Will `D' do it for actor Randeep Hooda?May 30, 2005 Subhash K. Jha, May 30
Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) By Ram Gopal Varma's standards, it's been quite a while since we had a film from his company. Its last release "Naach", which Varma himself directed, came in Diwali 2004.
By his own admission, that's quite a long layoff for Varma Corporation.
"But now I'm all set to make up for lost time," Varma grins, telling you there are three films lined up for the next three months.
The first one, to be released this week, is the intriguingly titled "D", featuring yet another Varma discovery in yet another gangster epic.
Remember what "Company" (arguably Varma's best work) did for Vivek Oberoi? Will "D" do the same for Randeep Hooda?
Contrary to popular belief, "D" isn't the first film for Hooda, who made an appearance in Mira Nair's "Monsoon Wedding".
Since then he has been grooming himself for bigger stardom. Once Varma's eye fell on Hooda for the role of the hood making good, it was time for the aspiring actor's career and personality to be repackaged and redesigned.
The wait, according to watchers, has been worth it. Most trade experts believe Randeep Hooda will be the male discovery of the year, just as Sammir Dattani was undoubtedly the discovery of 2004, even though Hooda isn't technically a debutant in "D".
But then Mallika Sherawat wasn't quite the virginal newcomer in "Murder" either.
Launch is where Ramu has dinner. His meal-ticket discoveries so far have been quite an impressive list of newcomers and semi-newcomers - from Manoj Bajpai in "Satya" to Aftab Shivdasani in "Mast".
There's also the long-forgotten Rukhsar who returns from the depths to play one of the female leads in "D".
But is the audience in a mood to watch another underworld film, this one chronicling the rise to underworld power of a street hoodlum called Desu.
Gangster epics have had a field day in Hindi. It remains to be seen where Varma's debutant director Vishram Sawant takes this done-to-bludgeoning-death genre.
Interestingly, debutant directors don't routinely dabble in gangster films. Take the most famous gangster films from Hollywood and India - Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather", John Huston's "Prizzi's Honor"and Sam Mendes' "Road To Perdition", or back home Mani Rathnam's "Nayakan", Mukul Anand's "Agneepath" and Ram Gopal Varma's "Satya" - they were all done by seasoned directors.
This is arguably the first gangster film by a debut director. Whether it clicks or not is entirely a matter of audiences' mood.
This is the year of the different cinema. From "Black" to "Bunty Aur Babli", everyone wants to see a film that crosses the boundary. The success of "D" will depend entirely on the twist Sawant has given to the tale of modern terror.
If he proves to be a Varma clone, then there's no way he'll make a mark.
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