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Friday, Nov 09, 2001

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THERE ARE good Hindus. There are good Muslims. There are treacherous Hindus just as there are treacherous Muslims. But there is an Indian in all of us which is paramount — above the calls of religion, caste, race or region. After all, we all are Indian Hindus. Or Indian Muslims. Not Hindu Indians. Or Muslim Indians. How the patriotic, hard-working, anonymous multitudes — headed by Sunny Deol's super cop — save their country from the clutches of those prepared to sell their nation for a few dollars or dirhams is what N. Maharajan's``Indian''is all about. Simple? Nah. Nah. It is simplistic. Life has more shades of grey than two adjacent squares of a chessboard. Only thing is in this typical masala film which hopes to sail to safe waters capitalising on the current crest for Deol, the director deliberately turns a Nelson's eye towards those shortcomings and caters to the front-benchers without any apologies.

Make no mistake about it — ``Indian'' is no ``Gadar". No section of the public can take umbrage at its depiction. If there is a villainous Waseem Khan bent on destroying the nation, there is a Rahim, a foot soldier in the struggle to keep peace and amity in the country. If there is Sunny's glorious Raj Shekhar Azad, there is also Raj Babbar's Suryapratap Singh and Danny's Singhania to drive home the message that villains come in all shades — green and saffron.

But it is an out and out Sunny film, he towers above it from frame to frame, from one dialogue to another — and there are quite a few which elicit whistles from the stalls here. Playing a police commissioner, he sails through the role he has come to be identified with.

In his endeavour here to rid the country of terrorists within, he encounters the usual hiccups — political hurdles, citizens' apathy, family pressure. As always, he also gets a few good samaritans, an army of foot soldiers to push his armada ahead. And as always, surmounts the odds with as much difficulty as in wiping off dust from his car's glass — incidentally, despite the constant bullets and all, it never gets smashed!

``Indian''also has Shilpa Shetty — mother of two kids here — trying to add some glamour. She looks weather-beaten, weary.

The film, deriving its stability from stereotypes, also makes a subtle attempt to score a few political points. There are shots of Vajpayee and Gandhiji in the same league — a tax-free certificate may not be all that difficult to come by.


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