Race Review – A Twisted Tale

Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Bipasha Basu, Anil Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Sameera Reddy
Director: Abbas-Mustan
Story & Screenplay: Shiraz Ahmed
Music: Pritam

When you have too many meaningless twists in a story, the end result is an ugly twisted movie called Race.

Even Saif Ali Khan’s sterling performance cannot save Race from the garbage heap of trashy Bollywood movies.


Akshaye Khanna, a fairly decent actor by Bollywood’s lowly standards, seems hopelessly lost when cast in the unusual role of a scheming, forever boozing younger step-brother. Or was Akshaye petrified about being cast alongside actor extraordinaire Saif Ali Khan, who is getting better with each movie just as most of his Bollywood peers are sinking with each new film, that he just lost it?

With the exception of Saif Ali Khan’s intense performance, Race is a dud in every department – story, screenplay, music and action.

The Race story is hardly unique. A wastrel of a young man Rajiv Singh (Akshaye Khanna) wants to bump off his elder brother Ranvir Singh (Saif Ali Khan) to lay his hands on a big pot of insurance money. To carry out his nefarious plot, he enlists the assistance of a fashion model Sonia (Bipasha Basu) with an ugly past.

The movie is set in South Africa, where you see Ranvir as the passionate owner of a struggling horse racing business. His personal assistant is Sophia (Katrina Kaif), whose only job for the better part of the movie seems to be handing papers to her boss to sign. And she’s also supposed to be secretly in love with her boss, who blithely ignores her. Hey, we’d do the same if she were our underling!

Hell-o, is this a story?

As for Bipasha Basu and Katrina Kaif, don’t get us started on these two horror shows masquerading as actresses. The cruel water torture of watching Bipasha Basu on the big screen is a punishment that has no parallel.

Is there such a paucity of talent in a country of 1.2 billion people that we, the suffering Bollywood fans around the world have to endlessly endure the pain of hideously horrible vampires like Bipasha Basu and Katrina Kaif sinking their ugly fangs into our lovely throats?

At a moment when Hollywood is dishing up unusual and impressive stories like Juno, Knocked Up, Sweeney Todd, Eastern Promises and I am Legend, our doddering Bollywood dolts like Abbas-Mustan are still dishing out sophomoric stories like Race.

Directors Abbas-Mustan leave nothing to chance. Just in case the less-than-impressive story, the less-than-thrilling action scenes and the less-than-pleasing tunes are not enough to drive you to the loony bin, in the second half of Race the directors unleash upon the suffering audience the ridiculous spectacle of a grossly overacting Anil Kapoor (as inspector Robert D’Costa) and that fat bimbo Sameera Reddy as his sidekick Mini.

In Ramayana, Lord Ram found peace and happiness after 14 years in exile; In Mahabharatha, the Pandavas had their moment in the sun after 13 years of exile. But with movies like Race, it seems like permanent exile from good movies for Bollywood fans.

Katrina Kaif, who showed some signs of acting in Welcome, has relapsed into her usual rigor mortis status in Race. In the Touch Me, Touch Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me song/dance scene, Katrina Kaif is at her unseductive best.

By God, to describe the contortions that Katrina Kaif does on screen as dancing is like saying Pervez Musharraf is a democratically elected President. Both are Big Lies. Zeenat Aman danced better on dope in Hare Krishna, Hare Ram.

Both Katrina Kaif and Bipasha Basu turn in such disgustingly pathetic performances that they would hands down win the joint crown in the Bollywood Kingdom of Misfits.

When protean ambition collides with limited abilities, the sad outcome for Bollywood fans is the ugly trinity of Bipasha Basu, Katrina Kaif and Sameera Reddy.

Bad Karma, Bad Karma.

If you are looking for breathtaking action scenes in Race, just fuggedaboutit. There ain’t none.

With their trite dialogs and bad acting, the duo of Anil Kapoor and Sameera Reddy turn what is supposed to be comical detour into a farcical disaster.

Like most clueless Bollywood directors, Abbas-Mustan try to take the easy way out in Race – of filming the movie in a foreign country (South Africa in this case) in illusory hopes of bamboozling the audience into believing there’s more substance than fluff in this 2hrs-40min ordeal.

Abbas-Mustan belong to the school of movie-making whose credo is that no senses (eyes, ears etc) of Bollywood fans must be left unassaulted. And so with their accomplice in crime Pritam (music director), they commence their ferocious assault on our ear-drums.

Horridly horrible music compounds the overall disappointment of Race. Not a single song left us on a high.

