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Film / Johnny Gaddaar

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Sin City, but set in Mumbai.
Johnny Gaddaar (Hindi: जॉनी गद्दार), (lit. Johnny the Traitor) is a 2007 Indian neo-noir thriller film written and directed by Sriram Raghavan.

A gang of five criminals in Mumbai - Seshadri (Dharmendra), Prakash (Vinay Pathak), Shardul (Zakir Hussain), Shiva (Dayanand Shetty), and Vikram (Neil Nitin Mukesh) - are approached to do a deal with a corrupt police officer in Bangalore. The take? Contraband worth a cool 5 crore (50 million) rupees, with only Rs. 2.5 crore in cash required to pay for it. The gang make a plan to get the deal done, and rejoice that this could set them up for life.

Vikram, however, has other problems. He is having an affair with Shardul's wife Mini (Rimi Sen), and wants to escape with her far from him - preferably abroad. As he is looking at the amounts both before and after each member gets their share, he starts to wonder:

What if he put a wrench in the plan, and took the whole share?

This film provides examples of:

  • A Father to His Men: Seshadri, the veteran smuggler and head of the gang, to the point that even Shardul, the Token Evil Teammate vows to avenge his death.
  • Born Lucky: Vikram, the "gaddaar". He makes multiple mistakes which reveal his actions to the members of his gang, but gets the drop on them each time through sheer luck. This is until the very end, when he is killed by the widow of one of his victims.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Mini writes the total profit (Rs. 25,000,000) that the gang are going to make with her lipstick on Vikram's mirror. When Vikram reminds her that it will be divided equally among all the members of the gang, she offhandedly tries to wipe off the '2', only managing to smudge it a bit. Vikram looking at the image seems to entice him to stealing the whole take.
  • Heads or Tails?: Subverted. Vikram tosses a coin, deciding he will proceed with his plan if it comes up heads. It comes up tails on three tosses. He proceeds anyway. In light of what happens, serves as either Screw Destiny or as Tempting Fate.
  • Karmic Twist Ending: Vikram, after having killed every other member of the gang, goes back to Prakash's house to retrieve the money, wearing Shardul's jacket to protect him from the rain. As he is about to get it, he is shot, and the killer is revealed to be Varsha, who mistook him for Shardul (because of the jacket) and believed she was avenging her husband...because Vikram convinced her that Shardul killed him. Ironically, she did in fact avenge him by killing his real killer.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: When Vikram has to register at a hotel, he enters his name as Johnny, seeing "Johnny Mera Naam" playing on the counter television. When the clerk asks for a last name, he says "Ji?" (I beg your pardon), which the clerk mistakes for "G" and enters as an initial. Counts as a sort of Title Drop.
  • The Lost Lenore: Seshadri's wife. He seems to play a recording of her singing often, and it's the last thing he hears as he dies.
  • MacGuffin: We never find out what contraband the gang was pooling money to buy, only that their code for it is "French furniture". The plot is driven by the theft of the pooled money.
  • Match Cut: As Vikram turns his back to the camera to have sex with Mini, the camera cuts to another naked back, on which Inspector Kalyan is extinguishing his cigarette to interrogate a mook where the "furniture" is.
  • Shout-Out: Several:
    • The film is an acknowledged homage to the films of Chetan Anand and the novels of James Hadley Chase. Vikram is seen reading Chase and comes up with the name Johnny G while watching Johnny Mera Naam, directed by Chetan Anand.
    • Multiple characters are seen watching Parwaana, which gives Vikram his idea. The similarity of his actions to those of the villain in Parwaana is even lampshaded by another character.
    • The red credits amidst black and white footage are a shout out to Sin City.
  • Sympathetic Adulterer: Vikram and Mini, at least initially. Shardul is implied to abuse her often enough that she is desperate for the two to escape - Vikram suggests to wait till the deal is done, when they will have enough money to leave for Canada to escape Shardul.