Baaz – A Bird in Danger (2003)
Cast: Jackie Shroff, Sunil Shetty, Karisma Kapoor, Dino Morea
Director: Tinnu Verma
Music Director: Ismail Darbar
Synopsis: current Bollywood trend for whodunit slasher films continues with this dud
Reviewed by: Faiz Khan
Baaz is a feast for those who revel in masochism – i.e. the pain of sitting through something so preposterously bad as this. And here I was, believing that with a title like that, (A Bird in Danger!!!) I may actually enjoy the awfulness of the film to the point of being able to have a bit of a laugh. The only thing that I managed was a snoozing session somewhere in the middle.
Thrillers are on the rise and following Kucch To Hai, we have another serial killer on the rampage. The film opens with a beauty contest and Aditi Gowariker winning the Miss Nainital crown because poor old Preeti Jhangiani ends up in the swimming pool which provided me with the most pleasure in the film!!! Anyways, a thrilled Ms Nainital chats away with her sister who decides to go in for a shower. Lights go out and a shadow passes by the curtain. Next we have the murderer jump Miss Nainital with the strangest ideas in mind. He tries to strangle her, beats her around until she crashes through as many fibre glass tables and windows as possible, then out comes a whip, then a syringe for some unfathomable reason and finally, the lady is stabbed with a dagger of sorts. Meanwhile, sister dearest, who is actually having a jolly old time in the shower in the dark, decides that the screams coming from outside her door, may be worth investigating, sees the murderer and passes out with shock. The cops arrive moments later to arrest someone, the identity of who is not revealed to the audience as the man gets off scot free.
Cut (pun not intended) to Neha Chopra (Karisma Kapoor) who is thrilled at having been commissioned by Mayor Dabral (Jackie Shroff) to do up his old bungalow in Nainital. As she gets off the train, the mysterious Shetty, looking like a comic strip imitation doll of Arnold Swarzennegger gone very dark and very wrong, sees the lovely Neha and mutters “beauty with purity”. Neha then meets the sleazy Mayor who sets Neha up in his old bungalow and mutters to himself “Beauty with brains”! Neha also comes across her neighbour Raj (Dino Morea) who decides to jump in from her bathroom window to save her from being electrocuted. This is just after someone has been taking shots of her although how they ever managed to do so from the angles that the pics were taken, Lord only knows. Raj mutters to himself…”beauty with body”. So, we now have the three male protagonists in the film with differing views on the lady in question…!!! But all agree that she is a beauty! Now we have to work out who the killer could be.
Neha goes for the bad-tempered neighbour Raj and falls in love with him. But one day, she is hauled into the police station by D.S.P Harsh Wardhan (Sunil Shetty) and fellow cop Preeti Rastogi (Preeti Jhangiani) who tell her that Raj is the killer but they have never had the evidence to catch him. Neha is no fool and as the court had not found him guilty, why should she? Returning to her lover, she comes across the murder weapon, pictures of her in the bathroom, rubber gloves and a syringe. Neha dashes out straight into the waiting arms of D.S.P Harsh and convinced that the puny Raj is the killer. Raj of course does not see fit to ask why his neighbour runs off or why there were those pictures or the murder weapon lying around but perhaps, Neha put them all back! Intent to leave, D.S.P Harsh takes Neha to see the comatose sister with her hysterical mother and Neha decides that she would be happy to become the “bird in danger” and catch the killer.
Cut to sleazy song with Mayor Dabral imagining Neha dancing provocatively with 6 other nymphets in his kamasutraesque parlour. We also have Raj who slashes Neha’s picture in a fit of rage. And then there is the protector Harsh Wardhan. Who could be the killer? And will we ever know why?
Telling you any more would be giving the story away, and for those who may be bored or masochistically inclined and venture out to see this drivel, all I shall say is that it gets worse and worse. You finally end up in the killer’s den who has, by some ingenious method, managed to place his murdered victims, standing upright in little glass showcases without a hint of decomposition or even any marks of their death. Perhaps they did not suffer the kind of fate that was in store for Ms Nainital. One wishes that these putlas had been introduced earlier, made it into something dire but enjoyable like “Geeta mera Naam” of the 70s but no such luck. We have a few birds in the film fluttering around to add credence to the title. And sure, we have the final excuse that the killer was somewhat mentally deranged but he seems to have covered this up ably for many a year! And what was the motive behind the murders…. that his mother was mad and therefore he must also be???? Any reason for his fixation of keeping the bodies in his den…and what about the syringe??? what was that meant to do.
Oh, this is not even laughable, it’s so painful. You wonder who woke up with this idea, how long it took to put the idea together and why any of these stars actually bothered to do this at all. Karisma Kapoor has attained a certain status in the industry which I think is somewhat overstated. No, she’s not a brilliant actress and even her most endearing performances leave you somewhat cold. But having lauded the fact that she has reached a certain stage, why in the world is she acting in absolute drivel like this? What could be the justification? Hers is a central role but who gives a monkey’s? Its utter rubbish and she is pretty dire in the film although we are spared the screaming and shouting for once. Jackie Shroff is simply doing his bit of trying to muddy the waters by keeping the audience guessing whether this sleaze bag could possibly be the killer. Sunil Shetty needs a serious make over…makes little impression. Dino Morea shows a marked improvement and shows some potential. I simply cannot bring myself to like the lacklustre and completely ordinary Preeti Jhangiani.
Tinnu Verma’s direction is bad and all those endless actions scenes with doors flying off their hinges, people crashing through windows etc. etc. are simply utterly tedious. The dream sequence is simply hilarious. For a while he keeps us guessing on the identity of the killer but soon tries so hard to make it obvious as to who we should suspect that you know for sure that that’s not the man. There is little suspense or chills and proceedings are further bogged down by a fairly dreadful musical score by Ismail Darbar. He needed to cut the film but at least 90 minutes to make it even remotely palatable! Anyways, some may say…with a title as ridiculous as “a bird in danger”, what the hell do you expect? Frankly, a bit of an unintentional laugh but even that’s not forthcoming.