Style and surprises in story of horse-racing filmed in SA

2008-04-14 00:00

Film review: Race | Ster Kinekor: Rating: ****

Director duo Abbas-Mastan are noted for giving superstar Shah Rukh Khan his first solo super hit with Baazigar. With Race they give the audience glamour, glitz and style with stunning locations in Cape Town, Durban and Pietermaritzburg’s Golden Horse Casino as the backdrop.

Ranvir (Saif Ali Khan) and Rajiv (Akshaye Khanna) are step-brothers who own a stud farm in Durban. Ranvir has a great passion for the racehorses that are bred on his stud farm. He is a very shrewd businessman, a fierce competitor and is aggressive by nature. Rajiv, on the other hand, has just one passion — alcohol.

Sophia (Katrina Kaif) is Ranvir’s personal secretary who secretly loves her boss but is unable to get his attention. Then there’s Sonia (Bipasha Basu), a model who walks into Ranvir’s life and wins his heart — enter the twist of fate.

When Rajiv sees Sonia he falls head over heels in love with her. Rajiv even promises Ranvir that he will quit alcoholism if his brother can convince her to marry him. Big brother Ranvir plays matchmaker and Rajiv and Sonia are soon a married couple.

Beneath the surface, the story starts getting complicated with evil plans, adultery, contract killing, double crossing and a huge insurance claim of $100 million.

Enter a sharp-tongued police investigative officer, R.D. (Anil Kapoor) and his brainless assistant Mini (Sameera Reddy) to try to crack the case and get to the bottom of this mystery.

Akshaye Khanna has the author-backed role and is brilliant. This is one of his best roles to date under Abbas-Mastan’s direction. Khan gives a challenging performance, but does look glum in certain scenes.

Basu surprises, as she usually adds oomph, but this time round gives a dynamic performance. Kaif is getting better in every film and excels in the latter half of this one. Kapoor is lovable, but Reddy is wasted.

To date, Race is Abbas-Mastan’s best work. There a lot of grey shades to the characters, but the serpentine manner in which it is captured with a twist, glamour and glitz are brilliant.

Race must be seen as it has a brilliant plot, high substance and style.

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