There's more to the 'Cuak' actor than meets the eye.
Occasionally, with a great role in hand, a good actor can elevate even a bad film beyond its possibilities. That's the story with Dilip Shankar's Married 2 America, where actor Ashok Samarth pulls off a surprise as a reformed dacoit with a heart of gold.
Last seen in Singham, as villain Prakash Raj's prime henchman, the actor stars here as Vishnu Mallah, a former dacoit who helps NRI Anjali Malhotra (Archana Joglekar) find her missing husband Ravi (Chetan Pandit) In Bihar's heartland. Ravi has been missing ever since he came down to investigate why a dam he built resulted in the flood deaths of hundreds. When he uncovers a major scam behind it all, involving the chief minister Bhairon Singh (Akhilendra Mishra), he is abducted by Pratap Singh (Jackie Shroff), another ex-dacoit. Though they're having problems in their marriage, Anjali comes down nonetheless to find her husband, and finds help in Vishnu and a taxi driver Raghu (Raghubir Yadav), inspire of the fact that both lost their entire families in the dam tragedy and blame Ravi for it.
Dilip Shankar's narrative is rather lacklustre, with him devoting almost the entire first half to depict the breakdown of Anjali and Ravi's marriage in America. Archana Joglekar hogs screen space as the moping housewife, while Chetan Pandit is unconvincing as the busy high-flying architect. The result is a set of extended song montages that show Archana walking around US suburbs, pointlessly.
The film only picks up when we get into the second half of the film, as Pratap and Vishnu enter the fray, and there's an actual sense of urgency as the search for Ravi begins. Jackie Shroff pulls in some of the Aaranya Kaandam magic he worked last year as the grey-shaded Pratap, though it's clearly Samarth who steals the show. As the rough-hewn Vishnu, Samarth is effortless and plays up the part convincingly, and with great swagger. One wonders if it isn't typecasting to say this, but such rustic, tough guy roles might just be a speciality for this moustachioed, macho actor.
Others, like Raghubir Yadav and Akhilendra Mishra are fair in supporting roles. The film's primary fault is that it relies entirely too much on Archana Joglekar as its leading lady, and industry veteran finds it hard to carry the burden in her comeback film.
The film's music and background score are quite irritating in the way they are used and there are more than a few points where you wish it would all just quiet down. The dialogues are another matter, where cuss words and abuses are thrown around casually all the time, and you wonder if it's bring done for realism or shock and giggle value.
Ultimately, it's just the play between Samarth and Shroff that makes Married 2 America worth a watch. Dilip Shankar has an interesting story to tell, with more than a few riveting points. But the director gets too liberal and loose with his narrative for his own good, and ends up pandering only to his lead actress Joglekar's presence. It's a pity, because with some better sense prevailing, one gets the feeling that Married 2 America could have been something truly interesting.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars