Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Unanswered questions in "Khiladi"

Apart from how this launched anything, much less Akshay Kumar's successful career, and about fifteen non-sequels with the word "Khiladi" in the title...

For its first hour, at least, 1992's Khiladi is a low-budget teen comedy about some goofy guys who play pranks, the kind for whom romance becomes a pretext for some Tootsie action. I began to lose hope that it was ever going to morph into some kind of thriller/action picture, but at least Akshay's Raj is pretty cute, and obviously athletic in his fight and dance scenes. Eventually, however, a friend is murdered in the course of one of their ploys, and it starts to lean a little in that direction, although it's far, far from seeming like an entry in "an Indian version of James Bond" series, as someone called it on the IMDB.

Many questions are raised, including these:

What's with all the Hitler mustaches in Indian films? Or are they actually supposed to be Charlie Chaplin mustaches?

Why does a song seem to have the same tune as "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"?

Why is there an enormous Samantha Fox poster on the wall in the girls' hostel?

What is third-act blackmailer Julie wearing? It looks like a leopard-print diaper over a leotard. Not what I'd pair with an elaborate feathered hat.

Why did Akshay's Raj check out Rosemary Rogers' Love Play, of all books, from the public library? (Here's the breathless blurb: "They have money, power and arrogance--and the world is theirs. Beautiful and unspoiled, Sara Coleville knows she can play their game. Now her fine-bred defiance and brazen masquerades have excited Marco Marcantoni--enflaming the hot-blooded duke's most shameles passions and wildest desires. He vows he will have her, in secrecy and seclusion--to use until all his needs are satisfied. But Sara's innocence is deceptive. And it is she who must ultimately prevail in this world where wealth makes love easy...and passion makes it dangerous.")

When Raj and his love interest are rolling on the floor, and a cobra inexplicably pops up in the foreground, is this a case of sometimes a snake is only a snake?

At least, finally, sidekick Boney's obsession with his nasal inhaler, which suddenly appeared about an hour in, became integral to throwing suspicion on him and Raj. That was starting to drive me crazy.

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