Nayak (2001)


Nayak – The Real Hero (2001)
Cast: Anil Kapoor, Rani Mukherjee
Director: Shankar
Music Director: A.R Rahman
Nutshell: Politically oriented remake of South Indian hit with Anil Kapoor is all at sea


This remake of a south film is a shambles. You would imagine that working from the original, half the work would be done, especially as the original was also directed by the same director. In fact, it had been claimed that this was far superior to the original but if that is the case, the original must have been an utter disaster.

Shivaji Rao (Anil Kapoor) is a journalist who is challenged on television by the corrupt chief minister (Amrish Puri) to become Chief Minister for one day rather attack him for not having done his job properly and for being corrupt etc etc. We have already been through the scenes of corruption, of mobs being fuelled for political ends, the sort of stuff that one has seen on various occasions before in better and harder hitting films. Having accepted this challenged, Shivaji rao, in the space of 24 hours, is able to make a marked impression on the junta and lo and behold, of course we have the junta clamouring after him. This of course does not bode well with the corrupt elite of politicos so they set about to destroy him. Shivaji Rao even ends up wrapped in mud, in chains, down to his underwear fighting off the goons in a scene which cost the producer a pretty packet but is simply laughable in context. Shiva Ji Rao makes it to Chief Minister but now has to deal with the triumvirate of nasties out to destroy him. In between all of this politicking, there is the dusky Manjali (Rani Mukherjee) with whom the Cm is able to sneak off with and have “rooki sookhi rooti” in the fields, especially as he likes to don the guise of the common man to root out the evil of corruption that besets our society. But poor Manjali is forbidden by her father to have anything to do with Shiva ji because it is simply too dangerous to be connected to him. After one such song, the village is attacked and we have flying cars and exploding huts only to prove the father’s point of view.

All’s well that ends well but not for the audience. This is such a ramshackle vehicle that it creaks to its dull conclusion not before one has been numbed by the inane direction and the meandering and dull plot.

The director is master of his ship and this ship starts to sink quite early in the proceedings. Nayak has a distinctly southern feel and is punctuated with song after song, all unnecessary and further causing boredom. This has to be A.R Rahman’s worst possibly score. In fact it is so bad that one wonders if its his at all. Anil Kapoor does a decent job of a decent role but really, this is such a waste of a film that all that effort goes to waste. Rani Mukherjee is in a thankless role and I wonder whatever prompted her to take such a pathetic part.

Nayak is lavishly shot and a huge amount of money is wasted on sets and songs which will no doubt not bring in repeat business. The saiyyan song, with the snakes rising and felling the army etc is more fitting of a children’s film…This one’s a dud, give it a miss.