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Johnny Gaddaar Review

Johnny Gaddaar
Ravi Mundoli / fullhyd.com
EDITOR RATING
6.0
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
NA
NA
NA
NA
Suggestions
Can watch again
NA
Good for kids
NA
Good for dates
NA
Wait to rent it
NA
Slickness. Spell-check tells us that that's not even a real word, but we'll have to invent it.

Slickness is what jumps out at you when you're watching Johnny Gaddaar. Is this what a Bollywood movie would look like if Tarantino made it?

Not quite. But if the Gettysburg Address was about Johnny Gaddaar, Lincoln would've probably said that it's a movie "about movies lovers, by a movie lover, for movie lovers". From the get go, it's apparent that Sriram Raghavan loves his movies, and Johnny Gaddaar is peppered with hat-tips and homage moments to a whole host of classics from Indian and world cinema.

As the tagline says, it's a "tingling tale of crime and betrayal, love and murder", so we can't give away too much of the plot. Vikram (Neil Nitin Mukesh), Seshadri (Dharmendra), Shardul (Zakir Hussain), Prakash (Vinay Pathak) and Shiva (Daya) are partners in semi-legal gambling adda operated by Prakash.

On the side, they engage in several quasi-legal and illegal businesses, one of which involves selling dope that the venal police inspector Kalyan (Govind Namdeo) provides them from police heists. During one such deal, Shiva is entrusted with carrying the partners' payment to Kalyan by train from Bombay to Bangalore.

Unbeknownst to the others, Vikram ke iraade nek nahin hain, and explicitly inspired by the 1971 Amitabh starrer Parwana, hatches a plan to steal the money. Vikram's affair with Mini (Rimi Sen) adds a twist of infidelity to an already dark and gloomy affair.

The first half is fast and gripping, and superbly done - a montage of set pieces, jump cuts and freeze frames and whatnot thrown in - and leaves you panting for more at the interval. Then the narrative sags a bit in the middle, but picks up the pace again towards the end, which isn't as much "climactic" as it is simply unexpected.

Neil Nitin Mukesh's debut outing is good, perhaps even very good, but scratchy in places, especially when he is pleading his innocence to various people. All said and done, a memorable portrayal of a young, ambitious and earnest go-getter's reluctant descent into treachery and casual murder.

Dharmendra is wonderful as a one-time smuggler (named Seshadri!), currently sentimental and idiosyncratic (he listens to his dead wife's voice on tape for time-pass), father figure to the others. They should've axed all his English lines, though. Except the wonderful "it's not the age, it's the mileage" bit that's in the trailers.

Vinay Pathak as the casino's manager with a gambling problem, and Zakir Hussain as the operator of an upmarket lounge, are also very good, and (surprise, surprise) if you keep the clothes on Rimi Sen and give her a decent role to play, she can more than stand and deliver.

Johnny Gaddaar is marked by way-above-par technical qualities. The titles in the beginning and the background score throughout the movie are used very effectively to impart a delightful retro '70s Hindi movie look and feel. All of which just take the slickness (there's that word again) quotient into the troposphere.


After what seems like eons, this isn't a movie about the actors or the characters or the music or the budget or the story. It's a director's movie; it's Sriram Raghavan with a tale to tell in his own very personal way, and there's no stopping him.

Johnny Gaddaar is far from perfect - there are inconsistencies and incongruity that will doubtless keep pickers of nits happy - but that shouldn't get in the way. It's better than your average multiplex movie and definitely worth a dekko for the taut storyline and the craftsmanship on display. If you know and love your movies, it moves from the "worth a dekko" category into the "don't miss it for anything" realm. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
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JOHNNY GADDAAR SNAPSHOT
Johnny Gaddaar (hindi) reviews
USER RATING
7.9
27 USERS
RATE
Rating is quick and easy - try it!
  • Cast
    Neil Nitin Mukesh, Dharmendra, Vinay Pathak, Zakir Hussain, Govind Namdeo, Rimi Sen, Daya
  • Music
    Ehsaan, Loy, Shankar
  • Director
    Sriram Raghavan
  • Theatres
    Not screening currently in any theatres in Hyderabad.
JOHNNY GADDAAR USER REVIEWS
1 - 6 OF 6 COMMENTS
POSITIVE  |  NEGATIVE |  NEWEST  |  OLDEST  |  MOST HELPFUL  |  LEAST HELPFUL
USER RATING
7.9
27 USERS
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
NA
NA
NA
NA
Can watch again - NA
Good for kids - NA
Good for dates - NA
Wait to rent it - NA
Arpan on 23rd Oct 2007, 7:16pm | Permalink
Why would you write a review like that and give the movie a 2.5? It deserves a 4, if a Hindi movie ever did!
RATING
8
Kris Ray on 10th Oct 2007, 4:51pm | Permalink
Leave the arguments and enjoy this movie; it’s definitely for all the real movie lovers. If you love good film making, you cannot miss this tight screenplay, editing and direction…. If you love good story with lots of twists, you cannot afford to miss this twist-a-minute story… If you love sharp lines, you cannot miss these slick dialogues, which sound only when really really needed… If you love O Henry tales, Madhu Babu’s Shadow, Vijay Anand, James Hadley Chase, then you cannot afford to miss this film…. If you love ‘characters’ more than ‘stars’, then you cannot miss these perfect characters… And finally about the surprise package: you’ll love Dharmedar who never breaks the decibel limits by shouting “kutte main tera khoon pee jaoonga” kind of dialogues.
RATING
8
J Chase on 8th Oct 2007, 11:47am | Permalink
My apologies for making an equivocal comment. What I meant was that the lead character (not the lead actor) was not established as someone that may not flinch at murdering his friends. Nothing about the character (not the actor) in its build-up suggested that he has the DNA of a criminal. The behaviour of the lead character (not the actor) might have been more appropriate if the build-up had shown there had been instances where his criminal traits surfaced. He's depicted as a die-hard romantic. And it's tough to accept a guy like that (character not actor) icing his buddies meticulously.
RATING
6
Cut The Chase on 7th Oct 2007, 12:01pm | Permalink
no Chase bhai, his innocent chweet looks adds to the shock value of the film. Neil performs convincingly as the angel faced "gaddaar" and that is the USP of the film, apart from the magnificent screenplay and direction
RATING
10
J Chase on 1st Oct 2007, 1:49pm | Permalink
Movie primarily misfires because of the unconvincing DNA of the lead character. It's hard to establish a dovey-eyed tween as a cold-blooded opportunist. If only THAT part was taken care of, this already entertaining movie, would have been brilliant.
RATING
6
Priyanka Rao on 29th Sep 2007, 11:41am | Permalink
Very good movie. Spend your bucks on this one and not on Chirutha
RATING
8
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