Back in early summer 2011, a few months before Brad, Halle and Scarlett came to town, Glasgow was hosting action packed filming for yet another production – Tezz. The city’s main role in the film is to act as double for London in some pretty impressive police chase scenes, although Glasgow is frequently mentioned as the plot concerns a bomb aboard a London to Glasgow train.
Tezz is an Indian produced movie and this recent viewing has in fact been Glasgow on Film’s first Bollywood experience. It was watched with a completely open mind – knowing that, despite comparisons to Hollywood’s Speed, this would be a very different experience to the western (as in hemisphere) movies I am used to. So the couple of impromptu musical sequences that pop up in the film were unusual for an action thriller, but not unsurprising or unappreciated, although some explanation as to why characters’ speech would switch from Hindi to English – sometimes mid-sentence – would be appreciated.
As mentioned above, the film is about the race against time to thwart the bombing of a Virgin train travelling from London to Glasgow (surprisingly Sir Richard Branson doesn’t make one of his movie cameos). One of the group responsible for the plot is fleeing from the police through London on motorbike, although this scene is made up mainly of footage shot in Birmingham and Glasgow – as a result there are some fantastic stunts in The Barras and a dramatic conclusion to the chase on West Campbell Street. For Glasgow to witness such movie action on its streets is a privilege, as is to welcome some of the biggest names in Bollywood, such as Ajay Devgn (as the bomber, Aakaash) and Anil Kapoor (who plays the police force’s top counter-terrorism officer, Arjun) – an actor who has found success in both Bollywood and Hollywood through the likes of Slumdog Millionaire and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.
But the positives for Glasgow, the stunts and the respect for another culture cannot conceal a glaring fault with Tezz – its plot. There is a flashback scene in which GoF actually thought Aakaash’s beloved wife had died after being pushed by a British police officer, and that this was therefore a motive for vengeance – but in fact she wasn’t dead and for the record he wasn’t under that impression. His motive for risking the lives of 500 people is quite simply revenge for… him being deported. Even more farcical is that his plight is romanticised – unlike with Dennis Hopper’s character in Speed, it feels here like the viewer is for some reason supposed to feel sorry for the guy that got chucked out of the country for being there illegally and then decided to hold the government to ransom, causing death and destruction along the way. So the deportation meant that Aakaash was separated from the love of his life – perhaps the reason she didn’t follow him (and thus negate the need for him to go to such extreme measures for a reunion) indicates that she was bored of his melodramatics.