Corporate takes a look at one of the most relevant topics today: leading industrialist houses vying for the PSU pie in light of the disinvestment drive started by the earlier government, something that is coming back into the news because of the Left's endeavors to put bottlenecks in the current government's plans to do the same.
Relevancy aside, this makes a hell of a vehicle for Bipasha Basu to showcase her talent and be taken seriously. The acutely written script demands a smart, chic, strong-willed woman of her, and she lives the role up to an extent that would make you forget she is the same Bipasha from No Entry.
The film, however, does not restrict itself to being a Basu vehicle - it makes full use of the plot and the ensemble cast to tell an interesting, if meandering, story, and gives complete chances to the leading actors to showcase their acting cojones.
The crux of the plot centers around the corporate rivalry between Vinay Sehgal (Rajat Kapoor), MD of the Sehgal Group, and Dharmesh Marwah (Raj Babbar), MD of Marwah International. There is stark contrast between old school Marwah, with his religious and superstitious leanings, and the obviously new blood Sehgal, with his gyms and American breakfasts and secret liaisons.
It is when the film starts to throw light upon the shady deals, the impact of global businesses on the moral and ethical fabric of their employees and the possible impact on society, that the plot picks up pace. When global business attempts fail, Sehgal decides to ask brother-in-law Ritesh (Kay Kay Menon) to join his think tank. Girlfriend Nishigandha (Bipasha Basu) is overjoyed at this development. Nishi is a smooth-talking corporate think machine, with corporate espionage, bribery etc. all being fair game to meet the 'bottomline' (the euphemism for profit).
The second half picks up pace after having established the characters, when the no-holds barred competition to the top of the corporate ladder begins between the two rival companies. As it hots up, the unsavory impacts of the business deals surface, and Nishi discovers her conscience, and is in turn shocked and disgusted.
There are times when the film remains relevant with the cola wars just rearing their heads in the newspapers (Coke and Pepsi in a corporate espionage mud-slinging), but sometimes the movie does meander into unnecessary potshots at other famous characters.
A film like Corporate has no place for song and dance routines. Even so, Shamir Tandon's music amply supported by Sandeep Nath's lyrics is pleasant and makes its presence felt, while never becoming jarring or conspicuous. The film has stronger expectations of its cast, and it delivers, led ably from the front by Bipasha Basu. Kay Kay and Rajat Kapoor are not to be left behind, with restrained, simmering performances, and a strong presence.
The weak points would be Atul Kulkarni's narration, which seems unnecessary at times, and the romantic side plot concerning Minissha Lamba and Sameer Dattani, which breaks the pace and seems out of place. Still, to show a softer side of the goings on, the duo work.
Ultimately, Corporate is a movie with strong performances and a loose screenplay. The direction is at times tight and at other times meandering. But with such enthusiastic work by the crew, the film is hard not to recommend for at least one watch. It is indeed a 'different' Hindi film, and entertaining in its message mongering.