In Race, it’s hard to figure out which is the worst offender – the relentless assault on our aesthetic sensibilities, the merciless assault on the eardrums or the senseless assault on the eyeballs.

No surprise then that Race turns out to be a movie with all lows and no highs.

At the Regal Cinemas in Burlington (New Jersey), audience disinterest in Race was clearly evident in people frequently walking in and out of the movie hall.

Many summers ago, we watched a fine movie called Baazigar directed by Abbas-Mustan. But that must have been a different Abbas-Mustan because all that the bozo directors of Race manage to accomplish is a race to the bottom of the Bollywood cesspool.

Watch this stinker of a Race only if you have time and money to burn.

13 Responses to "Race Review – A Twisted Tale"

  1. Pingback: Race at Blogbharti

  2. ajayrocks   March 23, 2008 at 12:35 am

    i think one of the reason for your hatred of bollywood movies is that the critically well made movies does not release in usa like gandhi my father, dharm, black and white and many more whereas entertaining big budght movies release in usa which are not ctitically well made

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Most Bollywood movies are not entertaining contrary to what you say above.

  3. araj   March 23, 2008 at 3:14 am

    You guys keep on saying about extraordinary acting skills of Saif Ali Khan. But I find his acting to be very stylized and synthetic. I mean, is Saif Ali Khan able to feel the soul of the characters he plays, like, say, Om Puri or Irfan Khan? or is he just that ultimate showman who is well conversant with ‘technicalities’ of great acting hence can fake it better than others?(like the women who fake orgasms, you know). Well, for me, his acting on the screen or his behavior off it, do not bespeak of that quite intelligence, intuition and self-awareness which the exceptional actors are usually born with. I have a friend who hates Saif Ali Khan to the hilt and this friend is one of the most intelligent and intuitive minds I’d ever seen. Whenever I try to force him to clearly define his vague feeling of hatred for the actor, he would simply say ‘he is a fake’. Though, I laugh off his remark, I secretly find it difficult to disagree with my friend whenever I watch Saif Ali Khan on the screen. For one thing, besides everything else, the most common trait among all the extraordinary actors is their very high degree of likeability. In other words, I firmly believe that, not all likeable actors are great but almost all the great actors are likeable. That’s probably because of their capacity for suffering; their in-born ability to perceive the myriad dimensions of human soul; their intuitive understanding that human psyche is basically structure-less hence an amalgam of incongruous thoughts. Therefore, it is very difficult to dislike a great actor because,through his role, he tends to reflect collective subconscious fears and vulnerabilities of the audience a lot better than his less-gifted peers, though he may not be an intellectual enough to concretely define this instinctive comprehension of the character he plays. But I find this vital trait of likeability is mostly missing in Saif Ali Khan. I don’t know. Sometimes the appearances can be quite deceptive and I may be wrong or even biased.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    1. Om Puri, Irrfan Khan and Naseeruddin Shah sometimes play roles that others would be loath to touch or not offered to others at all for whatever reason. Saif Ali Khan is not in their league.
    2. To fake something well, one ought to be well acquainted with the technicalities or nuances of the craft/art. Even if Saif Ali Khan’s performance is “soulless” or he is a good “faker”, it does not detract from the joy of watching him make an effort unlike the Abhisheks and Priyankas who lack even a nodding acquaintance with the art of movies and treat it like a walk in the park.
    3. Is there a statistically significant correlation between onscreen and offscreen performance/behavior for actors or stars be it Saif Ali Khan, Vivien Leigh, Om Puri, Marlon Brando or Frank Sinatra? The Human Mind is infinitely complex and behavior a function of geography, time, chemistry (in the purely chemicals’ sense of balance and imbalance), socialization et al.
    4. Great actors are assailed with immense self-doubt and not easily satisfied. When director Elia Kazan showed Marlon Brando the complete film On the Waterfront, Brando is said to have walked off before the movie ended because he was so depressed with his performance.
    5. You say almost all the great actors are likeable. Do we ever think of Hollywood greats like Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, John Gielgud or Jack Nicholson as likeable figures? Or is likeability of great actors a cultural anomaly of the Oriental mind?

  4. ajayrocks   March 23, 2008 at 10:56 am

    I was talking about the masala movies and i feel that you don’t see or you are able to see the main crictically aclaimed movies of bollywood and you feel bollywood is bad.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Most “Masala” movies are plain awful.

  5. ajayrocks   March 23, 2008 at 10:58 am

    can you tell me wheather bollywood movies are more successfull in usa and uk or wheather hollywood movies are more successfull in india?

