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Aitraaz

CUT THE Michael Douglas-Demi Moore starrer "Disclosure" into fine parts. Throw away the inedible portions, retain only what can be consumed by the Indian audience. Slice, splice and soak the remaining pieces into Indian sensibilities. Water it down with songs to increase content — from the original's 100 minutes to over 160 minutes here.

Take the rest of the plot with a pinch, er... a bag of salt rather. Add local mirchi (Priyanka Chopra), desi masala (Akshay Kumar) and natural sweetener (Kareena Kapoor) to make up for the loss of international flavour. Top it off with a little `pati-parameshwar' sentiment, mix hurriedly and serve half-baked.

Director duo, Abbas-Mustan, seems to have trademarked their recipe for churning out remakes. Like their other remakes, "Aitraaz" too is strictly fast-food variety.

A happily married Akshay Kumar gets a new boss in Priyanka Chopra, and is promoted to the position of the Chief Executive Officer the same day.

A flashback reveals that the two had an affair in South Africa five years ago. When Priyanka gets pregnant, Akshay wants to get married. But she aborts the baby, because she wants fame and money and he calls off the relationship.

Now Priyanka, married to the rich businessman Amrish Puri, wants Akshay in her life again. He spurns her advances only to find out the next day at the office that he has been accused of sexually harassing her.

Akshay, however, doesn't deem it fit to tell his newly wedded wife (Kareena Kapoor) any of it, especially about his past. Not even when he files a counter-case against Priyanka for sexual harassment. Neither does he tell his boss nor his lawyer and trusted friend about his affair.

The courtroom scene with Annu Kapoor and Paresh Rawal provides some laughs, but then soon, the directors, not quite sure of how to take the plot ahead, try to bump off Akshay's lawyer, Annu, with an accident, just to let Kareena Kapoor fight the case for her husband on judgement day.

Yes, the directors do establish pretty early in the movie that Kareena had studied law. And conveniently enough, one song later, Kareena has all the evidence. Though the first half of the movie is well-paced, the second half sags with the songs and twists forced into the plot to buy time.

If only one could fast-forward Himmesh Reshamiyya's songs which get on your nerves!Akshay does not have much to do. Priyanka looks part-Demi Moore-part- Sharon Stone (as in "Basic Instinct"). While Kareena just has to look innocently pretty, but act smartly in the final courtroom scene.

Amrish Puri is aptly cast as Priyanka's rich old husband and Akshay's boss. Yet, "Aitraaz" is passable with its slick production, a few funny lines, glam quotient and star appeal. However, those who have seen the original, stay away from this poor imitation.

SUDHISH KAMATH

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