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Crime without passion

Genre: Gangster
Cast: Randeep Hooda, Chunkey
Pandey, Ishaa Koppikar
Director: Vishrant Sawant
Storyline: How crime becomes a career option
Bottomline: Company without Vivek Oberoi.

A Bambaiyya bhai who corporatises the underworld, all the while pulling steadily on a cigarette, Deshu (Randeep Hooda) from debutant director Vishrant Sawant's ``D" isn't going to be popular with the authorities.

Come August, the bearded face that has a former Miss Universe in a swoon will probably be a hazy memory as most of his shots will be blurred in the interest of the greater common good (a smoker-free movie screen). Also because Ram Gopal Varma's latest production probably won't run for that long.

Not that it's a bad movie. Sawant's film is a prequel in spirit to Ram Gopal Varma's masterpiece. It sets up the world of Company where it's all business, nothing personal.

Deshu (Randeep Hooda), the protagonist in ``D," validates the brazen existence of the Company and there's indication he could be Company's Malik (Ajay Devgan) in his salad days.

When RGV's movie opens, Mumbai is crime city; the underworld is the ``upper world" where to forgive a man for making a small mistake is an even bigger mistake. But despite many similarities in the plot and characters, the intentions of the two films are different. In ``Company," you learn that a life of crime comes with a price, the same feeling you have at the end of Varma's first gangster flick ``Satya."

In ``D," you don't really care about the price as none of the characters are fleshed out. The film clinically skims the surface of their lives.

Deshu's detachment to everything but business and his cold calculations make for an interesting, one-dimensional character.

Rukshaar, who plays Deshu's love interest, merely fills the high heels of the compulsory moll. But she serves as an excuse for the director to show the audience a glimpse of Deshu's mental machinery. Even though Hooda shows promise as the quiet, brooding presence, every scene is too rehearsed.

Deshu's character is also clearly inspired by a real-life don. Chunkey Pandey does a good job as Raghav, a hard-drinking Romeo whose Juliet is a bar dancer (Ishaa Koppikar). One of the most powerful scenes is with Pandey, Koppikar and Sushant Singh, who plays the jealous, wastrel son of the underworld kingpin Hashimbhai. Yashpal Sharma plays his other son.

SUSAN MUTHALALY

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