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We’d assume that since there are more Indians in USA than in U.K., Bollywood collections are higher in the States. We have no idea of how Hollywood movies fare in India. The sheer size of the Indian market and gradual encroachment of English into the hinterlands could eventually make Hollywood movies a big draw in India. But that depends on whether Brad Pitt and Angelina Jollie are willing to sing Hum Tum iku kamre…, by which we mean that Hollywood movies may need to be Indianized if they have to strike a chord beyond the urban middle class.

  6. ajayrocks   March 23, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    ok,so did you watch any of the other ajay movie

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Not yet. It’s in our Netflix Queue. We got Company but the DVD was broken.

  7. ajayrocks   March 26, 2008 at 5:49 am

    company is an excellent movie,watch out for ajay and vivek

  8. shades of grey   March 27, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    This film is incredibly silly. I don’t really remember much about Race as it barely has any redeeming qualities. But for some reason I can’t seem to forget Bipasha’s teeny tiny outfits and the memory of Akshay’s hairy chest unfortunately seems to be imprinted in my mind. I’m not that big a fan of Saif but acting wise he was superior to the rest. Akshaye disappointed me immensely. I really enjoyed his performances in Dil Chatha Hai and Gandhi My Father. There’s nothing to say about Anil Kapoor except he just really irritates me.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Race was pathetic. A waste of time and $$.

  9. ajayrocks   March 28, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    how can you say such thing anil is such an excellent and versatile actor,he is a legend

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Anil Kapoor – a legend? Hardly!

  10. ajayrocks   April 9, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    have You watch any of ajay’s films and what do you think of ‘u me aur hum’

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    As we have told you several times, we’ve watched several of Ajay’s films in the past including some recently on DVD.

    U Me Aur Hum is releasing this weekend in the U.S. We will be watching the Hollywood film The Notebook tonight to see if there are any similarities with U Me Aur Hum.

  11. araj   April 30, 2008 at 8:27 am

    Hi, this is my rather delayed response to your comments on my earlier post on March 23rd.

    1. Guys like Ompuri not only play roles that others wouldn’t touch, they also reject the roles others readily accept (this is actually one of the reasons why Saif Ali Khan could be a fake). The acute sensitivity of good actors prevents them from taking up certain roles which they consider to be not having any story to tell or primarily carved up to please the audience hence whose design is predominantly cartoonish. A perceptive mind, the one great actors usually possess, is either repulsed at the prospect of playing such swanky stereotypes or ill at ease playing them. On the other hand, a fake is usually marked by his greediness and unbridled ambition to take up any role that fetches him name or even money as his insensitivity makes him immune to the ‘spiritual stink’ that emanates from artistic deadness of caricatures which he accepts without any reservations.

    2. Naw. I don’t agree. The moment you realize something as a fake, your joy of celebrating its beauty is totally diminished, no matter how close its resemblance to the original is. In fact, you feel thoroughly cheated and hate that thing more than any ‘ordinary fake’ which is readily visible. Forgive me if I again take that ‘fake orgasm’ thing as example. Will your love-making experience would be as great as it has been once you knew your partner is pretending and that she is faking something you expect from her than acting out something she innately feels???

    3&4. There may not be an well-structured empirical correlation between onscreen and offscreen performance of an actor like you say. However, like an extraterrestrial object that is bound to share certain unearthly qualities of its peers despite its ultimate habitat in the infinite space, I believe, all great actors, share certain common above par perceptions and sensitivities that filter through their offscreen behaviors and public interviews. In other words, their commonality is usually marked by absence of generic insensitivity rather than presence of a bunch of well-defined traits or attitudes that distinctly stamp them as great actors(for ex, I cannot imagine Om Puri wooing an half-wit like Kareena Kapoor and getting a positive response). Though the refined perspicacity of genuine actors is differentiated by individual quirks and perspectives, they all tend to operate within a larger domain of precocious sensitivity. An intelligent actor is usually possessed by self-awareness of his mind so as to be overwhelmed by his reverence for life’s complexity to such a degree that the counterpart in Real Life instinctively becomes the reference of comparison for the role he is playing on the screen. This explains a bona fide actor’s intolerance for artificial roles that are neither rooted in reality nor a logical derivative of it and his vulnerability to self-doubt since your performance on the screen is never going to capture the soul of the corresponding real-life character in totality.

