This Govinda/Karisma film takes you by surprise – devoid of the usual humour, vulgar jhatka matkas, nonsensical storylines and above all David Dhawan.

SHIKARI is an interesting mix of romance and suspense, and exploits Govinda’s talent like never before. The story begins with his character, Om being chased by the police. He manages to evade them and escapes for South Africa where he establishes himself as a wealthy businessman. Where he gets the money from is anyone’s guess…but then this is a Hindi film!

Living under an alias, Om is determined to topple the empire of the richest man in the country, Vijendra Singh (Nirmal Pandey), who runs a monopoly over the spice making industry. Vijendra is married to the beautiful Suman (Tabu) and has a glamorous sister, Rajeshwari (Karisma Kapoor), who he is extremely possessive about.

The battle between the two tycoons sets the drama for the story, and Om’s simultaneous romance with Rajeshwari adds flavour to the battle. Suman’s character isn’t wasted either; her character is pivotal to the story as her mysterious past affects everyone.

What’s the music like …

No Govinda/Karisma film is complete without a few racy dance tracks showcasing their (in)famous aerobic moves – and Shikari doesn’t fail to deliver. With beat filled, hip swinging numbers like Chunri Ude To Aankh Phadke, Shikari Ne Shikar Kiya and Chalee Chalee Ri Gori, Govinda, Karisma and Tabu dance like never before. Bahut Khubsoorat Ghazal is by far the most romantic song here and will leave a lump in your throat. Exceptionally well emoted by Govinda and sung in the delightfully throaty voice of Kumar Sanu, it is a song you will listen to again and again. The lyrics, penned by one of Bollywood’s most well known lyricists, make you want to fall in love.

The rest of the songs may not be exceptional but are definitely worth a listen. With some of Bollywood’s best lending their voices (Sonu Nigam, Jaspinder Narula, Kumar Sanu, Anuradha Paudwal and Abhijeet) to Aadesh Srivatava’s music, Shikari has become a moderately successful album.

The one feature that makes the soundtrack stand out is the colourful picturisation of each song. Glamorous Karisma sizzles in her figure hugging outfits, while Tabu looks gorgeous in her (typically) classy understated way and Govinda, the man of many colors, lights the screen up with his usual aplomb.

The Tezaab director, N. Chandra, has not lost the surety of touch and subtlety that he is renowned for. Shikari, with its fast moving screenplay is a well thought out story, with all the necessary ingredients of action, romance and suspense.

Govinda is perhaps the best surprise in the film, with Chandra bringing a side out of the dancing hero never before seen. For once, there is no over acting and use of vulgar humor. Karisma, although glamorous as usual, gives a commendable performance and Tabu, with her exceptional histrionics, remains any director’s delight. Shikari is a class act.

Shot in the breathtaking locales of South Africa, Shikari’s audience are given a respite from the usual fare of Swiss Alps every Hindi film seems to include. Shikari is like a breath of fresh air as it takes you from the exotic wilds to the sparkling water sides of South Africa. In keeping with the fast paced script, the visuals are equally quick and well presented.

A welcome departure from the usual Govinda/Karisma style of filmmaking that you’d expect from David Dhawan’s direction, N. Chandra has brought out the best in this pairing to date. A product of pure class, Shikari is a film you want to add to your video library.

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