Kidnap (2008)

Rating: C

Dir: Sanjay Gadhvi
Star: Sanjay Dutt, Imran Khan, Minissha Lamba, Vidya Malvade

Sonia (Lamba), the snotty teenage daughter of a wealthy industrialist, is kidnapped on Christmas Day by Kabir (Khan), who has held a long-time grudge against her estranged father, Vikrant (Dutt), for an incident in the past that everyone else has forgotten. Despite the separation from his mother, he returns to their house and turns his resources towards rescuing his daughter. However, Kabir is not interested in the typical ransom: he sets Vikrant a series of tasks, begin with an apology and escalating up from there through carrying out a robbery and a jail-break, culminating in Kabir’s final demand, which takes place at a New Year’s Eve rave. Meanwhile, Sonia has found out the reasons for her kidnap, and finds that she sympathizes with her kidnapper more than she initially thought.

This opens with one of the most bizarre shifts in tone ever, cutting directly from a credit-sequence consisting of a series of mournful storyboards depicting prison brutality, into a cheerful dance number featuring Sonia bouncing around without a care in the world. From there, it doesn’t help that Lamba’s acting chops seem pretty limited, with her character failing to come over as much more than a whiny brat.

Dutt and Khan do a little better, and there are a couple of decent sequences between the two, not least the encounter at the rave, where the audience realizes what’s going on before Vikrant (there’s also a good parkour-inspired footchase, over and through a building site). However, the sheer pointlessness of the exercise overall is a major stumbling-block, with the “villain” engaging in behavior that would not pass muster by any Evil Overlord. As a crisply-played and tightly-edited ninety-minute thriller, this would probably have worked fine. Stretched out, in typically-Bollywood style, to a monstrous 153 minutes… Not nearly so much.