A gangster flick with a complement of dark, twisted characters and a plot burdened with an overload of twists, Dishkiyaoon is high on style but low on substance.
Guns are whipped out and brandished at regular intervals and the thugs wielding the weapons strut around with loads of attitude. But the swagger and the bluster are strictly superficial.
These guys shoot at will both from their revolvers and their lips, but they never seem to find the mark.
The two-hour-long film, written and directed by Sanamjit Singh Talwar, meanders from one listless scene to another without touching the right chords.
An ageing action star who has seen brighter days and an actor attempting yet another comeback pull Dishkiyaoon in different directions, but neither the earnest twosome nor the flimsy film riding on them gets anywhere.
Dishkiyaoon opens with the two brooding men playing snakes and ladders and discussing the vicissitudes of life.
The game gets off the board soon enough, and spills on to the mean streets of Mumbai and into the villain?s flashy den. It never, however, evolves into anything more than just that ? a game.
If all the principal characters in this film were to be described in a single line each, they might actually evoke a degree of interest. Unfortunately, they do not have more to them.
The hero, Vicky Kartoos (Harman Baweja), the neglected son of a wealthy dad, is mightily pissed off with life.
He nurses the ambition of becoming the most dreaded gangster in town so that he can settle scores with a god that, as we learn in due course, he has no faith in.
His friend and guide is a one-armed man named Lakwa (a bearded Sunny Deol) who spouts Haryanvi aphorisms to warn him of the dangers that lie ahead.
Vicky?s dad (Rajit Kapur in an insignificant cameo) gives him an ultimatum: ?mend your ways or change your father?.
The young man complies instantly, walks out on his dad and takes refuge under the wings of Mota Tony (Prashant Narayanan), a genial, God-fearing Mafioso.
The drama hinges on Vicky?s obsession with dislodging Iqbal Khaleefa (Sumeet Nijhawan) from the latter?s position of authority in the gang and on his constant run-ins with the don?s trigger-happy lieutenant Rocky Chu (Anand Tiwari).
Khaleefa is known for not keeping a gun on his person and relying wholly on his sharpshooter. Anybody with a bit of intelligence could bump him off without breaking into a sweat. But wouldn?t that be all too easy? So Vicky adopts the most convoluted of ways to get to his goal.
As he plots and plans his ascent, which includes getting into the toxic waste disposal business and braving a dusty drive through the ?desert of death between Afghanistan and Iran?, he also has the time to fall in love with singer Meera (Ayesha Khanna).
She, too, has a sob story that is about violently bickering parents, banishment to London, and love for music.
The hero?s pick-up line to the lady is as corny as they come: ?I can?t take my eyes off you?. To test him, Meera pushes Vicky over the ledge of a highrise terrace.
He plunges several levels into the swimming pool below, keeping his eyes on her all the way down. That is how low the film stoops to convey the depth of love between two unhappy souls.
A cat-and-mouse fight can be interesting only when the characters caught in the unfolding web are intriguing enough for the audience to really care about where they are coming from and where they are going.
In Dishkiyaoon, there isn?t a single figure that springs out of the too-clever-by-half but essentially vacuous screenplay and imprints himself on the mind.
This is Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra?s first production and they should have come out with all guns blazing. Sadly, the fireworks stop with the name of the film.