- BOTTOM LINE: An Unintentionally Comic Heist Thriller
|Platform: Netflix||Genre: Drama|
What Is the Story About?
Tara is the uncrowned princess of the street racing community in the country’s capital. Her ease on the wheels is adequately matched by her shrewdness while dealing with people. Her friends Naina and Bikki are by her side, come what may. But, beneath their street racing interests lie a can of secrets. A notorious thief Samar enters their world to assist them for a heist plot planned at Rashtrapati Bhavan, whose secret chamber reportedly houses about Rs 900 crores of black money. Vibha Singh, Director of Monetary Restrictions Authority, her subordinate Hamid, in collaboration with Irfan, an officer from the PM’s team put their best foot forward to dent Taran and co’s plan. But, who’s outsmarting whom here?
There’s little that actors can do to salvage a film like Drive, but a few manage to shine. Vibha Chibber as the government officer is a woot with her comic timing and her camaraderie with Pankaj Tripathi is a delight to watch. Tripathi is in his element in a role that has an interesting mix of grey shades and underplayed comic timing. Boman Irani brings authority to his conniving, mysterious part.
Sushant Singh Rajput is sincere, yes, but his characterisation needed more meat. It’s hard to understand how he fell for a plot like Drive, even if it came from the likes of Karan Johar? Jacqueline Fernandes’s fashion sense, dancing skills are a dream, however, her acting chops, not so much. She tries to act ‘cooler’ than the role she’s given and ends up only dumbing down her part. The less said about Vikramjeet Virk and Sapna Pabbi, the better.
Drive could easily go down as the worst-ever product to have ever come out of Dharma Productions’ repertoire. A few years before the dawn of streaming platforms, Drive wouldn’t have probably even seen the light of the day. The director of the successful Dostana, Tarun Mansukhani couldn’t have planned a worse follow-up to his debut, a heist thriller that turns out to be unintentionally humourous. It’s a film so bereft of nuance and intelligence, a.l.a a glorified home video shot with a bunch of kids in mind as a target audience. Drive feels like a humanised video game where Roadrash meets Treasure Hunt minus the thrills.
Everything about Drive is so bland and unimaginative. There’s no conviction at all. It’s hard to take things seriously when the film begins with lines like ‘I can’t choose what’s sexier between you and your driving’. The film, despite being an escapist fare, takes commercial liberty a tad too far by making a mockery of bureaucratic security within the country. The storyteller goes to the extent of weaving a heist plot around the Rashtrapati Bhavan (which is reportedly a haven for black money launderers?). The entry of conmen into the place feels like a walk in the park. A woman woos a government officer with a laddoo to get her permissions cleared.
There’s no seriousness in the racing or the heist backdrop. The racers talk of hour-glass figures, money over automobiles. A burglary at a jewellery store escapes the attention of the cops. Tara has a sob-story of a flashback to justify her money-making intent. The proceedings are so easy on the eye and ‘mechanised’ that you wouldn’t want to invest in the characters or the insipid plot. The makers are caught somewhere between staging this as heist comedy and a heist thriller. Though the seed idea of the film is impressive, the scale at which it is mounted is a shocker, a major disappointment given the involvement of Dharma Productions, known for its larger-than-life narratives.
Had the makers not opted for the street racing milieu and paid more attention to the subplot of the ransom demanded by government officers to give fraud businessmen a clean chit, Drive wouldn’t have suffered a shipwreck. The CG portions towards the climax are a disaster and so is the supposed-twist, that is a major contender to win ‘the yawn of the year’ award. The placement of the songs, the performances, the execution of Drive are a towering disappointment, even going by the modest expectations set after the trailer release. This Drive may not let you survive!
Music and Other Departments?
The music in the film is merely a filler portion utilised to extend the timeline of the film to 2 hours. The poor placement of the songs makes us ignore any musical appeal that the songs have. Even otherwise, songs like Makhna, Prem Pujari and Karma are mere products of the auto-tune era, where neither the lyrics nor the music makes any sense whatsoever.
The background ranks worse – full of pointlessly written Hinglish raps to lend it a westernised appeal with a repeated voiceover that sounds something like ‘Tu Jaanta Nahi Hai Ki Tera Baap Kaun Hai’. The team behind the CG/VFX portions of the film appear to have got the budget of a short film instead of a feature film – that could be the only reason behind something as atrocious as the film’s climax. It’s hard to choose what’s worse – the writing or the direction. The editor, well, will have my sympathies for having to go through an ordeal like this.
A partially interesting seed-idea
Zero conviction in the storytelling
Vague character arcs, backdrops and uninspiring performances
Drive Review by Srivathsan Nadadhur
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