Nana Patekar at 64, has never looked more sexy, more at ease, lithe limbed and like his character, acted as deliciously eccentric.
Ab Tak Chappan 2 keeps both his trademark humour and tough as a nut encounter cop image alive along with the original events of the first film.
Earlier, Shimit Amin’s debut directorial, produced by Ram Gopal Verma, starring Nana, had made a great first unforgettable impression. So much so that Amin went on to direct the hugely successful Chak De India, soon after.
Considering the first film’s impact,the sequel made by another debut director, Aejaz Gulab and produced by Raju Chadda, is more faithful to the original as far as namesake sequels milking their brand values go.
Sadly, the story is as old and predictable as any Indian politician. Yet, what makes it entirely watchable is Nana himself.
There is a candid scene in which Nana’s immediate junior (Ashutosh Rana), very much in keeping with similar inter department jealousy, earlier; shows him a newspaper picture in which Nana is in “focus” and the rest of the cop team “out of focus”. Nana tells him it barely matters and there is a heavy price to pay for his image too. Then he further ribs Rana adding casually that he is quite cable of shooting his own colleagues by mistake during a shootout. The words used are “thok diya”.
That’s Sadhu Agashe for you; he can play pranks like none other.
Going back to the price, Sadhu has paid it with the loss of his wife (Revathy), shot in front of him, in the prequel. The film touches upon his sadness and his deep guilt, right in the beginning, thus building a connect with the past story seen in the original.
The film opens to show how Sadhu has given up his cop’s life and lives a retired life in Goa with his young son as self-punishment. He goes fishing in the mornings, cooks his prize catch later, plays marbles with street kids and peels fresh coconuts like a pro. His son plays the piano at home and the two reminisce over the dead wife’s (Revathy) beautiful poems.
It’s a tranquil life on the surface. Like still waters with undercurrents running deep. Until, a home minister decides to throw a stone in the lovely Goa waters and create life threatening ripples once again in his life by getting him back on a new assignment to wipe out two warring gangsters: one of whom is Raj Zutshi.
Zutshi is in hiding, abroad and runs his mafia from his wheel chair. He keeps calling up Nana and the two have such friendly banter that it makes the hidden menace from the past, even more thrilling.
So far, so good. The characters are well established, with humour, with some nice lines and of course, Nana’s characteristic honesty mixed with eccentricity. Like fish in coconut gravy.
As soon as Sadhu is back in action, the film takes on a roller coaster speed of twists and turns, fights and murders. The scenes have some realistic cop-victim chases in locales like boats and tabelas. Nana, strong as a coconut tree, on the run, with his gun, and a few high jumps, is better than Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar put together. Without their pelvic thrusts and filmy stunts.
However, post interval, the treadmill pace of the film gets as predictable as the next day’s newspaper and the climax, when it comes, fails to have the impact, the original was famous for.
A motley of interesting supporting cast like Ashutosh Rana, Raj Zutshi, Gul Panag and Govind Namdeo (underused) make the story as believable as they can. Vikram Gokhale as a more central character fails to keep the tension going, which largely affects the downhill plot.
It is sad, that Nana Patekar, just like his character, is dismissive of his powerful talent. Or perhaps the commercial film Industry is. He could so easily be on par with, if not better than overexposed Amitabh Bachchan.
Ab Tak Chappan 2 does a bad job with the plot but a great job of reminding you of true Nana rocking power.
(The writer tries to make peace with her own filmmaking nightmares, of being a scriptwriter, actor and assisting film icons by moonlighting as a film journalist.http://gayatrigauri.blogspot.in)