Review by Vikram Bondal
Anil Sharma who is known for directing one of Bollywood’s biggest blockbusters Gadar (2001) finally returns to direction with Apne after the debacle ‘Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon’ (2003). He has managed to pull off a casting coup by getting Dharmendra to star with his 2 sons Sunny and Bobby. But is the power-packed starcast enough to make a good movie?
Baldev Singh Choudhry (Dharmendra) was a champion boxer. He even won the silver medal in the Olympics for boxing. Unfortunately, his credibility was tarnished. Due to a conspiracy against him, he was unfairly accused of doping and banned from boxing for 15 years. He decided to clear his name by training his elder son Angad (Sunny Deol)and making him a champion, but due to family poverty Angad quit boxing and went into business with his friend thus deeply hurting his father. At this point in his life, Baldev is extremely disillusioned. One day, a young man (Aryan Vaid) comes to him saying that he wants to be trained into a good boxer and gives Baldev a reason to live, but even he betrays Baldev. Now, Baldev’s younger son Karan (Bobby Deol) decides to come to his aid and by winning, he tries to smoothen out the relationship between Baldev and Angad. But then just when everything is looking good for the family, things again start going wrong…
Now, the above story has ample scope for drama and emotions, but the screenplay by Neeraj Pathak doesn’t do justice to the story. The biggest fault of the movie is its length which goes up to 2 hours and 50 minutes due to which the viewers end up feeling extremely restless. However to the director’s credit, he has handled the emotional sequences beautifully. The movie has been captured pretty well, both the green lush fields of Punjab as well as the streets of New York have been shown beautifully to the viewers by cinematographer Kabir Lal. The boxing sequences have been choreographed expertly by Chris Anderson, but they may be a little too violent and gory for the more sensitive viewers.
The music by Himesh Reshammiya is good in patches. The songs that stay with you after the movie are the title song and Dekhoon tujhe toh pyar aaye that is sung by the composer himself. The song picturisations in the movie are appealing to watch.
It’s truly a pleasure to watch Dharmendra make a comeback to acting. After his endearing cameo in Life… In A Metro this year, it is truly heartening to see more of him on screen. He still acts effortlessly and carries the entire movie on his shoulders. Sunny Deol plays the sensitive and fiery Angad with ease and makes you wish that he’d do more such roles in future. Bobby Deol is pretty good, but pales in comparison to his more illustrious father and brother. Indeed it is a pleasure to watch the warm and realistic chemistry between them. The leading ladies don’t have much to do. However while Kiron Kher and Shilpa Shetty make their presence felt in this male dominated movie. Katrina Kaif doesn’t have much to do. Divya Dutta is pitifully under-used in an inconsequential role. Aryan Vaid is average. Victor Bannerjee is extremely natural. Javed Sheikh doesn’t have much of a role to speak of. Jonny Brown as Luca Gracia is menacing.
Overall the movie is for the hardcore fans of Dharmendra, Sunny and Bobby. Also those who prefer emotional movies will love this one. However, it’s highly recommended that atleast 15-20 minutes be chopped off from the movie as it makes it a tedious watch.