‘Naksha’ – Good in parts

The novel theme of ‘Naksha’ makes a strong case for watching this adventure thriller set in jungles, mountains and ravines. The movie will appeal to those who have a penchant for treasure-hunt stories.

The film is apparently inspired from Indiana Jones series that starred the handsome Harrison Ford in the eponymous role. While Dr. Jones searched for the lost ark or the Holy Grail, the heroes in ‘Naksha’ set forth on a quest to unravel an ancient secret that can make a man immortal.

The notable thing about ‘Naksha’ is that its director Sachin Bajaj, and the two writers (Milap Zaveri and Tushar Hiranandani), combine Indian mythology with adventure in a way that hasn’t been tried on the Indian screen before. The legend behind the mythical secret in the film goes back to the days of ancient India. While the treasure hunt keeps a viewer’s curiosity spurred (particularly in the second half), the gritty action and stunts pump up the adrenalin at regular intervals. In short, ‘Naksha’ works partly because of its refreshing theme. But it has its shortcomings too.

Sunny Deol and Vivek Oberoi play key roles in the film. Sameera Reddy joins the duo on their adventure quest, but her role seems more like a mandatory need to have a heroine to shake her booty and romance the hero. Nonetheless, the Reddy belle is seen doing some dangerous stunts in the film.

As the film’s title suggests, the story of ‘Naksha’ revolves around a map. A senior archeologist named Kapil Malhotra is hunted by goons that work for another archeologist (Jackie Shroff). The bad guys are after a map that holds the key to an ancient secret. Kapil Malhotra has that map. Faced with the inevitable, Malhotra chooses to die than to let the map fall in the wrong hands.

Years later, the son of the dead archeologist grows to be a happy-go-lucky prankster named Vicky (Vivek Oberoi). He is the doted one of his mother.

Twenty minutes or so into the film, Vicky accidentally discovers a copy of the map in the old house where his family used to live before his father’s death. This accidental discovery changes Vicky. Suddenly, he is possessed with a desire to find out the secret his father died protecting.

So, like any true-blue hero, Vicky packs his bags and sets forth on the quest. It doesn’t take long for him to fall into the trap of the bad guys who are still after the map.

With the young hero abducted by the villains, the story creates a picture-perfect opportunity to introduce the second hero – Sunny Deol.

Veer (Sunny) is Vicky’s stepbrother (their father had two wives). On a request by Vicky’s mother, Veer goes to his stepbrother’s rescue.

It goes without saying that Veer bashes the baddies and frees his brother. Thereafter, the two set forth on their mission. They are also joined by a beautiful girl named Riya (Sameer Reddy).

As the trio follows the route given on the map, they pass through dense forests, waterfalls, ravines and are also kidnapped by a tribe of midgets. Soon it turns out that they are not alone in this unusual quest.

Despite its novel theme, ‘Naksha’ turns out to be a mixed package that is good in parts only. No doubt the film is stylishly shot and has a glossy look, but it is replete with clichés that can be expected from any movie of adventure genre. Secondly, some of the special effects are not deftly created. They can be easily caught with the naked eye. Thirdly, the background music is overused at many places, particularly where just the ambient sounds could have created a stronger impact. And the erotic number looks forced into the narrative.

Vivek Oberoi is charming but he overacts in some sequences. Sunny Deol is his usual tough-as-steel and cool-as-a-cucumber self as he flexes his biceps, wields the shotguns, and bashes the bad guys to pulp. Sameera Reddy adds some glamour and oomph to the proceedings, while Jackie Shroff looks menacing enough.

To sum it up, ‘Naksha’ is no extraordinary piece of cinema. But it makes for an interesting watch if you have a taste for treasure-hunt stories and Sunny’s machismo.