6d5b9e754ae2aabb2950dbc748be1cc3-1FIDA. Director: Ken Ghosh. Players: Fardeen Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor. Theatrical release.

If a struggling inner-city dude meets a ravishing beauty that plays hard-to-get, then surely a conspiracy must be under way. Taking a cue from this loose structure, Fida gains a foothold into an ambitious international chase. When the blood trail stops, what emerges is a tightly woven romantic thriller. Roping together a crime spree and a strange love triangle, Fida delivers a big bang for the buck.

When the afore-mentioned dude Jai (Shahid Kapoor) drops jaw-first for a ravishing beauty Neha (Kareena Kapoor), he soon gets entangled in what appears to be a murder-and-robbery conspiracy. Turning for help to Vikram (Khan), a well-connected and brawny man about town, leads only to further complication that sets into motion a lovely triangle where all three sides are not equal.

This may be Kareena Kapoor’s boldest career move since she cakewalked the existential streetwalker in Chameli. Beautiful and possibly deadly, her femme fatale character here is all the more fun to watch paired opposite her current real-life beau Shahid Kapoor. Khan, hailing from a jetsetting film pedigree that includes father Feroz Khan, uncle Sanjay Khan, and cousins Zayed Khan and, of course, Hrithik Roshan, looks comfy in his element. More playboys should be this easy on the eyes.

Newcomer Shahid Kapoor, who nailed Filmfare’s 2004 Best Newcomer Award after a noteworthy debut in Ishq Vishk—and who already has six films signed up—pumps first-rate adrenaline into a mature-for-his-years troubled teen fending off a framed murder rap. Agitated and determined, Shahid Kapoor’s role brings to mind a young Shahrukh Khan (think Deewana), easily making Fida Shahid Kapoor’s trial by fire.

—Aniruddh Chawda

Globe trekker, aesthete, photographer, ski bum, film buff, and commentator Aniruddh Chawda writes from Milwaukee.

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