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Directors raise a toast to Johnny Gaddaar

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By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Thursday, October 04, 2007

In an era when weekend business spells 'do or die" for a film and deadly SMS"s (starting soon after the film's premier commences) contribute to making or breaking a movie, it is rare to see a majority of film personalities standing up and acknowledging an effort from a film coming from a second time director.

Yes, I am talking about Sriram Raghavan and his 'wow-watt a-film" Johnny Gaddaar!

Once the film released on the Friday is gone by, audience was unanimous in concluding that this was the under hyped though deserving film of the year. Reason? Johhny Gaddaar had all what a lover of quality, intelligence, entertainment would ever look for!

A thriller that alternates between the style of Alfred Hitchcock, Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie amongst many other Hollywood greats while still being core 'desi' at heart (Vijay Anand would definitely nod in the affirmative), Johhny Gaddaar came with decent publicity sans any 'look-at-me-I-am-the-best' approach. Adlabs and Sriram preferred to let the film do the talking.

So much so, that they chose to publicize Neil Nitin Mukesh as much as probably Dharmendra, Zakir Hussain (wow, what an actor!) or Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy-Hardkaur's sassy music video 'Doob Jaa Mere Pyaar Mein'!

What they did was right. The film actually did all the talking and the first caller was an unsuspecting Madhur Bhandarkar.

When my cell phone rung at 1 AM on Sunday morning with the name Madhur Bhandarkar being flashed, I thought that he was finally ready with his announcement for his much-in-demand 'Fashion'. Well, he did disappoint me by answering my obvious question in the negative but had me all open-eyed as he started talking about how he was literally bowled over by Johnny Gaddaar.

"Mind-blowing," he said, and continued to rattle the same word repeatedly for at least half a dozen times more. After constantly insisting to say something else about the film he caught his breath and got started.

"This is a film which I would recommend every aspiring film maker to be watching. What a film? You just do not know what is going to hit you next. Sriram has impressed me in all ways and I am going to make sure that the world is aware about the kind of storyteller this filmmaker is. Also, look at Neil. I am sure I am not the first or the last person to be saying that this boy would do wonders in years to come," he started his commentary.

He was not going to stop now. "I consider myself to be such a big critic of cinema. Whenever a movie releases, I make sure to find out the best and the worst part about it. But Johnny Gaddaar? I am still trying to find loopholes in the script and cannot find any! 'Kya zabardast screenplay hai"! My heart goes out to Sriram"s fantastic effort. Did you notice the camerawork? Mind-blowing (there he goes again...)! I could hardly see the suspense coming. The film now sits at the top of some of the best thrillers I have watched," concluded Madhur while finally managing to catch a breath.

Honest comments like these coming from a director, who have seldom seen such great things about a film, made me turn myself to composer Vishal Dadlani. It was around a month back when he had first led me to believe that Johnny Gaddaar was a film to watch out for. He had watched it a number of months back when it was yet to be stuffed with background score and SFX and apparently was bowled over by the entire execution. What did he have to say now after the release of the film?

"Sriram is a truly genius director. Doesn't that just sum it up," he asks, "He is one film maker who has the courage to make truly great films. Look at the way he has pushed the envelope here again after Ek Haseena Thi. Could you really see the suspense coming and that too in a film where the suspense was actually supposed to have been revealed in the first 15 minutes itself?"

Talking about the 'surprise discovery' of the year when all eyes are set on Ranbir Kapoor, Harman Baweja and Sikandar Kher, Vishal says, "It's great to see a boy like Neil entering the arena. In an industry where we are eyeing for new talent to be making a mark, a boy like Neil deserves to be acknowledged and accepted. A few more good moves and the game is on for him!"

With all around positive vibes coming from industry folks and friends in general, I started keeping a close eye on what others had to say about the film. A little birdie informed that 'Bluffmaster" Rohan Sippy, was not quite bluffing while singing praises for Johnny Gaddaar I expected my quick SMS to Rohan being answered in a few hours time once he got some time off from pre-production of his next film. To my pleasant surprise it was barely 10 minutes, when the reply came, "It is about Johnny Gaddaar, so let's talk now!"

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