Let's get this straight. Wanted rides on Salman Khan's star power. He may not be the best actor in town, but in a film like Wanted, in a role that seems like an extension of his personality, you can't think of anyone else enacting this role with flourish.
A remake of Pokiri [made in Telugu and Tamil versions], Wanted is a full on masala film. Recall the successful potboilers of yore. Recall how the good guy would reduce 10 hoodlums to pulp in a fraction of seconds. Recall how heroism prevailed in the end, no matter how adverse the circumstances were or how powerful the villains would be. Recall those movies in which logic took a backseat since the focus was on entertainment... You relive those moments as reel after reel of Wanted unfolds.
A departure from candyfloss movies and diabetic-sweet characters that most Hindi movies boast of, Wanted takes you back to those days when popular cinema reigned supreme, when the sole motive of the film-maker was to entertain.
The daring hero and his herogiri, the naive girlfriend, the corrupt cop, the dreaded don, the don's moll, the fist-clinching henchmen... Wanted is for those who seek unabashed entertainment and relish masala films. Damn the indomitable critics, pseudo intellectuals and connoisseurs of parallel cinema, this one's not for them. Wanted is for the aam junta.
Radhe [Salman Khan] is a hardcore gangster. A sharpshooter with a sharp brain, he works for Gani Bhai [Prakash Raj], the dreaded Mafioso, but on his own terms. Totally fearless, Radhe single-handedly eliminates Gani Bhai's enemies one by one; making more enemies in the process.
He's astounded when the young and pretty Jahnvi [Ayesha Takia Azmi] professes her liking for him. Inspector Talpade's [Mahesh Manjrekar] lustful eyes fall on Jahnvi. He doesn't know that Jahnvi has developed a soft corner for Radhe.
Whether it's the Golden Gang or Data Pawle's Gang, everybody wants the biggest piece of the lucrative cake that is Mumbai and the only way to get it is to eliminate whoever gets in the way. As Mumbai reels under bloody gang wars, Commissioner Ashraf Khan [Govind Namdeo] vows to make the city crime free.
Director Prabhu Dheva serves a hardcore masala fare that's not inventive or path-breaking by any standard, but the execution of several scenes as also of stunts takes the graph of the film Northward. In fact, if at all there's any film that competes with Ghajini as far as raw appeal goes, it's Wanted. Every action/stunt/chase here is choreographed with aplomb.
Watch out for the action sequence at the interval point or the penultimate half-an-hour. The climax is sure to send scores of action lovers in frenzy, as Salman bashes the evil forces black and blue. It wouldn't be erroneous to state that the climax is worth the price of the ticket, samosa, sandwich, popcorn, nachos and cola put together.
Not that this 18 reeler abounds in mindless action. As mentioned earlier, this one's a hardcore masala film and the narrative has its share of light moments and romantic sequences. Even the bad man here makes you laugh intermittently [when he's not spewing venom], especially in the sequence when the Commissioner of Police holds him captive in the middle of the sea. Even the romance between Salman and Ayesha charms its way into your heart. It's very likable.
But Wanted is not without its share of flaws. The film stands on a thin storyline and the viewer can guess what's in store next, which means that there's not much novelty in the plot. Besides, Wanted could've done without a song or two, thereby keeping its length in check.
Director Prabhu Dheva has presented Salman like never before. Most actors have drifted away from roles that hold tremendous mass appeal, that cater to the desi audience, like they did in the 1980s. SRK did it in Om Shanti Om, Aamir Khan did it in Ghajini and Salman does it so effortlessly in Wanted. The screenplay [Shiraz Ahmed] may not be foolproof, but it has its share of shining moments. Dialogues are clapworthy, especially those delivered by Salman.
Sajid-Wajid's music is of a mixed variety. 'Jalwa' is the best of the lot and the star presence of Anil Kapoor, Govinda and also Prabhu Dheva in this track will send the viewers into raptures. The remaining tracks oscillate between good and strictly okay. This review would be incomplete without the invaluable contribution by the action director. It deserves brownie points. Cinematography too is top notch.
Salman is like a ferocious lion who roars with all his might. The show belongs to the actor, who scorches the screen every time he displays the manic anger. Without doubt, Salman gives the power to Wanted. It's his best work to date.
Ayesha Takia Azmi is very good and the pairing with Salman looks wonderful. Vinod Khanna is sidelined. He deserved more footage. Mahesh Manjrekar is excellent. He's only getting better with every film. Prakash Raj is first-rate. The accomplished actor adds yet another feather to his cap. Govind Namdeo is perfect. Mahek Chahal radiates oomph. Aseem Merchant is alright. Raju Mavani is effective. Inder Kumar and Sajid are okay. Manoj Pahwa tries hard to make you laugh. Prateeksha Lonkar is as usual.
On the whole, Wanted rides on Salman, Salman and only Salman Khan's star power. A masala film that's aimed at the masses, Wanted is backed by tremendous hype and hoopla, which will result in the film taking an earth-shattering start at the ticket window. The Idd celebrations in the coming days will only enhance the business of the film, which means that the film will have a solid Week 1. The holidays in Week 2 should also be bountiful, thereby ensuring a strong place in the 'Hit' category.