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:: Kaante

Directed by Sanjay Gupta and “written” by Anurag Kashyap, Kaante has been described by the New York Times as a “reimagining” of Reservoir Dogs… whatever that means. Having the honour of being India’s biggest budget film to date, and entirely shot outside of India, (in L.A. none-the-less) Kaante is a technically and visually impressive Bollywood “reimagining.”

Kaante is India’s attempt at entering the global film market, with even Village and Hoyts distributing and screening it at suburban cinemas everywhere, Kaante is definitely made for a mass audience. With Bollywood movies and Indian culture slowly seeping into mainstream consciousness, the release of Kaante comes on the heels of such films as The Guru and Bend it Like Beckham, having achieved a great deal of success and interest, (well, at least the latter film).

“Six perfect strangers come together to pull off the perfect crime,” sounds familiar? Chances are that, yes you have heard of this scenario before, or even perhaps watched it. Even more familiar during the opening scenes of Kaante is that, yes you have seen this before, and even more so during the second half… why yes, you have heard very similar (and in some parts, the same) dialogue and seen these scenes before, yes sounds like Kaante’s Usual Reservoir Dogs Suspects.

However, given that the films focus is not the “reimagining” of those American cult classics or the very long two hours it takes to show us what we already know, but the films visual and technical energy is impressive. The editing and sound are just a few elements that stand out to create the sharp and lively pacing of the film and its characters are at times is reminiscent of Guy Ritchie (pre-Swept Away) filmmaking style. Although Gupta has yet to master the combination of story and structure, he effectively and competently uses great sound, camera angels and shots and brilliant editing sequences. The music video style breaks that are inserted at various moments during the waning story are also effective in retaining a modernised version of a pertinent aspect traditional Indian filmmaking.

The Indian actors in the main roles as the “six suspects” are quiet good and are sure to have international film careers beckoning. Especially Mahesh Manjrekar as Bali, the blundering idiot fool and his sidekick, the Indian Tom Cruise, Lucky Ali as Mak.
It’s a shame that these fine actors didn’t have a better script to work off.

Kaante is still worth the watch, if not for the great technical work, for the interesting likeness or “reimagining” of its predecessors.

Screening on general release.