Retrospective: Ab Tak Chappan

atc.jpgThis is the debut film of Shimit Amin, the LA based editor who went back to India after Ram Gopal Verma offered him an opportunity at his production arm, The Factory. The title of the film can be roughly translated as "56 And Counting" and it refers to the number of kills that lead Police Inspector Sadhu Agashe (Nana Patekar) has notched up in his pursuit of terrorists and criminals in Mumbai. The film is a bleak look at the phenomenon of "encounter killings" - a convenient way of disposing off criminals for the police unwilling to entrust them to the vagaries of the Indian judicial system. The fireworks really start when Sashu Agashe, hitherto accustomed to meting out rough justice, starts finding himself at the receiving end. The ensuing cat and mouse game is riveting and the subsequent denouement is both shocking and cathartic. It's made all the more remarkable by Nana Patekar's searing performance. Present in nearly every frame of the film, he's as magnetic as he was in his breakthrough roles in Parinda and Prahaar, yet he never resorts to cheap histrionics. Special mention must also be made for the background score consisting mainly of stark, analog soundscapes, very unlike Bollywood, yet very fitting. A tough police thriller in the tradition of Heatand Internal Affairs, Ab Tak Chappan is one of the best films of 2004.

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- May 15, 2005 11:54 PM // Bollywood , Film , Review