    5. When I said likeability I was not actually referring to the actual persona of the actor. Rather I was referring to the likeability of the actor’s performance on the screen. A fake tends to view his characters through the eyes of his audience hence he would normally choose a role he thinks out of ordinary or would impress the crowd. His standards of acting are externalized and it reeks of conscious calibration in terms of the uncommon costumes/mannerisms/mindset/psychology (for ex, many actors wrongly believe playing the role of a psycho, lunatic or a mentally retarded personality would make them instantly famous. In fact, in many cases, performance of such actors in such roles does get rave reviews by witless critics and they do become famous undeservingly). One fine example is Kamal Hassan, whose soulless and overwrought acting is often hailed as ‘great acting’ simply because he chooses roles that are unconventional either in terms of appearance or demeanor. Actors like Kamal Hassan fails to understand that great acting is not all about merely donning the shell of a character in order to sell what you think would please the crowd. But in case of great acting, however, this ‘shell’ usually becomes the natural extension of the thorough comprehension of the underlying psychological dynamics of the character rather than conscious enacting of attention-grabbing peculiarities or characteristics or ideals. On top of that, a great actor is also able to project vagueness, incompletion and complexity of human psyche as is found in real life effortlessly because he is usually hard-wired to the Reality and be able to draw his energies from the same. Hence, great acting naturally consists of two inevitable elements i.e. first, a verisimilar portrayal of a certain character by the screenwriter and second, a perceptive actor to discern the intricacies of such a role. Since great acting is not possible when either of these two elements missing, a culture with vibrant literary traditions is more likely to breed great actors and on the other hand, careers of great actors tend to be short or altogether suppressed in cultures that have no intellectual life. In case of the latter, what we usually find in place of great actors is ‘skillful’ impersonators who is smart enough to figure out the mere imagery of great acting thus able to enact a remarkably high degree of mimicry. The impersonator is usually the one who can take on a wider gamut of roles owing to a mindset that has no barriers of sensitivities, intellectual predilections that can restrict his choice. He can take on a role a psychically sensitive actor finds abhorring or a role he finds ‘special’ or reject a role that doesn’t have enough aesthetic or commercial pomp. If we scrutinize the acting careers of Sail Ali Khan or Amitabh Bachchan or Kamal Hassan, such lack of psychic forbiddance as found in authentic actors is very evident and they are strewn with heaps of insignificant kitschy roles with an occasional sparkle of impersonation of artistic acumen. Conversely, a great actor, with his ability to project a character as a complex alloy of unconnected emotional elements, is able to stir the subconscious of his audience despite his conscious willingness or unwillingness since he is watching a hazy reflection of reality than a performance that is a mere aesthetic scraps of kinesics stringed together to please him. Thus, a great actor’s performance is usually likeable if not ‘lovable’, for having a transparent personality, devoid of self-will and creative ambition, which can truly mirror the role he is playing as a part of the collective human psyche ( all actors can do this in flashes occasionally, though they are not exactly aware of what is happening ). Thus, great acting is more cathartic than aesthetic as it relieves the burden of reality that we suppress consciously/sub-consciously. It is difficult to hate such an onscreen personality which so readily dissolves into the soul of the character it assumes so as to be intensely suggestive of realness although it may make us restless as it often reminds us a facet of a truth we’ve subdued long back or been unaware of hitherto.

    P.S.: You mentioned Jack Nicholson in your great actors list. But I believe Jack Nicholson is a typical Hollywood stereotype, very similar to Amithab Bachchan of Bollywood. He doesn’t belong to the class of Robert De Niro or even Al Pacino.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    We have read your comment.

    We agree with you on Kamal Haasan – much overrated (reminds us of In the country of the blind…).

    But we think Jack Nicholson still has it and towers head and shoulders above the Amitabh Bachchans. Whether it’s Chinatown or some of his later movies like Departed, Something’s Gotta Give etc, he’s a pleasure to watch on the screen. but we wouldn’t put him in the class of Brando of On the Waterfront or Streetcar Named Desire.

    We didn’t think much of Saif Ali Khan (or for that matter any of the others) in Tashan.

  12. vjcool   November 4, 2009 at 7:22 am

    try ‘As good as it gets’ an overall good film.
    ‘A Clockwork orange’ neverseen anything like this before.
    ‘Dor’ a hindi film, a malayalam remake, really good.

    SearchIndia.com Responds:


    There’s only one reason to watch an Ayesha Takia film and that’s not for her non-existent acting talent. 😉

    We have a deja vu feeling with As Good As It Gets…dunno why. Anyways, since it’s on Netflix Instant Play we’ll watch it soon.

  13. rama dasa   July 10, 2011 at 10:03 am

    i thought I could come up with a better opening song than they did,except for”touch me” the songs were awfull,mabe it wasnt “rajiv” who was the alchoholic but the clown that came up with the opening credits/song

    SearchIndia.com Responds:

    Think of the so many Bollywood Races we’ve endured for y’all. 🙁

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