PRIDE AND SUB JUDICE ( At the Box Office )

Not again. After Khakee, Ab Tak Chhappan, Police Force, Aan and Dev, phew, it's now Garv. Time to play cops and robbers one more time. The story begins with Arjun Ranawat (Salman Khan), an assistant commissioner of police, being charged with the murder of 18 men.

By Sudha Mukerjee

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Published: Sat 10 Jul 2004, 3:11 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:46 AM

GARV (Hindi)

(At Plaza Cinema and other theatres in UAE)

Narrated in flashback, Garv revolves around the events that lead to the carnage. Transpires that Arjun is a maverick cop, the kind who takes the law into his own hands. The kind who doesn't think twice before pumping a dozen bullets into a criminal or kicking a corrupt chief minister in the chest. No wonder then that he soon locks horns with underworld kingpin Zafar Supari (Mukesh Rishi) and his politician cohort Kashi Trivedi (Govind Namdeo). Guns roar and blood flows and it isn't long before Arjun's life is full of woes.

No heroine? Sure there is, and she dances in a nightclub for a living. Miss Jannat (Shilpa Shetty) boogies at the Can Club in skimpy outfits or slithers like a snake over rocks and that is the sum total of her role. Comic relief? This comes in the second half when Arjun's sympathetic ex boss - police commissioner Samar Singh (Amrish Puri) - suddenly transforms into his defence lawyer and proceeds to hold centre stage in court. Arjun's police pals turn out in full force and there is some major melodrama that has to be seen to be believed. There is violence too and this includes breaking furniture on the prosecutor's head. Just when we think that things cannot get more ludicrous, the judge finally wakes up and hollers, 'Order order, I say stop it!'

Supposedly playing the strong and silent type (actually, he's pretty vocal), Salman Khan looks dashing in khaki and is handy with his fists. He has a couple of effective emotional moments but is otherwise not called upon to do much but be strong and er, silent. Shilpa Shetty's sole contribution is to burn up the dance floor. Akanksha, as the hero's foster sister, is awful. No looks, no acting skills, the only reason she is here is because her father Prem Kishen happens to be the producer. No one in the supporting cast - including Arbaaz Khan, Amrish Puri, Govind Namdeo, Shivaji Satam, Anupam Kher and Mukesh Rishi - makes an impact.

Actor turned director Punit Isarr (best known as the man who critically injured Amitabh Bachchan in 1982 during a fight sequence on the sets of Manmohan Desai's Coolie) talks about pride and honour in the police force but unfortunately, neither the narrative nor the treatment offers anything new or inspiring. It's a story - the underworld - politician - police nexus - that we have seen hundreds of times before and portrayed far more effectively. There are exaggerated characters wherever you look. From the chief minister to the underworld don to the crooked police commissioner to just about everyone in sight, all they seem to do is roll their eyes, flare their nostrils and snarl. To add to our woes, the songs are terrible and unevenly placed.

Does Salman Khan indulge in his favourite pastime of taking off his shirt? Yes he does but he has a good excuse each time. We can't expect him to wear a shirt when the cops are thrashing him in jail, can we? And he definitely cannot be clothed when he is working out. Or when he is dancing in the rain. Or even when he is relaxing. Yup, all very good reasons for displaying a bare torso. Incidentally, since when do assistant commissioners of police supersede all their seniors and go around submitting enquiry reports to the President and the Prime Minister?

Bottom line: High on guns, goons and gore, there isn't much in Garv to appeal to those who are not fans of Salman Khan.

Rating: *1/2

Starring: Salman Khan, Shilpa Shetty etc

Music: Anu Malik, Sajid-Wajid

Producer: Prem Kishen, Sunil Mehta

Director: Puneet Isarr

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