safe territory. You won’t be missing much if you skipped Tezz.