Movie Review : Phantom

Phantom:  A Thriller I wish had more Punch

Political Thrillers are Kabir Khan’s forte, what with his previous movies “Kabul Express” & “Ek Tha Tiger” both phantom-poster-saif-ali-khan-katrina-kaifwere of the same genre. But his last enormously successful “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” was more of a family drama with Indo-Pak theme. Well the expectations from “Phantom” are sky high…

Taking his love for political thriller Kabir Khan constructs “Phantom” based on Hussain Zaidi’s book “Mumbai Avengers” which is a fiction post 26/11 massacre in Mumbai. The plot is of how an Ex Army Officer Daniel Khan (Saif Ali Khan) is called for a mission by RAW to eradicate the master minds of 26/11 massacre. How Daniel goes ahead with the mission and whether he is successful in completing the mission is what the movie all about.

Adopting Hussain Zaidi’s novel the screenplay by Kabir Khan & Parvez Shaikh is taut but inconsistent. The sequence when Daniel executes his mission one by one is technically brilliant but looks too easy to be true and lacks the edge of the seat moments which is the prime issue with the script. Another issue of the screenplay is that goes back & forth many times adding on to the inconsistency more. The prime sequences especially the Pakistan sequence looks all over place again taking away from the thriller element. The background story of Daniel does not have the impact hence the fallen hero element falls flat. Daniel’s accomplice Nawaz Mistry’s (Katrina Kaif) character is not fully defined till the end, whether she is a RAW agent or whether she is an outsourced resource working for RAW, it is not clear. The forced brewing romance between Daniel & Nawaz is a waste and slows down the pace. Even the climax looks a bit weak for a thriller. And to top it all the significance of the title “Phantom” never comes across in the movie.

The dialogues by Kabir Khan & Kausar Munir are strong at some places and it falls flat in a few. But overall the dialogues make sense.

Another major drawback of the movie is the casting. Saif Ali Khan as Daniel Khan looks a bit too casual for the role, though he tries his best to fit into the mould but is grossly unsuccessful. Rather he looks as if he has just walked out of “Agent Vinod” and entered the sets of “Phantom” as he enacts Daniel Khan with the same tempo. The rugged RAW agent gait just like Akshay Kumar in “Baby” is missed in this movie. Katrina Kaif as Nawaz Mistry looks hardly an agent and looks more like a beautiful Barbie doll who is decked up even in Syrian war sequences. Sometimes she looks confused and out of place in the movie, overall an average performance. Sabyasachi Chakrabarty as the Raw Chief Roy stands out and gives a restrained performance and suits the role to the “T”. Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as Mishra a worker in RAW who creates a plan for Daniel is the best performance of the movie; he overshadows everybody including the lead cast. Rest of the cast does the job well.
It is Aseem Mishra’s cinematography which elevates the movie, whether it is London, Chicago, Beirut or Lebanon, all are captured with élan. Rajat Potdar’s production design compliments the story and is also a highlight of the movie. Subarna Rai Chaudhuri’s costume designing is another highlight; it blends with the various countries shown in the movie. Kudos to the technical team of “Phantom” for making it worth a watch.

Music by Pritam gets lost in the proceedings; apart from “Afghan Jalebi” none of the other tracks make any impact.

Kabir Khan is successful in making a technically brilliant movie, but a weak lead pair and a script which has inconsistencies makes “Phantom” an average film. Especially after the brilliant “Baby” by Neeraj Pandey which falls in the same genre, “Phantom” lacks the punch which is required in such thrillers.Definitely not Kabir Khan’s best…

“Phantom” could have been a brilliant spy drama falls short, hence I will go with Three stars…..

Movie Rating: (3 / 5)

In case you have missed the trailer, watch it again

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Review Humshakals

Humshakals: Officially Declared Sajid Khan the “King Of Trash”

Sajid Khan strikes back with his slap stick comedy genre with “Humshakals” but the problem is that there is not enough laughs to sustain 159 mins…

humshakalsSo Sajid goes back to his “Housefull “ mould of European mansions, swanky cars, heroines wearing skimpiest costumes and too many characters who are a caricature. Sadly for “Humshakals” it falls flat and what we get is a trash in the name of comedy.

The Story written by Sajid Khan of three sets of Humshakals of Ashok (Saif), Kumar (Riteish) and Mamaji alias KANS (Ram Kapoor), one set of Ashok who is heir to the multimillion empire of Sighanias, Kumar who is Ashok’s best friend and Mamaji who is scheming to confiscate the empire from Ashok, another set wherein all three are mental patients Ashok, Kumar & Jhonny, and third set consists of Ashok and Kumar who are feminine by nature and Mamaji who is bar dance owner. CONFUSED well this just the beginning, Sajid thought that he could actually better Shakespear’s Comedy of Error but alas there is no story.

Screenplay should I say the lack of it credited to Robin Bhatt, Akash Khurana and Sajid Khan is just a shocker and imagination just goes wild. A sequence has a doctor giving a medicine potion which makes human beings act like DOGS and you see both Reteish & Saif acting like dogs well this is utterly insane in the name of comedy. The Dialogues by Sajid Khan and Adhir Bhatt is equally bad what with “Aap Meri Zindagi mein Aaye to Mere Bacche Ka Baap Ban Jaye”….

The performances by the ensemble cast is just too childish to laugh, for Saif I think this is his worst performance till date. Making faces does not suffice for acting and Saif is so bad when he is imitating actors. Reteish still gives you a few laughs but he could not salvage the mayhem around. Ram Kapoor looks completely lost all throughout the movie. Satish Shah as the warden hams all throughout. The actresses have no scope to act, they are there as eye candy wearing skimpiest clothes. I can still understand for Tamanah Bhatia and Esha Gupta who are relatively new and hence they did this film but why the hell did Bipasha Basu do this film she looks like a glorified extra in the movie.

The only good thing about the movie is the cinematography by Ravi Yadav which is good and catchy to the eye. Music by Himesh Reshamiya is extremely average, excluding “Caller Tune” none of the other songs are worth mentioning.

Sajid Khan’s “Humshakals” has outdone Ram Gopal Varma’s “Aag” in making Trash, and RGV’s “Aag “ looks like a classic in front of SK’s “Humshakals”. Sajid Khan has to relearn what is entertainment before venturing to his next project. I will go with “NO STARS”

Trailer : Humshakals

Sajid Khan strikes back again with another slap stick comedy which has triple role of Saif, Reteish & Ram Kapoor….going by the promo it gives you a feeling of DejaVu….nothing new that you have not seen in Houseful 1 & 2….