AA DEKHEN ZARA ("Come, Let's See") runs just under two hours although, sorry to say, it feels more like three hours, the normal length of a Bollywood flick. Neil Nitin Mukesh and Bipasha Basu star in this thing and if you're at all familiar with Bollywood, then you right away realize that these two ain't exactly A-listers. AA DEKHEN ZARA is a thriller with a paranormal element and I was pretty intrigued going into this one. What a waste of anticipation.
Here's the plot: Ray Acharya is a down-and-out freelance photographer who inherits his dead grandfather's mysterious camera. It doesn't take too long for Ray to realize that the camera has the ability to take pictures of the future and Ray, a step away from being out on the street, is quick to see the possibilities. But somewhere along the way, his raking in the almighty rupee just about costs him his girlfriend. Not that it matters that much, anyway, because the film doesn't really develop their romance and there's simply no sizzle between the two leads. I blame Bipasha Basu more for this, because she's always been a stiff actress. Newcomer Neil Nitin Mukesh is someone whom I haven't seen before, although, apparently, his debut made an impression in JOHNNY GADDAR. Mukesh isn't at all bad in this one and he does have this earnest quality about him. But I'm not sure you'll care for his character all that much. Ray Acharya goes into avaricious jerkmode really quickly.
The film tries to instill a sense of immediacy by featuring a date stamp device which counts down to the big finale, but it's an empty set-up with a hollow follow-through. What really kills the movie is the dragging nature of the story. It starts off really slick and you do get into it, but then the screenplay tanks it; the film's second half really falls flat and you start to see every twist coming (the ominous blank photo is fairly easy to figure out). Anyway, with Ray gambling so often and winning so many wagers, it does make sense that certain characters soon set their eyes on him. An enigmatic femme fatale is soon chatting him up. And then the government. A menacing figure calling himself "the Captain" is soon hassling our guy, and things quickly turn very dangerous.
Except that, under the plodding constraints of this film, there's never really a consistent sense of excitement. The only time things became nail-biting was when I started grooming myself. Even a change of venue from India to Thailand fails to infuse energy. Also, I wish whoever wrote the thing had played around more with the story's paranormal concept. I can't help but feel they could've done more with this most unusual camera. Speaking of which, if you're looking for a better executed version of this sci-fi premise, then check out the episode titled "A Most Unusual Camera" from the original Twilight Zone series.
AA DEKHEN ZARA offers the most obvious cue yet for a musical number when one thug in a Bangkok bar menacingly asks our two leads: "Can you dance?" This being a Bollywood film, well... duh. It's a shame that the film doesn't do justice to the musical sequences, which aren't bad at all (I liked "Rock the Party" & "Mohabbat Aapse"). And, in the "This is so stupid it's kind of funny" department, there's one scene in which an armed robber bursts into a liquor store, demands money from the teller but then instantly shoots him dead. That's pretty much the kind of movie you're dealing with.
Bonus stuff on this DVD include the Making Of the Film featurette (the cast & crew interviews are conducted in English); a song selection option; the music video of the title song "Aa Dekhen Zara"; remixes of the songs "Aa Dekhen Zara" & "Gazab"; and the promotional musical launch of AA DEKHEN ZARA, in which Rising Band performs songs from the film, with Bipasha and Neil grooving in the back.