A mistaken identity, hit men, murder, petty thieves, a diamond heist, romance! Raj Kaushal's Anthony Kaun Hai? promises to be a non stop comic thriller, according to it's dvd sleeve, but I'd have a hard time categorizing it as such. To me, it plays out more as a comedic crime drama with romantic undertones. Certainly there doesn't seem to be any real elements of the typical thriller, in my opinion, but that doesn't mean that this movie isn't worth your time because there are so many things that work for it.
The film is told in a series of flashbacks as Champak 'Champ' Chaudhary (Arshad Warsi) attempts to convince the cool and stylish Master Madan (Sanjay Dutt) that he's been the victim of mistaken identity. Champ, a small time crook specializing in documentation fraud, is arrested the day of his nuptials and spends 6 months in a prison where he meets a supposedly dumb and deaf inmate, Raghuvir Sharma (Raghuvir Yadav), serving a life sentence of stealing diamonds. The two hatch a plan to spring Raghuvir from prison, reclaim and split the stolen gems, and live their lives in splendor, Sharma with his daughter Jia (Minissha Lamba) and Champ with his lost love Rosa. However, as it usually goes, life has other plans when a series of hit men derail the two's plans.
While this movie was most likely marketed on the existing comedy genius of Arshad and Sanjay as a pair, this film belongs solely to Arshad. I mentioned recently that I enjoy Arshad's comedy, but was more directly drawn to those roles of his where the comedy is more subtle. Rather than the in your face physical haha's or overblown laughs that seem like they try to hard, I much prefer the subtle, more realistic comedy, and that's what we get from him here (aside from the hair and beaded beard that is!). Because the basis of the film revolves around his story and how he becomes mistaken for Anthony Gonzalves, Arshad has plenty of screen time to fill, and his recounts are compelling to watch. The thing about Arshad is, even if he's playing a small time crook and deadbeat, he is always still so likable. Now that is a quality you can't fake! Also I think I am officially turning watching Arshad's films into my very own drinking game. Is there a single film of his where he's not chugging back a beer, a shot, a jigger of some sort? I'm beginning to think not, but that's okay - I'm all for method acting!
A shout out to Sitaji - I'm not sure if this is Johnny Walker, but it is for sure whiskey and it has a black label, so I'm entering it into the Sitaji collection of JW sightings (though it could also be JD?)
Sanjay Dutt features prominently in the film as the suit wearing, wine drinking, Ferrari driving hitman Master Madan. Apparently the only thing he likes more than money is film (aaah, an assassin after my own heart), which is ideal really, otherwise there would have been no story! He is all business when it comes to dealing with those in his way, but he does it in such a refined manner. Yes, there is a place in this world for the gentleman killer after all.
Minissha, Raghuvir and Gulshan Grover as Inspector Suraj Singh round out the cast. As the love interest, Minissha does a good job and gets a chance to actually act rather than just look good. There's something about her eyes that are kind of mesmerizing. Raghuvir and Gulshan serve as just filler to me. Not bad, but not great.
Like most films, there are flaws in Kaushal's film, but the biggest for me was the music which was helmed by Himesh Reshammiya. A strong effort I suppose, but even now, thinking back to the songs, I can't recall a single one which is strange because the film is chalf full of them (seven to be exact). I do, however, remember one song only because it includes a wet Arshad frolicking in water. I know, but what's a girl to do?
One last tidbit, specifically for Sitaji again, a variation on the "tight slap"....
Who exactly is Anthony Gonzalves? Well, I guess you'll have to watch to find out, but at least it will be an interesting ride!