Let’s go crazy Bollywood style!
Kaante is weird and not helped by some dodgy subtitle work on the version I saw. Basically six crim types get thrown together in lock up and devise a way of getting back at the cops by robbing the ‘American Bank’ (imaginative). Because this is a remake of Reservoir Dogs there was the same array of characters, Mr Crazy (torture guy), Mr Full of Himself, Mr Aged and Respected, Mr Undercover Cop and Mr Tough Guy. It couldn’t be more by the book (Quentin Tarantino’s book that is).
I’m not sure if this was made as an outright version of Reservoir Dogs but the story is EXACTLY the same. However, while being surprisingly badly acted especially by Mr Crazy Guy it is also full of Bollywood musical numbers! Can an Indian film be made without musical numbers? I wish they could because I probably would have liked this better without singing and dancing. The first time it happened I was actually a little shocked as it was so out of the blue compared to the serious gritty kind of atmosphere Kaante was trying to develop up until that point.
The main characters even did a number which was especially weird because they were planning a bank robbery. Imagine Ocean’s Eleven with George Clooney and Brad Pitt suddenly starting to sing over the plans of the casino vault followed by highly choreographed dancing. Not good. It really ruined any flow the film had and certainly destroyed the trying to be ‘gritty’ atmosphere of the non-dancey scenes.
The only woman of note was the pole dancer girlfriend of Mr Tough Guy (he really did it all for love) and I’m pretty sure she was only in it so she could sing a number. Seeing an Indian woman portray a pole dancer in a Bollywood film was odd as it was meant to be kind of seedy/gritty but really it was very nice. She was nicely dressed and she danced nicely (not your usual pole dancing scene in an action film). Another thing that ruined any kind of crim movie atmosphere from developing. It would be better to have no pole dancing, I’m fine with that.
Kaante seemed to be directed by somebody who had previously only done music videos. The lighting was odd, apparently LA is always bathed in a yellow glow, a very yellow glow, in fact a fluorescent yellow glow. I think the director was probably going for seedy sepia toned noir but ended up with unpleasant Crayola toned jaune (yes, I googled it, French for yellow). The editing was choppy, with jumpy repetition and slo mo over use. It would be fine for a four minute music video and that’s about all.
I think the icing on the cake for the whole movie watching experience is that Kaante runs for two and a half hours (it took me three sessions to get through it). Apparently Bollywood movie directors don’t cut out content for musical inclusions.
Even so, after all the above, it is the best Bollywood film I have ever seen. That’s really not saying much at all.