It would be unfair to watch every movie with the same vision. You watch Yash Raj films for ensemble casts, romance, songs and exotic locales. You watch Vishal Bhardwaj films for their intensity and David Dhawan films for their light hearted humour. Plunging into another genre of Bollywood films, debutante director Anthony D’Souza with his first film Blue, puts himself in the place of an experimentalist who has changed the way Bollywood shoots underwater thrillers. Remember old Indian films in which water scenes were always shot in swimming pools (for example the scene in Namak Halal after the song ‘Raat Baaqi’ when Shashi Kapoor falls into the sea). It goes without saying that Bollywood films have entered a new era where action is concerned but this film with its fabulous under water cinematography takes action to another level altogether.
Unfortunately Blue’s story is as neglected as the cinematography is paid attention to. The weak screenplay prevents it from rising anywhere above surface (or should we say sea) level. What Blue thrives on is the feel good factor. Set in the Bahamas with several shots taken in Bangkok and Bombay, Blue is the story of the filthy rich Aaarav (Akshay Kumar), owner of Blue Fisheries and Shipping, who wants to coerce his employee and friend Saagar (Sanjay Dutt) into taking the plunge into the deep blue ocean to unearth a hidden treasure that only Saagar knows about. However, the guilt Saagar carries with him over his father’s death – which occurred when they were on an underwater excursion around the coveted treasure site – stops him from taking the bait. In fact he is outraged every time the term ‘Lady in Blue’ (referring to a sculpture on the ship wreck) is mentioned. It is only when his brother Sameer (Zayed Khan) returns with a price on his head that Saagar succumbs to Aarav and Sam’s pressure. The treasure must be dug up to pay off Sam’s debt.
The storyline is hardly original but the cinematography makes up for many things, depending upon what you’re looking for. Lara Dutta plays the role of Mona (Saagar’s girlfriend) to perfection and her underwater (read bikini) scenes are more than impressive. Underwater director of photography Pete Zucarini (who also worked on Pirates of the Caribbean) makes sure that the filming is mature. There is beautiful cinematography involving many shark action sequences and though at times it does seem like a replay of the National Geographic channel, it is a first for Bollywood. The reported 100 crore spent on the making of this film is peanuts by Hollywood standards but make Blue the most expensive Bollywood production of the year.
The story does throw in some twists and turns which keep you from finding the deep blue sea monotonous. But on the whole Blue is a stylish film with an equally hip soundtrack by Oscar winner AR Rahman and it makes more for visual impact than storytelling. It should be watched in the same frame of mind – Aamna Haider Isani (Rating – 2 OUT OF 5)
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 2009, Genre – Action, Country – India, Language – Hindi, Producer – Dhilin Mehta, Director – Anthony D’Souza, Music Director – A. R. Rahman, Cast – Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Zayed Khan, Suniel Shetty, Lara Dutta, Kylie Minogue, Rahul Dev, Kabir Bedi
The unbelievable whats!
1. It’s unbelievable that the usually fit and athletic Sanjay Dutt did not lose weight before showing off a paunch in a wetsuit. It’s equally unbelievable that he should be portrayed as the leanest, most competent deep sea diver on the island.
2. It’s unbelievable that the treasure buried underwater for fifty years should have shiny and sparkly jewelry in it.
3. It’s unbelievable that after villains attack Saagar’s home in search of Sam – thus indulging in violent gunfire – Saagar’s girlfriend Mona should ask: “Why can’t you talk to them? Everything can be solved through negotiations!” This after they have blown away half the house.
4. It’s unbelievable that an expedition that it so deadly and dangerous that no one has attempted it for fifty years (despite the treasure) should be put together in less than 24 hours.
1. All four main actors – Sanjay, Akshay, Zayed and even Lara – filmed their own stunts. Zayed Khan was the only one who came in with underwater training; the others trained for the film. According to Zayed Khan, there’s only one scene in which Sanju was given a body double because he was having some nitrogen problem and doctors had advised him not to dive.
2. Kylie Minogue joins the Bollywood bandwagon to become the latest celebrity to get lured into the bling. She does the ridiculous ‘Chiggy Wiggy’ with Akshay Kumar but looks good. Kylie was the director’s third choice after Madonna refused and Rihanna was proving too expensive. Kylie reportedly cost the director a little over a million US dollars for her item number.
3. Kylie’s tasseled outfit was designed by Manish Malhotra whereas Lara Dutta’s bohemian look for the film was created by designer Rina Dhaka.
4. There are two Oscar winning people on the crew of the Blue: A.R. Rahman and Resul Pookuty (sound design of Slumdog Millionaire)