Realism meets commercialism. Madhur Bhandarkar
takes the same route that his peers Govind
Nihalani [ARDH SATYA] and Rajkumar Santoshi [KHAKEE]
embarked upon in the past.
Though AAN is different from ARDH SATYA and
KHAKEE, there do exist similarities. The tough
life a cop leads, the politician-underworld
nexus, the clash of ideologies... plots and
sub-plots like these have been witnessed time
Yet, what sets AAN apart is the way the makers
have packaged the film. Besides clap-trap
situations, the film is embellished with some
exceptional dramatic confrontations that would
appeal to the masses. However, there's no
denying that the film could've done with better
The morale at Mumbai Crime Branch is extremely
low. All work is happening in a highly
Sr. Inspector Vikram Singh [Shatrughan Sinha]
has given up on the system. Inspector Appa Naik
[Suniel Shetty], the encounter specialist, is of
the opinion that criminals need to be
eliminated. Constable Khalid [Paresh Rawal] is a
These officers have accepted a laidback attitude
as a way of life as they know that no one can
beat the system.
The city is virtually ruled by three people…
Manik Rao [Manoj Joshi] -- the Home Minister
calls the shots, with the law firmly under his
control. Underworld don Yusuf Pathan [Irrfan
Khan] has his full support. A business magnate,
Gautam Walia [Jackie Shroff], is also
hand-in-glove with them.
But everything changes when D.C.P. Hari Om
Patnaik [Akshay Kumar] gets transferred from
The three officers find themselves at
loggerheads with the new officer, who is
determined to change things. The opportunity
arises when Manik Rao gets businessman Ajit
Pradhan [Milind Gunaji] eliminated by Yusuf
Pathan's younger brother [Rahul Dev].
Pradhan's murder opens a Pandora's box. Hari and
his men set off on a trail to nab the people
behind this hi-profile murder. AAN may not be
the most original script you've witnessed, but
it does boast of several engaging moments.
The film takes its own time to come to the
point, which explains why the viewer gets
restless in the first half. The introduction of
each character, especially that of Akshay and
Suniel, grabs a lot of footage. However, the
introduction of these two actors has been filmed
The film actually takes off when Milind Gunaji
is shot dead by Rahul Dev. And the pace
continues to gather momentum during the song
[filmed on Reema Sen] and the shootout
Post-interval too, the film continues its brisk
pace, with several confrontation scenes taking
the graph of the film to a new high. The
sequence between the three cops [Shatru, Akshay,
Suniel] and Irrfan outside the mosque is an apt
example of good execution. Ditto for the scene
when Akshay shoots Rahul Dev and throws him off
the skyscraper. The war of words between Om Puri
and Manoj Joshi is also remarkable.
Director Madhur Bhandarkar has targeted the film
at the masses and that is evident not only in
the dramatic portions, but also when it comes to
weaving action in the screenplay. However, the
film definitely deserved a better script.
To state that the script [Manoj Tyagi and Sanjiv
Puri] has its share of loopholes wouldn't be
wrong. For instance, one fails to understand the
need to have a romantic track between Akshay and
Lara. The kind of film AAN is, even if there
weren't any heroines, it wouldn't have made any
difference whatsoever. Their romance and the
song in the film come as a speed breaker!
Even Jackie and Raveena suffer due to half-baked
characterizations. Raveena's change of heart in
the pre-climax looks too sudden, while Jackie's
character is hardly devilish. Even a seasoned
performer like Shatrughan Sinha hasn't been
given scenes that would do justice to his
Music [Anu Malik] is a mixed bag. The two
numbers that stand out are the ones filmed on
guest performers -- Gauhar Khan and Reema Sen.
Cinematography [Madhu Rao] is fantastic. The
lensman has captured the realistic atmosphere
with as much flourish as the glossy visuals.
Dialogues are power-packed.
It would be doing gross injustice to the film
without praising the action co-ordinator's [Abbas
Ali Moghul] contribution. To say that the stunts
are the mainstay of the film would be an
understatement. In fact, the action co-ordinator
is undoubtedly one of the heroes of the film.
The performances are of a high standard. Akshay
stands firm on his feet in dramatic portions,
which clearly indicates that the actor is taking
a step forward with every film. Suniel delivers
yet another performance that he can be proud of.
The actor is flawless in a role that seems
tailormade for him. Shatrughan Sinha returns to
the screen after a hiatus and though he has his
moments, they aren't enough to satiate his fans.
The powerful punchlines are missing this time!
Om Puri leaves a mark in a small but significant
role. Paresh Rawal brings a smile on your face
yet again, though his early exit may meet with
diverse reactions from viewers.
Jackie Shroff doesn't get ample scope. Ditto for
Raveena. Lara Dutta is wasted. Preeti Jhangiani
is adequate in a brief role. Irrfan Khan is a
scene-stealer. He looms large every time he
appears on the screen. Vijay Raaz and Rajpal
Yadav get no scope. Manoj Joshi gets a meaty
role and he delivers and how! Another actor to
watchout for. Ajinkya Deo makes his presence
felt. Rahul Dev is competent. Anjan Srivastava,
Milind Gunaji and Ravi Kissen are alright.
On the whole, those who prefer hardcore
masala flicks [with loads of action] to
feel-good entertainers will like AAN. At the
box-office, the film has better chances at
mass-oriented theatres [single screens], not
multiplexes. While the masses will love the
action scenes, the critics, gentry and family
audiences, especially ladies, may not really go
for it. Business in circuits like U.P., Bihar,
M.P. and Punjab should prove to be the best.