September 14, 2002 
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The road show
A look at the commonalities in Road and Daud

Sukanya Verma

Unlike Hollywood (Bonnie And Clyde, The Hitcher, Easy Rider, Breakdown, Joy Ride, Kalifornia, The Road Trip), road films do not enjoy much popularity in Indian cinema.

Apart from the stray Bombay To Goa (Amitabh Bachchan, Mehmood, Aruna Irani), and Ram Gopal Varma’s Daud (Sanjay Dutt, Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpai), there are hardly any road films worth mention. However, Rajat Mukherjee’s Road starring Manoj Bajpai, Vivek Oberoi and Antara Mali is all set to make a difference.

Mukherjee’s earlier venture Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya starring Urmila Matondkar, Fardeen Khan and Sonali Kulkarni was inspired from Adrian Lyne's Fatal Attraction. The film did reasonably well at the BO.
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His new film Road seems to be treading the same path as Daud. While Daud was about two swindlers on the run from a dangerous gang and cops, Road has a young couple eloping from their respective homes. En route, they are stalked by a psycho.

Ram Gopal Varma, who claimed to be on his own trip whilst directing Daud, has produced Road. The latter bears far too many resemblances with its predecessor to be ignored.

Consider: both films have the lead heroine showing off ample skin. If Urmila did a sultry Zahreela, Antara Mali bares all in Makhmali yeh badan. The makers seem to have tried to model Mali’s image along the same lines as Urmila. Urmila Matondkar and Sanjay Dutt in Daud

Besides being shot in New Zealand, both films have an unconventional title song sung by a pop star. While Usha Uthup and Remo Fernandes sang Daud, composed by A R Rahman in two separate versions, Road created by Sandesh Shandilya has Gary Lawyer doing the honours.

In Daud, Urmila, Dutt and Neeraj Vora danced to the beats of Shabba shabba (Sonu Nigam, Shweta Shetty). A similarly choreographed dance number has model Koena Mitra and dance director Ganesh Acharya grooving to Khullam khulla (Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan).

Another common aspect in both the films is Manoj Bajpai. He chases the couple in both the films.

Directors shaping their films according to the producer's image and demand is nothing new. Most directors working under the Yash Chopra banner end up cloning the legendary filmmaker's classics. Sanjay Gadhvi's Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai and Kunal Kohli's Mujhse Dosti Karoge were recycled Chopra movies.

Recently, there were rumours that Varma ghost-directed Road. How much truth is there to it can only be left to speculation.

Though what can be said is Daud was one of the biggest disasters of 1997. Hopefully, Road, which releases nationwide September 27 won't have the same fate.


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