Zakhm – Must Watch

We’ve always been of the view that Ajay Devgan is a mediocre actor.

And Zakhm (1998) does not change our view.

Still Zakhm is one of those exceptional, must-watch movies that casts a spell over viewers.

And the hero of Zakhm is not Ajay Devgan – though ostensibly he is listed as the main actor – but the solid story and screenplay, and intense performances by Kunal Khemu and Pooja Bhatt.

Directed by Mahesh Bhatt (Pooja Bhatt’s father) and starring Ajay Devgan, Pooja Bhatt and Kunal Khemu (as the younger version of Ajay Devgan) in key roles, Zakhm proves that with a powerful story and screenplay and a capable director at the helm Bollywood can put out fine films even with ordinary actors like Ajay Devgan.

Zakhm’s moving story focuses on that perennial Indian tinderbox – the social tensions between Hindus and Muslims.

While the Hindu-Muslim tensions in Zakhm are mostly addressed within the context of a single family, in the end communal violence in the larger society impacts this family.

Although Bollywood has addressed communal tensions in a gazillion films, Mahesh Bhatt still manages to turn Zakhm into an engaging film through a shrewd cocktail that combines Hindu-Muslim tensions, romance and politics.

Playing the younger Ajay Devgan, Kunal Khemu has delivered an amazing performance so rare in youngsters in Indian movies. Khemu was probably 14-years-old when Zakhm was made.

We saw Khemu again a few years back in Kalyug and the young lad has indeed blossomed into a fine actor. What a shame that we get to see talented actors like Khemu rarely in Bollywood while lesser talent are forever torturing us.

Pooja Bhatt renders a decent performance too in Zakhm though we wished she wouldn’t open her eyes so widely.

One of the jarring notes in Zakhm is the presence of Telugu film star Nagarjuna, who plays Pooja Bhatt’s spineless lover. This fella is plain awful. Total bereft of any acting talent, how Nagarjuna made it to this film is the mother of all mysteries.

As Bollywood torments us with trash like Drona and Kidnap, it’s easy to turn nostalgic for movies like Zakhm.

6 Responses to "Zakhm – Must Watch"

  1. StrYngLad74   October 12, 2008 at 12:58 am

    “how Nagarjuna made it to this film is the mother of all mysteries.”

    It helps when you are the Telugu movie thespian, Nageshwara Rao’s son. Responds:

    The only good thing about the graceless Nagarjuna is his graceful wife Amala.

  2. mindwithoutfear   October 12, 2008 at 2:13 am

    The film ‘Zakhm’ was really too good…

    Pooja Bhatt should never have come into acting…My Gawd!!! Her only film I liked was “tamanna” and that too coz of Paresh Rawal’s superb performance. Have you seen the film? Responds:

    No. Sounds interesting going by the Tamanna description on Wiki.

    Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t have it.

  3. shuaib68   October 12, 2008 at 4:23 am

    Sometime back Amala was in our dream girl list. I still love her looks of yester year.

    I cannot judge her acting skill as I’m confused with so much of over acting I happen to see in Tamil movies. So, I find it slightly difficult to distinguish from the good ones and the bad ones (the acting).

    I would suggest that SI should educate us in giving a list of good acting, the actor and the movie. So that we could get the many traces of good acting that missed our eye while enjoying the torments and the waterboarding carried out by the Kolly Masters.

    We cannot go on like this licking our wounds everytime after watching every kolly movie. There has to be some antidote hidden in those hazardous (to the mind) visuals. SI, Guide us please! Responds:

    Finding good Indian movies (whether Bollywood or Kollywood) is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack.

  4. ajayrocks   October 12, 2008 at 4:54 am

    watch ‘the legend of bhagat singh’ and ‘company’ if you can,they will surely change your view Responds:

    We’ve added both to our Netflix queue.

  5. shuaib68   October 12, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Thanks ajay!

  6. guruprasad.s   October 12, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Kunal Khemu is a very good actor indeed.
    Apart from Zakhm and Kalyug, watch Traffic Signal and Superstar for Kunal Khemu. I believe Traffic Signal is fairly original in concept, and Kunal is the soul of that movie. Even in a so-so movie like Superstar, Kunal Khemu puts in an above-average performance.

    Do watch the Madhur Bhandarkar (director) troika of Page-3, Corporate and Traffic Signal. This guy seems to have done some background work in each case and it shows. Responds:

    Will watch them all and review some of them for sure.

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