The term masala movie must have been minted especially for films like Wanted that are formulated using all cinematic ingredients of song-n-dance, drama, action, romance, revenge and then spiced up like strong South sambhar. For a change this sambhar tastes scrumptious since the pepperiness is in proportion. The story is not groundbreaking but isn’t mindless either, the humour is boisterous but not slapstick, the action is exaggerated but is slickly convincing nonetheless and the protagonist is projected not merely as an actor but a hero.
Radhe (Salman Khan) is a hardcore gangster who calmly kills anyone for money. He reels around aimlessly (with some real life friends) and by the end of first reel, falls in love at first sight with Janhvi (Ayesha Takia). A lecherous cop Talpade (Mahesh Manjrekar) has an eye on Janhvi. Meanwhile Radhe’s funny boss Gani (Prakash Raj) who operates from abroad comes down to India. Then there is a customary conspiracy to assassinate the minister at a public event. But before that can transpire the bad man is butchered.
So what’s new you ask? The story by Puri Jagannath (who also directed the original Telugu film Pokhiri) is the same old recipe. It’s the garnishing that adds to the appeal. The pacing is as swift as Prabhudheva’s dance movements, giving you no time to ponder over the proceedings. The heavy-duty editing and Vijayan Master’s hard-hitting action sequences keep you riveted.
Time and again the script finds excuses to initiate another combat and while you initially expect the amplified action to backfire, it actually turns out to be the highlight. Each stunt sequence is modishly maneuvered and is of the influential variety – one that incites even the meekest of viewer to kick some butt after the show is over. With every kick and punch, Salman Khan delivers and looks cool, confident and convincing
Prabhudheva’s passion for choreography comes live onscreen as four dance directors (Raju Sundaram, Vaibhavi Merchant, Rajiv Surti) make Salman get into the groove like never before. Unfortunately the vibrant choreography isn’t complemented with equally compelling music by Sajid Wajid. Also too many songs interrupt the flow of the film, some of which could have been easily prevented.
The romance track running parallel to the primary plot has its charming moments but could have been shorter esp. in the second half. Shiraz Ahmed balances the forceful action by interlacing some light-hearted lines and scenes in the screenplay. Everyone from the comedian, hero and even the villain contribute to humour in their own way through decent comic timings.
What actually gets the graph of the film down is that after glorifying the hero throughout, the climax makes him vulnerable on usual pretexts of father’s death or friend’s kidnap. One can foresee a twist reserved for the pre-climax much before it actually materializes. And once that is formally revealed, the film treads towards a mundane climax where the hero is set to terminate the villain.
Nevertheless, Salman Khan alone makes watching Wanted worthwhile. He is fresh, fit and in form, looking smashingly super-cool like never before. Despite the hardcore action image, his face exudes an innocent charm. He dances with new vigour, kicks serious butt and kills ruthlessly. Ayesha Takia is cute and charming. Mahesh Manjrekar as the lusting and spiteful cop makes you hate every bit of his character. Prakash Raj is funny as international don Gani yet his character is not ridiculed down to a caricature. Vinod Khanna doesn’t get scope beyond one sequence.
The good part of Wanted is that it isn’t pretentious and delivers what it promises – time-pass popcorn entertainment.