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First Satya. Then Company. Later D. Ramgopal Varma ventures into the territory he's most comfortable in -- Underworld. Contract looks at terrorism, besides the inter-gang rivalry. But, unfortunately, what comes across is the usual vendetta fare with underworld as the wallpaper, presented with new faces.
RGV is amongst the finest storytellers India has produced, no two opinions on that. But howsoever efficient the chef may be, if the meat isn't fresh, no amount of garnishing can make it taste sumptuous. In this case, it's the story [oft-repeated] and screenplay [gripping at few places only, otherwise uninspiring] that throw a spanner.
The only thing you carry home is new-find Adhvik Mahajan's cold look, besides his arresting performance. Otherwise, this one's a forgettable venture!
The story is just not new. A man is planted in the underworld to get to the gangsters. This man has a personal score to settle as well. How he wins their confidence and starts eliminating them gradually is the crux of the film.
Vendetta stories aren't new. Also, gangster/underworld themes have reached a saturation point. How much more can you experiment with a genre that's beaten to death? That's one of the prime reasons why Contract suffers. Sure, with RGV in the driving seat, a number of scenes are really well filmed, but the movie just doesn't work.
The below par writing [writer: Prashant Pandey] is slightly tolerable in the first hour, but gets unbearable towards the latter part. The writer takes too much of a cinematic liberty while winding up the tale. The protagonist takes off his pistol and finishes off the entire army of the villain, in a jiffy.
That's not all! The immediate sequence has the voiceover of a television reporter, who also informs that the corrupt Home Minister has been eliminated. How? Prior to that we're also told that a blast had killed RD and his entire gang, for whom the protagonist works. The protagonist maintains, till the very end, that he hasn't committed this crime. So who actually did?
RGV is letdown by the writer this time. The dialogues are dipped in acid, but why this need to repeat one dialogue ['Faisle galat nahin hote, nateeje galat hote hain'] in both Sarkar Raj and Contract? The song is foot-tapping ['Maula Khair Kare'; music: Sanaa; filmed on an alluring Shama Sikandar] and it fits well in the proceedings. Cinematography is alright.
Adhvik Mahajan has an imposing personality and moves about like a panther. As far as acting goes, the debutante gets it right most of the times. Only thing, he needs to work on his voice. Sakshi Gulati doesn't really get scope, but she leaves a strong impact in the pre-climax when she hears of her brother's death.
In supporting roles, Prasad Purandare [excellent; film-makers should tap this talent], Zakir Hussain [efficient], Sumeet Nijhawan [RD; first-rate], Upendra Limaye [Goonga; top notch], Amruta Subhash [Goonga's wife; realistic] and Vibha Cheebur [Commissioner; perfect] stand out.
On the whole, CONTRACT is weak in merits and the fact that this genre [underworld/gangster films] has limited reach will further curtail its prospects. At the box-office, a poor show!