Cleverly nestled between an I Hate Luv Storys and Rajneeti trailer was a 30 second promo on local cable – ‘Fasale Bahara Hoon Mai’ was the name of the track, which saw former Femina Miss India Nikita Anand seducing a frigid [gasp!] Moammar Rana in Bollywood’s answer to Punjabi/Pashto pulp. The English lyrics of the track go something like this: “Gonna rule me up?/ Wanna take a ride?/ C’mon let’s do it! Take away!/ Ooh waah-ee-yeah! [x4]” I mean, she ripped his goddamn Rupa banyan off whilst he stoically stared into the distance à la war veteran. ‘Sangdil Sharara’ indeed. Ek Second…Jo Zindagi Badal De was the name of the movie, and a trip to the local DVD shop revealed the film had released. Feeling either a) like Indiana Jones, the movie connoisseur equivalent of, b) Sadomasochistic, c) in the mood for a quick laugh, d) all of the above, I decided to brave a screening of the rather unknown [B-movie?] flick.
The Plot, or Gwyneth Paltrow’s Sliding Doors meets – gaah, Brain has Dissolved: Raashi [Manisha Koirala, a shadow of her Dil Se, Bombay & Khamoshi self], fiancé of hot-shot novelist Shantanu Roy [Moammar Rana], is a perpetual procrastinator, but the producers would have us believe she is destiny’s child – ‘ek second’ late for Roy’s book launch, ‘ek second’ [well, actually she was an hour late, but oh well] late for important presentation at office – which gets her fired. Within the first ten minutes, we’re brainwashed into believing ‘ek second’ can really screw us over. On her way back, at a metro station, she is unable to board the train [sound familiar?], and this is where we’re taken on a journey of two parallel universes – the Raashi that managed to board the train, and catch Roy two-timing her with psychotic Tamanna [Nikita Anand], and her track thereafter with Yuvraaj [Jackie Shroff] and Rozza – versus the Raashi that didn’t. In one version, she’s extremely successful, in the other, she’s shown struggling with her life. And here’s the kicker: the moral of the story is supposed to be that whatever is written in one’s destiny happens in one way or the other. And don’t worry, if you feel confused, you have an annoying narrator practically spoon-feeding you the plot throughout.
Background check on director Partho Ghosh revealed masterpieces of Indian cinema such as Meri Life Mai Uski Wife, Mr. Hot Mr. Kool, Chetna – The Excitement [?!]’, and – wait, Agnisakshi Ghulam-e-Mustafa? But – those were half-decent movies! The former, a remake of Sleeping With The Enemy, also featuring Manisha and Jackie Shroff, actually hit box office gold! Then – what went wrong here?
Actually, that’s a no-brainer. The screenplay = shoddy, with most of the dialogue lifted from Urdu SMS Shayeri/those stalker messages you get on Facebook. And practically no attention to detail.
First off: Moammar Rana, in the very first scene, is showcased launching his book ‘Destiny – a Journey’ at ‘Random’ Publish House – the invitation reads RPH Present’s ‘Destiny.’ Umm, you’re a publishing house. It’s called spell-check?! Then there’s the atrocious dialogue right at the onset, with Rana’s token ‘Pakistani’ friend Sam [a horrid, horrid Suniiel Singh] going: “Guzra hua waqt, nikli hui saansen kabhi wapis nahi aateen. Tujhe nahi lagta Raashi kuch zyaada hi late karrahi hai?” Yes, yes, we know the film’s about destiny and time and whatnot. Then there was Jackie Shroff’s introduction – Shroff’s role in the film is to act as Manisha’s knight in shining armor – “Qismat/Wismat kuch nahi madam. Fighter apni qismat banata hai. Fighter hamesha jeethta hai!” Manisha: “Hahaha, thank you, bye.” Oh, God. Sparks obviously fly, as Manisha later recounts to Moammar: “Really, a second can change life, Shaanu. Aaj mai marte marte bachi hoon. Agar ek second mai woh ajnabi farishta mujhe aa ke naa bachata..”
Then there was the first song, the aneurysm inducing ‘Hota Hai Har Faisala Ek Second Mai,’ featuring Suniiel [dubbed Fat Mithun from now on] gyrating with a bevy of Malaysian beauties. It’s an assault to the senses, a new low for singer Adnan Sami, and a great Truth or Dare challenge. I mean, publisher Fat Mithun moonlighting as cabaret lothario/Jiminy Cricket [‘let your conscience be your guide’ and all that]?! Epic fail! Nikita Anand, clearly with great potential [details later] is wasted in an insipid introduction as Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction wannabe. “Waisay tumhare saath ye nahi fuljari kaun hai? [Pointing to Manisha] Koi nayi fan ya koi nahi murghi?” Moammar: “Nahi ham jald shaadi karne wale hain.” “Oo lucky girl! Blah blah greatest novelist ne kissi ko apna life-partner banaya, blah blah waisay to sab bed-partners theen!” *Both giggle like schoolgirls.* And her Kajol-from-Gupt moment? “Ye Shaanu tumhara itni asaani se nahi hoga, Jaanu!” I’d shudder if I wasn’t, you know, laughing out so loud.
Poor, poor Moammar Rana. He pitches in earnest expressions throughout the film, but is once again let down by bizarre dialogue. Sample this, frustrated by the average response to his novel, he retorts: “duniya mai kayi log aye jinhon ne apni qismat ko challenge kiya. Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte aur Sikandar jese log!”
Then comes the entire sequence where Manisha catches him doing the nasty with Nikita. Forget gut-wrenching, it was practically farcical. Moammar screams thrice, introduces other woman to fiancé, and Nikita goes: “oh forget it! C’mon Shaanu!”, later calling him a ‘delicious dish jo ham donon [Nikita and Manisha] mil ke half half khayen gay.’ It’d all be very poignant, if this were a Rob Schneider comedy – Osman Khalid Butt
Cast and Production Credits
Year – 2010, Genre – Thriller, Country – India, Language – Hindi, Producer – Rachna Sunil Singh, Director – Partho Ghosh, Music Director – Arvinder Singh, Sawan Kumar, Cast – Jackie Shroff, Manisha Koirala, Nikita Anand, Muammar Rana, Roza Catalano, Hanbir Malik, Suneil Singh