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Hijack Review

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Of late, debut-making directors are coming up with stories that defy the stereotype. Kunal Shivdasani is one of those. In his very first outing, he chooses a story not many debutantes -- even established names, for that matter -- would dare to tell: Hijack. Sure, Yeh Dil Aashiqana [Kuku Kohli] and Zameen [Rohit Shetty] have traversed the path before, but Hijack is more realistic, more believable.

Hijack talks of terrorists and terrorism, but there's an undercurrent of emotions running all through. What limits can a father cross to save his child, is one question that Kunal Shivdasani raises in Hijack.

The terrorism aspect isn't new, what with every third Hindi film having its take on terrorism. But Kunal's execution of the material places Hijack in the watchable category. The high-octane drama inside the aircraft as also outside the aircraft [in the climax] makes a difference. Hijack is very Hollywoodish in terms of execution, but Hindustani at heart.

However, Kunal could've done with a tighter script. The intro of sundry characters/passengers as also the rapid songs could've been avoided. Also, Shiney's character could've been less heroic, especially when he fights the gun-holding terrorists single-handedly. Besides, the passengers in the aircraft fail to create the panic atmosphere convincingly. Had Kunal cast better/stronger actors instead of amateurs, the impact would've been stronger.

All said and done, Hijack is an engrossing experience. A riveting thriller!

Vikram [Shiney Ahuja] is a ground maintenance officer at Chandigarh Airport. His social life is limited to one friend, Rajeev, who is the Security Chief of the same airport. As luck would have it, the flight in which Vikram's daughter is travelling, from Delhi to Amritsar, is Hijacked.

A group of five terrorists take control of the airplane to secure the release of Maqsood [K.K. Raina], who had been captured by the Indian police. The flight is forced to land at Chandigarh Airport for refuelling. The terrorists demand the release of Maqsood, else threaten to kill the hostages.

Vikram sneaks into the aircraft and with the help of the airhostess, Saira [Esha Deol], he starts plotting and killing the terrorists one by one. Some innocent passengers too become victims of the gunshots by ruthless terrorists in the process. Somehow, Vikram and Saira manage to save the day.

Hijack is partly fact, partly fiction. The hijack of an Indian aircraft is still fresh in our memory and at the same time, the film picks up bits and pieces from Hollywood films as well. Nothing wrong with borrowing from real or reel, since Kunal merges fact and fiction well and narrates his story capably.

While the first hour is passable, the wheels catch speed only towards the second hour. The highpoint of the enterprise is the penultimate 20/25 minutes and it's in these portions that you realize how fine a storyteller Kunal is. Since Kunal is also credited with the editing, although the pace doesn't slacken, Kunal could've trimmed the non-actors' roles [playing friends] as also shortened the romantic song ['Yaad Mein'].

Justin-Uday's music is mediocre, barring one song, but the background score heightens the impact. Jehangir Chowdhary's cinematography is top notch. The sequences at the runway are expertly canned. Allan Amin's stunts are first-rate. Even though there's bloodshed, it's not gory. The interiors of the aircraft are authentic [Bijon Dasgupta's expertise shows yet again]. Also, in view of the fact that it's a moderate budget film, Kunal has spared no efforts to give the film the desired look.

Shiney Ahuja fits the role well. He is efficient, but why is he looking untidy/shabby at places? He ought to take care of his looks and styling. Esha Deol has little to do. She's okay. K.K. Raina enacts his part convincingly. The main terrorist, Mushtaq Kak, leaves a mark. Kaveri Jha gets no scope, though she looks photogenic. The actor playing Kumar, Satyajeet, is efficient. Mona Ambegaonkar is competent. Ditto for the actor enacting the role of the Minister.

On the whole, Hijack is an engrossing fare, more so towards its second hour. Also, the emotional undercurrent comes out well too. However, from the business point of view, the Ramzan period might make a dent in its business, despite strong merits.

Read more about: shiney ahuja, kunal shivdasani

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