Much to everyone’s relief, ‘Crook’ thankfully stays away from turning into a serious affair like ‘My Name Is Khan’, which again dealt with burning issues of racial abuse. Moreover, the film refrains from being frivolous by turning its lead protagonist into a moral crusader.
Director Mohit Suri picks up a tale drawn straight from his own experience he had while in Australia, wonderfully depicting it through his characteristic passion and grit.
The story revolves around a young character played by Emraan Hashmi, whose life is not much defined on a set path. After facing hard times in India, he arrives in Australia for a better life. Here, he has his first brush with racism, as he comes in touch with a `desi` student (Neha Sharma) with whom he tries to build a relationship of convenience.
However, he stays away from the mess and doesn`t have any intention of getting involved into the proceedings. Things take an ugly turn as a battle rages between Neha`s brother (Arjan Bajwa), a self proclaimed protector of Indians in Australia and some local goons, hence leading to bloodshed. For Emraan, it`s a matter of making a decision – staying away or taking a stand to contribute help ease the tension.
This is where Mohit presents a new take on the issue. He depicts both of them - the Indian and the Australian - as equally racist and argues for introspection on both sides.
Also, what’s surprising is the fact that there is no Australia bashing here. In fact, the film asks Indians to first look into themselves; check their acts and hold on a little before drawing battle lines with Australians. It`s the subtle conveying of `let there be peace` rather than any slogan shouting which makes `Crook` totally different from what one could anticipate while entering the theatre.
Interspersed with some lighter moments and a couple of catchy songs, what one really pines for in ‘Crook’ is the unfolding of real drama. There are on and off moments that do fit into the scheme of the film`s narrative but then the actual story kick starts only in the second half.
There is a distinct Mahesh Bhatt touch to the narrative here as Emraan finally realises the gravity of the situation and doesn`t hold himself back any more.
No doubt, the film has its heart at the racial discrimination, but what really makes it commendable is the style of dealing with the menace in an impacting yet subtle way.
Rating: Three stars for this one