by Taran Aadarsh | Posted Dec 9, 2005
Arjun Sablok had everything going in his favor: The country's Numero Uno production house to back him [Yash Raj], the best of resources at his disposal, the works. But after watching NEAL 'N' NIKKI, you can't help but feel sorry that Sablok let go of a golden opportunity.
The hallmark of Yash Raj productions has been, most of the times, their solid stories. But there's none in NEAL 'N' NIKKI. Even if you sit down with a magnifying glass to search for one, chances are you'd get nowhere.
But, yes, what you'd actually find in abundance in NEAL 'N' NIKKI is vulgarity, with the camera focused on bust and butt all the while. If there was an award for one of the most vulgar and sleaziest films [in the name of contemporary cinema] made in the recent times, NEAL 'N' NIKKI would surely win hands down.
Supposedly aimed at the youth, NEAL 'N' NIKKI is as lifeless as a mannequin in a hi-tech departmental store. You may embellish it with the best of garments, but the fact remains that the soul is missing!
Set in Canada, NEAL 'N' NIKKI is the story of two Indians, born and bred in Canada. It is the story of a journey that changes their lives forever...
Neal [Uday Chopra] gives into his parents' wishes of marrying a girl called Sweetie [Richa Pallod] from Bhatinda, but has just one pre-condition. He wants to live it up one last time and go to Vancouver on a 21-day bachelor vacation.
Neal gets lucky on his first day out in Vancouver and is asked out by a hot supermodel. A silly, spunky Indian girl ruins the date. The girl? Nikki [Tanisha]. But this is only the first of many chance encounters, where Nikki -- mostly by accident -- ensures that Neal never, ever gets lucky. Whatever Neal does, Nikki undoes. Call it luck, call it fate, call it anything. Bit by bit, Neal's bachelor vacation starts falling apart.
The two call a truce when Nikki decides to help Neal get some serious action. She tells him she can get him laid and takes him to babe heaven - Whistler. As they explore the Canadian countryside, Neal and Nikki exchange life stories and discover that as different as they appear to be, they are actually similar. And no matter how much they say they hate each other, they become 'fun buddies'. A strange chemistry ignites between them.
But the bubble bursts when Neal realizes that Nikki has some very definite plans to 'use' him. Does Neal abandon his road trip and return to Vancouver? Does the twain ever meet? Do opposites really attract? Are Neal and Nikki the perfect foil for each other? Or is the anonymous girl from Bhatinda the right choice for Neal?
NEAL 'N' NIKKI charters the same path as most love stories: Boy meets girl, they can't stand each other initially, but fall in love subsequently, there are obstacles and misunderstandings. The age-old formula has been beaten to death since time immemorial. In actuality, NEAL 'N' NIKKI turns out to be a very poor rehash of Aditya Chopra's blockbuster hit DILWALE DULHANIYA LE JAYENGE. Of course, NEAL 'N' NIKKI gets it all wrong: It harps on sex more than story and that's why it fails miserably.
Frankly, there's no story as such. And you realize it all through the first 45 minutes. The two youngsters, Uday and Tanisha, are complete maniacs. The guy wants to bed every woman he sees, while the girl wants to aid the guy in his 'mission'. All through the journey what you get to see is Uday eyeing every second woman's busts and the conversation veering towards 'wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am' kind of situations. There's no twist and turn in the plot, so when the intermission card is flashed at the end of the first part, you actually wonder whether you were indeed watching a film or listening to some non-stop meaningless chatter by two youngsters who refuse to grow up.
Thankfully, there are a few interesting incidents in the post-interval portions. The twist in the tale - when Uday discovers that Tanisha is Richa's cousin - catches you by surprise. But the subsequent portions - Uday loves Tanisha, but Tanisha is still in a state of denial - come across as a complete farce.
Even the end - when Gaurav Gera suddenly gets up and professes love for Richa Pallod, while she is getting engaged to Uday - looks like a complete compromise from the writing point of view. In fact, the screenplay of this film is so tacky, so listless, so lackluster that you realize that Sablok has no clue of what screenplay writing is all about. Or, perhaps, Sablok took the audience for granted!
Director Arjun Sablok concentrates more on visuals than content. The film has an upmarket look from start to end, but how one wishes he'd worked harder on the screenplay. Also, why this need to focus on bust-n-butt in almost every sequence? Is that the definition of modern cinema? Or is that what Sablok thinks the moviegoers want to watch over a gripping story? Sorry, that's not naughty, that's cheap!
Salim-Sulaiman's music is strictly functional. The songs give you the heard-them-before feeling, barring the 'Halla Re' track. Cinematography [P.S. Vinod] is fantastic and the locales of Canada have been captured on celluloid with dexterity.
Uday Chopra is likeable at most times, although he tends to go overboard in some scenes. Tanisha hams throughout and gets on your nerves with her screechy voice. However, her makeover is commendable. Richa Pallod gets no scope. Gaurav Gera is pure teakwood. Abhishek Bachchan makes an insignificant cameo in 'Halla Re' song.
On the whole, NEAL 'N' NIKKI concentrates more on sex, skin show, sleaze and vulgarity than a sound story. A terrible letdown in terms of content, the film has precious little to offer to the moviegoers. At the box-office, the generous dose of skin show and vulgarity in the absence of a script will tell on its business. Also, may a scene in English will only restrict its appeal further.
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