Ever had that experience where you sit down for a movie and it isn’t at all what you were expecting it to be? It is what happened to me with this 2008 Indian blockbuster “Race”. It follows the story of two brothers, Ranvir (Saif Ali Khan) and Rajiv (Akshaye Khanna) who work in the horse breeding and racing business. They love each other and are very close until the beautiful Sonia (Bipasha Basu) comes into their lives and turns everything upside down. Like an actual race-car, the story turns us in all kinds of directions; some of which you might see coming, but some may hit you like a sudden roadblock.
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I can’t say too much about the plot because I don’t want to give too much away. The thing with “Race” is that it might give the impression it is an Indian version of “The Fast and The Furious”; as it seems it was promoted like if you see the trailers. The problem is if you are expecting a movie like that you will probably be left disappointed. Apart from the final 30 minutes of this 2 and a half hour film, it has no action whatsoever. This took me by surprise, as I was expecting an adrenaline-filled rush from start to finish with epic stunts. The story decides to focus rather on the dealings of the two brothers and the romance with Sonia and all the twists and turns, (with lots of Bollywood style music videos), that comes with it.
Taking a look at the cast, Saif Ali Khan is a good leading man for a film like this. He plays Ranvir cool and collected. Opposite him is Akshaye Khanna as his brother, also delivering a fine performance. Bipasha Basu fits the role of the beautiful Sonia well and just like Khan’s character I found her playing it pretty cool and collected. The film also features the then-upcoming-and-now-major-star Katrina Kaif as Ranvir’s secretary. But the one who steals the show is Anil Kapoor (mostly known to Western audiences for his work on “Slumdog Millionaire”) as inspector RD. He clearly had a lot of fun portraying his role and he steals every scene he’s in. He brings humor to a film that is often a tad too melodramatic and takes itself a bit too seriously at times.
At its release in 2008, “Race” was a success at the box office and it was followed up by the even more successful “Race 2” in 2013. A third part will be released in June 2018, with Anil Kapoor returning once again as RD and starring Indian mega-star Salman Khan in the leading role.
I had a fun time watching this film. It wasn’t what I had expected it to be, to say the least, but it turned out to be an interesting watch. Don’t be fooled into thinking you are going to watch an action-orientated film, as it might leave you very disappointed. The action-packed final showdown tries to make up with its audience for the lack of action it might have been craving but makes you realize the film was more about its twist and turns that keep on hitting you in the face till the last minute. Still, it definitely wouldn’t have hurt if there had been a bit more action mixed throughout.