Director Prabhu Deva
‘Wanted’ is Salman Khan’s Ghajini. No, he doesn’t suffer from any short-term memory loss in the film. Rather he mouths about half a dozen times the dialogue: “Ek baar maine jo commitment kar di, phir main apni bhi nahin sunta”. But, like Aamir, Sallu does get to flaunt his rippling muscles, his biceps, triceps, abs, and what not (including the glint of his Vicco-vajradanti teeth), in a series of bone-breaking, jaw-crushing, blood-spluttering fights that makes you feel he’s the ‘last action hero’ that sadly came too late in the day.
Salman Khan, the darling of masses, plays to the gallery in Wanted. To an extent, the movie is a showcase of Salman’s looks, his brawny bod, his dance moves and his overall personality, save his acting. And the star, whose career obit has already been penned and will now be edited by his detractors, manages to pull it off with the flamboyance that will get wolf whistles and catty squeals from his loyal fans. Ceetee!!!
A remake of the South hit Pokkiri, ‘Wanted’ tells the story of a sharpshooter and serial bone-breaker named Radhe (Salman Khan), the man who shoots his gun and pumps bullets into his rivals as if he was forwarding an SMS joke to a pal. Cold blooded and only loyal to those who offer him the most wads of money, Radhe switches sides from one gang to another and makes his entry into the gang of Gani Bhai (Prakash Raj), the dreaded gangster on the most wanted list of Mumbai police.
The handsome killer loses his heart to a cute call-centre employee Jhanvi (Ayesha Takia) at first sight. When Radhe saves her from the frisky hands of a corrupt and testosterone-driven cop Talpade (Mahesh Manjrekar), Jhanvi too feels her heart beat and soon is in love with Radhe.
Even as the duo’s love story keeps hitting speed bumps, Radhe is sucked inside a deadly gang war.
Be ready for a twist in the second half that might hit you harder than Salman’s punches hit the baddies.
It’s strongly advisable to rest and resign your thinking faculties while watching ‘Wanted’. Alone, Salman bashes up a dozen goons blue and black in his intro scene and in the next scene is shaking his leg with the likes of Anil Kapoor, Govinda and Prabhu Deva (who pop out of nowhere for this cameo) in a Ganpati song. More than once in the film, a romantic song or a club number is thrown in at the oddest of places. The most bizarre is the end, when Salman walks into the den of the Mafioso Gani Bhai and goes bang, bang, bang, and shoots down everyone without getting as much as a scratch on his shirtless body (yes, Sallu doffs it again).
But then, given that ‘Wanted’ is no cerebral challenge to its viewers, but just a harmless, full-on masala entertainer, a viewer can flush these flaws down with cola and corns.
‘Wanted’ rests on the strong muscles of Salman and powerful performances by Prakash Raj and Mahesh Manjrekar. Ayesha Takia is a treat to the eyes and she can act as well (a combination hard to find). Vinod Khanna is wasted in the most shoddily written role in the film. In fact, some of the dialogues in the film leave you cringing. Sample this - Salman takes on a bunch of goons single-handedly and says “Sooar (pigs) jhund mein ghoomte hain, par sher ekele shikar karta hai.”
Thankfully, director Prabhu Deva sprinkles ‘Wanted’ with regular doses of humour to keep the violence-filled movie light-hearted. Even until the very end when Sallu shoots his last bullet, there’s some silly laughter to be had.
So even though the film is senselessly violent at times, you’ll find some fun in the edgeways.