Road

  • 2002
  • 2 HR 30 MIN
  • NR
  • Crime, Musical, Thriller

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...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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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 &#151 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 &#151 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)

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