THE HITCHER (1986) goes Bollywood in this musical thriller, which is at least for non-Indian viewers a fascinating mix of the familiar and the exotic. At two-and-a-half hours, the film is substantially shorter than the average big-screen Hindi musical, and it delivers up a generous serving of violence and sexual suggestion in a country where almost all films are suitable for the whole family, it earned an adults-only certificate though it's still tame by American standards. The many car chases are handsomely staged and the film's wide-open desert landscapes, bisected by an empty ribbon of road, are iconic territory for b-movie buffs. True, those lavish musical sequences which illustrate the characters' inner thoughts are still bizarrely foreign to Western viewers. But director Rajat Mukherjee and composer Sandesh Shandilya speak the international language of MTV, and the killer-on-the-road story is as comfortingly formulaic as a fairy tale. Modern young lovers Laxmi (Antara Mali) and Arvind (Vivek Oberoi) are in a quandary. They want to get married, but Laxmi's old-fashioned father, a police bigwig, refuses to give his consent. So they decide to elope and strike out across the desert in Arvind's SUV. Along the way, they pass an abandoned car, and a few miles later pick up the driver, who introduces himself as Babu (Manoj Bajpai). They soon regret playing good Samaritan: Babu is rude, belligerent, insinuating and more than a little obnoxious. When Arvind tries to throw him out of the car for making rude remarks about Laxmi, they learn just how big a mistake they've made: Babu pulls a gun and forces Laxmi to drive off, leaving Arvind to hitch a ride with a friendly truck driver (Makrand Deshpande) and try desperately to find the psycho who's abducted his girl. The plot is predictable, but the production numbers add spice — especially the steamy, 9½ WEEKS-style duet for Laxmi and Arvind, and the sequence in which Babu imagines that Laxmi has fallen in love with him — and Mali (who could teach Brittany Spears a thing or two about belly baring costumes) is a charismatic beauty. Producer Ram Gopal Varma had a big hit in early 2002 with a crime picture called COMPANY, which also starred Oberoi and Mali; he immediately followed it up with this genre thriller.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: NR
- Review: THE HITCHER (1986) goes Bollywood in this musical thriller, which is at least for non-Indian viewers a fascinating mix of the familiar and the exotic. At two-and-a-half hours, the film is substantially shorter than the average big-screen Hind… (more)