As one who is always looking for new and exciting films to watch, I was recommend the movie Insaaf from a friend. Unbeknownst to me, there are two variations of this film, the original Insaaf, produced in 1987, was what I was supposed to see. By mistake, I sat down to watch Insaaf: The Final Justice, produced a decade later in 1997. The blunder turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I ended up enjoying the film I wasn’t supposed to see. Was it corny? Yes. Were some of the scenes absolutely ridiculous? Yes again. Did it entertain me? Absolutely and that’s all that matters in my mind.
I’m new to Bollywood films so I enjoyed observing how the influence of America has made its way over to the sub-continent. Take the opening credits as an example. I couldn’t believe my ears but I’m hearing the Terminator theme. Normally this would be disappointing, especially without any robots in the film (they’re weren’t), but I found it hilarious to see such a film score ripped without any credits or disregard. And it only got better. In the middle of the film, during one of the many musical pauses that you’ll find in Hindi films, a group of kids begin dancing in a park to the Axel Foley theme. Seriously, you can’t even make things like this up!
Insaaf: The Final Justice can be boiled down to a story about rival gangs. Good and evil are very black and white with Akshay Kumar starring as Inspector Vikram Singh, an all around bad-ass whose character has elements of both John Rambo and John McClain. Vikram plays the good guy who refuses to cooperate with the corrupt Chiman Bhai (Paresh Rawal). I’ll have to tip my hat to Paresh Rawal who played a very convincing mob boss much in the mold of Tony Montana. Even though I don’t know a lick of Hindi, I’ve come to appreciate his inflection and intonation. Of course, no action film is complete without a beautiful woman. Taking its cue from the gritty action movies of the late 80s and early 90s, a pretty heroine was an absolute requirement. In this case it was no surprise to see Shilpa Shetty fill the role.
The ratings for this film on IMDB were horrid which I can understand. Certain scenes, especially the action sequences were rather painful to watch. I also haven’t seen too many Hindi films so I’m still trying to get over the constant pausing of the story for yet another 5 minute music break. As an American, I’m simply not used to having the plot disrupted. I must confess, though, that the most popular song in this film, Baara Aana De, managed to get stuck in my head causing me to listen it on repeat for several days after watching the movie.
In spite of the poor reviews, I found Insaaf: The Final Justice to be an interesting examination of American film influence on Indian / Bollywood pop culture. Perhaps a college student might find this blog helpful for a term paper…eh probably not.