Having built a reputation as Bollywood's serial smoocher, Emraan Hashmi drops his sexy screen persona to take on a more sensitive guise in Awarapan. Although just how sensitive a gun-toting Indian gangster can be comes into question when he is asked to keep an eye on his boss's young mistress. Set in a Hong Kong cityscape, where Indian mafia loom large and ghosts of lost loves drift by, this dark romantic thriller helmed by Mohit Suri reveals a spiritual heart at its core.
Used to running a chain of hotels for Mafioso Mallik (Ashutosh Rana), Shivam (Hashmi) is a steely character, whose belief in God is long gone. But when he is ordered to check on the fidelity of Reema (Mrinalini Sharma), a young Pakistani woman his chief is keeping as a sex slave, Shivam's own loyalty and moral direction is questioned. Buried memories of his relationship with a Muslim girl (Shriya Saran) surface as he faces a dilemma - should he execute his boss's orders or her?
"AN ENGAGING, ALBEIT VIOLENT, DRAMA."
Displaying less schmaltz than usually found in Hindi movies, Suri manages to turn a gangster flick into a personal journey of redemption. By making Shivam an aimless drifter who is both strong and vulnerable enough to question his own faith, we are presented with an engaging, albeit violent, drama. Hashmi finally gets to prove he can act when given the scope, and is decent as a criminal struggling against his faithless past. While it's disappointing that more is not made of the issue of human trafficking, Awarapan is a bold effort, by a team of filmmakers who have pushed for it to be the first mainstream Bollywood film to be released in Pakistan after decades of prohibition.
In Hindi with English subtitles.
Awarapan is out in the UK on 29th June 2007.