Film: “High Jack”; Director: Akarsh Khurana; Starring: Sumeet Vyas, Mantra Mugdh, Kumud Mishra; Rating: ***
The last time we saw a plane full of terrified people being hijacked by a bunch of terrorists in that wonderful and brave film “Neerja” we came away a bit shaken.
If we look at “High Jack” as a satire on airborne disaster films we could come close to the absolutely irreverent mood that the film adopts to everything in-flight. From an androgynous airhostess (Chaitanya Sharma) to a female pilot (Sonali Sehgal) who is asked by a pseudo-terrorist, ‘Do you know how to land a plane”’ — sexist innuendo not missed by the lady at the receiving end — “High Jack” spares nothing and no one. Eventually it becomes a casualty of its own carefully-cultivated irreverence.
Into its web of wackiness, falls a busload of characters so high on everything from hope to dope, you can’t but help wonder where all this is leading to. The chaos of mid-point crisis awaits. To begin with, the characters boarding this bumpy flight are introduced to us accompanied by waves of tongue-in-cheekiness.
I instantly took to the most sexually stimulated couple the Tanejas on board played by Kumud Mishra and Natasha Rastogi. This Taneja chap, played with brilliant vigour by Kumud Mishra, is a bit of a busybody. He has his fingers in everything. He is a lecher and a sexist, and most important of all he is a Pakistan hater who won’t allow his wife to have Lahori chicken. Taneja can’t stop heckling the self-styled celebrity cricketer on board (played by Priyanshu Painyuli) as a “gaddaar” who was caught match-fixing.
Eventually of course, like everything else, the couple too goes overboard. By the time Mrs. Taneja starts touching our hero Rakesh (Sumeet Vyas) inappropriately, everything on this freaked-out flight gets inappropriate.
Director Akarsh Khurana has zeroed in on a sound idea — the employees of a bankrupt airline hijacking a plane to teach their Mallya-inspired boss a lesson. If only the humour had been more sustained and the narrative less bumpy and bloated.
It all kind flattens out into a noisy mess towards the end. A kind of what-if-Neerja-had-no-script rudderless romp into air turbulence. But nonetheless it is fun while it lasts because some of the actors seem to have a blast. The others seem to have come along just for the fun. And we can’t help getting their point of view completely. “High Jack” is a fun for a while. Before it loses its plot.
By Subhash K. Jha