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Review: Chocolate is worth a bite

By Merril Diniz
September 16, 2005 14:30 IST
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A still from ChocolateThe story of Chocolate is set in modern-day London.

Anil Kapoor plays Krishna, a dapper criminal lawyer with a thriving practice. He is also hard-nosed and stone cold when it comes to winning a case (even if his client is on the wrong side of the law). He revels in the glory of every victory and indulges news-hungry reporters to perfection. The latest feather in his cap: he features on the cover of British men's magazine GQ (note, this accolade is vital to the plot).

Sushma Reddy plays Monsoon, a journalist with a newspaper called The Indian Tribune. She breaks a story about two non-resident Indians who are arrested for indulging in terrorist activities. She probes the two in the hope of churning out more grist for the mill, but, on seeing their plight, decides to help them instead.

Of two 'terrorists', Tanushree Dutta is a waitress/dancer and Irrfan Khan is an artist. Monsoon approaches her friend Krishna, who has a soft spot for her and vice versa, to defend the two and he reluctantly takes on the case.

During the course of his interrogations, a twisted tale of crime, lust, violence and betrayal, unfolds in flashback as Dutta's and Khan's characters share their story. The two are part of a coterie of five wannabe musicians, which includes Suniel Shetty, Emran Hashmi and Arshad Warsi. What brought them together is their love of music; the five have 'regular jobs' by day and perform gigs by night.

A still from ChocolateHow did they get embroiled in a sordid nexus of crime? What is the fate of the other three? What is 'chocolate' in the context of the film?

The plot thickens every time Krishna detects a kink in their stories -- which tend to get murkier by the minute.

Chocolate is a racy thriller, and it's not the action that lends the pace. It's the suspense that is killing and keeps you on edge, until the very end.

Irrfan Khan is convincing as a man caught in someone else's mess and Emraan and Arshad are very bankable. Anil Kapoor gets into the skin of the lawyer, but sometimes overdoes it while trying to lend a tinge of eccentricity to his character.

Tanushree Dutta, who has a sufficiently meaty role in the film, has the goods to carry off the role of a conniving sex goddess, but she could brush up on her acting skills. Watch out for the scene where she uncrosses her appendages, ala Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.

A still from ChocolateSushma Reddy's character is cutting-edge journalist, clumsy klutz, scatterbrain and sexy woman all rolled into one. But this eclectic combination falls short, possibly because Reddy fails to lend authenticity to the character. Suniel Shetty, whose role is pivotal to the plot, could have added much more value through his performance. Raj Zutki is quite real in his cameo as a hyperventilating drug-peddler.

The soundtrack is racy and complements the film's pace well.

English films buffs may experience a sense of déjà vu while watching the film. For one, the format of the plot unfolds through snippets of conversation between two parties – this may ring a bell. Ditto for the courtroom drama and the verdict that follows. The look and feel of the film also seem 'inspired'. Figure out the analogies for yourselves.

In the meantime, enjoy the ride and relish the climax, or rather, the anticlimax.

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Merril Diniz