Sending a chill through your spine as you bite your nails in frenzy with eyes glued to the screen and the world around you hardly existing, thrillers have become the trend setters in Bollywood. A curious concoction of suspense, mystery, action and a tinge of drama there would be hardly any takers amongst those too soft at heart. Bollywood has always gone the way success sheds its light, save for those daring and unwilling to be lost in the crowd. So when thrillers became a fashion statement, many movies cropped up, but definitely one has to vouchsafe for those movies which have outshone the rest.
If Omen, Dracula, Shelock Holmes and Signs gives many goosebumps, our movies tempered in our soil with the flavour of the times have also stood apart. Many have held the flag aloft in the past and in the present too there is hardly any dearth of the new age thrillers. The list hails predecessors like Jewel Thief to Dhoom to Manorama Six Feet Under to the news makers of this year – Aamir, A Wednesday and Kidnap – for reasons good or bad. Raj Kumar Gupta's Aamir, Neeraj Pandey's A Wednesday and Sanjay Gadhvi's Kidnap, the much talked about movies of this year have one thing in common, the thriller genre. Well would the tag 'thriller' be apt for the three movies in unison. When suspense hardly concedes to logic and movies are made for the sake of the money factor and the star value added, they would not be thrillers but the much hyped 'time fillers'.
Aamir brings suspense in every frame as Aamir essayed by Rajeev Khandelwal, a puppet in the hands of the Muslim extremists is dragged from one quagmire to another with an ever prowling eye keeping vigil on him. As he executes one tasks after other to save his abducted family, audience wait with abated breath to see him succeed and rescue his loved ones. And the final bomb explosion and his martyrdom, add realism rather than falling into the slot of 'and they lived happily ever after'. Life is not all that rosy; Aamir shows life as heaven and hell are out there in our vicinity and all it asks for is a sensitive eye to see. Aamir symbolizes suspense and tension, without losing out on the the punch even in a frame.
A Wednesday is an edge-of-the-seat thriller and with seasoned actors Naseeruddin Shah and Anupam Kher at the helm you cannot ask for anything more. When the common man takes up the cudgels for redress, there is no go. Incorporating the latest knowledge in implementing the master plan, the movie is very modern and racy in style. With dialogues a hundred times more powerful than an encounter scene, the thriller has opted for the brainy way. The play of words , not action steals the show. Without being too preachy the movie ends with an anonymity as the mastermind fades into oblivion without an identity, a name even after having executed his mission.
If Aamir and A Wednesday are the thrillers then Kidnap is an out an out time filler. With Minissha Lamba as the spice quotient, Imran Khan and Sanjay Dutt as the star factors and the story going hayward there is hardly sense let alone sensibility to boast of. Revenge as the backbone, rather shaky in itself, the abduction drama and the game plan worked out, the strategy is fairly fine, but for the execution. If showing technical wizadry is the hallmark of a thriller, Kidnap would head the charts. A victim hardly ever seen under the gloom of lurking terror but for her seductiveness, fails to emote. So too if Imran is clever, Sanjay is beyond limits as he can wriggle out of every trap easily be it even a closely guarded prison. With the game over, the ending is too clumsier than the story, if it had one!
In this modern age with Hindi cinema and the changing sensibility anything in the name of thrillers would not sell. Time fillers are viable options when cash counters rule as against creativity. Movies in the name of suspense cannot be branded thrillers unless it is backed by a strong story rendered superbly with conviction. Till then let the thrillers and time fillers be in their own respective provinces.