Phantom Films presents “High Jack”
Produced by: Vikas Bahl, Nickhil Jakatdar, Madhu Mantena Varma, Vikramaditya Motwane & Arun Prakash
Directed by: Akarsh Khurana
Written by: Adhir Bhat & Akarsh Khurana
Music: Nucleya, Anurag Saikia, Slowcheeta & Shwetang Shankar, Rajat TiwariStarring: Sonalli Seygall, Sumeet Vyas, Mantra (Puranjit Dasgupta), Kumud Mishra, Chaitanya Sharma, Shiv Subramaniam, Priyanshu Painyuli, Natasha Rastogi, Sarang Sathe, Muzmil Qureshi, Sarthak Kakar, Tarruk Raina, Adhaar Khurana and others
MUMBAI—Wholesome movies sans profanity and sickening violence are as rare from Phantom Films as a flower in a desert. “Queen,” “Hasee Toh Phasee” and stretching a point even the oh-so-boring “Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana” are the few rare examples.
Another rare genre is the stoner comedy, which we last saw in the masterly “Go Goa Gone” in May 2013, exactly five years back. “High Jack” may not be anywhere near that masterpiece for which we had given a ****1/2 star rating (after repeat viewings this timeless film would get a 5-star from me today), but scores quite well by maintaining an even whacky and crazy tenor from beginning to end.
A young colleague who also liked the film told me, “You have to admit that the film also had a heart!” On the whole, I agree with him. It spoke of a desperate son trying to save his father’s clinic from being shut down, a manipulative tycoon who wants to bribe politicians for his own ends, a gutsy first officer in the plane who wants the hijackers to be caught, and the hijackers themselves, basically good but desperate human beings who want to teach their boss a lesson.
The passengers include a nosy parker teenager, a squabbling middle-aged couple that actually loves each other deeply, a cricketer who is ‘tainted’, a feisty mom with a small boy, and the boss’ watchdog posing as an effeminate steward.
Two angles coalesce in this mad caper. Wannabe DJ Rakesh (Sumeet Vyas) wants to return fast from Goa (where he has been conned of big money) to Delhi to save his father’s clinic with the two lakh rupees he has got. He is carrying drugs that are smartly and undetectably hidden in his baggage.
Udaan Air is having its last flight as the unscrupulous owner (Shiv Subramaniam) is closing it down, He is carrying a treasure in gold ingots on the same flight to Delhi for the politicians. Four employees of the organization, led by the security guy Vineet (Mantra) decide to hijack the plane as they have heard of the booty. The boss has been smarter. His armed watchdog (Chaitanya Sharma) is on board, and the amateur “hijackers” are in fact helpless even before the weird passengers.
And then Rajesh panics and drinks one full pouch of drugs with his water and begins hallucinating as per the script’s convenience, a la “Kaalakandi.” He then manages to put in a bit of drugs into some other passengers’ drinks and finally deliberately stones everyone. These absurdities do detract from the calibre of the film, but it is generally a consistently loony flow that is enjoyable while it lasts.
Only at one point do we feel that this is a Phantom production – when the cricketer is needlessly gunned down. And there is no mention of him again! The pointlessness of this is so glaring it rankles long after the movie ends on a happy note for all the good guys – including the “hijackers!”
The one-liners are generally funny, but Kumud Mishra’s anti-Pakistan lines are meant to be lampooned, and his clichéd and stale jokes have to be clichéd and stale. The film’s technical aspects are decent, as in Anurag Saikia’s background score, but the songs are indifferent and done by a hotchpotch of music makers.
Akarsh Khurana’s script is not as good as his directorial grasp over his actors and the even tenor of his humor and wackiness. Sumeet Vyas is correctly subdued, but Kumud Mishra is an element, along with Natasha Rastogi as the Tanejas. Mantra is excellent as Vineet, and of the three other hijackers, Sarang Sathe as the bespectacled man impresses the most, though Muzmil Qureshi and Sarthak Kakar also impress. Tarruk Raina is good as the young nerd, and Chaitanya Sharma is good in his effeminate portions.
On the whole, a simple time-pass fare that worked while I watched. To have a lasting quotient, it will have to work first at the box-office.