The Money Trail

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CHURA LIYAA HAI TUMNE. Director: Sangeeth Sivan. Players: Zayed Khan, Esha Deol, Gulshan Grover, Vijay Raaz. English subtitles. DVD (WEG).

4ce362e29d21579067fb2a753c6f1e38-2Pleasant surprises sometimes arrive on unexpected disks: Chura Liya Hai Tumne is one such surprise. Showing some resemblance to Paraya Dhan, the 1972 hit starring Deol’s mother Hema Malini, CLHT provides enough twists and a snazzy outline to make it worth catching.

Tina (Deol), an Indian beauty, travels to Bangkok to meet a wealthy uncle she hasn’t seen in many years. On her arrival in Thailand, Tina learns quickly that her uncle has died mysteriously, leaving her as the sole heir to his considerable fortune. To further complicate her Thai vacation, a slew of baddies—headed by the devious Om (Grover) and his pyromaniac henchman Chingaar (Moonsoon Wedding’s Raaz)—want to do bad things to Tina to get to the fortune. The only problem is that Tina has no idea where the fortune is hidden. For help, she turns to Vijay (newcomer Khan), who may not be what he appears to be.

Deol, who is marvelous at playing clueless—both intentionally and unintentionally—melts into the role of a would-be heiress, hapless in the face of adversity. That’s not all bad since most of the goons chasing her are only slightly smarter. The only let-down is an average Himesh Reshammiya music score that pales in comparison to Reshammiya’s awesome Kya Dilne Kahan from 2002.

The debut Hindi entry for director Sivan, who usually makes films in Malayalam, CLHT has eye-catching graphics and colorful contours that nicely shape the sometimes-goofy story while WEG’s DVD manages a sharp print transfer and crisp 5.1 surround sound. Prepare for shallow escapism.

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