In 1971, the television broadcasting company ABC assigned a task to a young film maker to shoot a road movie thriller within a time of 10 days and do the post production work within two weeks and release the movie on television. The debutant director took the risk and his courageous decision to make the movie on real locations with no studio effects gave that movie a classic status and that debutante film maker was none other than Steven Spielberg and the name of that movie was Duel. Why am I saying this here? Well the new film Overtake starring Vijay Babu is an absolutely pathetic rip off of this movie and it is one of those rare experience of watching an unintentional comedy unfolding in front of you.

Nandan who has a company in Bangalore has decided to leave that business by handling it over to his partner. So he has made his mind to go back to Kerala and he decided to make it a road trip with his wife and daughter. Nandan and wife are on their way to pick up their daughter and suddenly a truck decided to make the journey difficult for them. The deeds of the truck driver give them a really tough time on the road and the film is showing us how they escaped from this road rage.

Even without watching Duel, the chances of you finding mediocrity in this John Joseph cinema is pretty high. We Malayalies have this obsession to make every movie a story with a message and John who lifted the content from Duel tries to add such back stories to the truck driver. If he had watched Spielberg’s interviews about the movie, he would have realized how effective was that movie without any back story or even without knowing who the truck driver was. And by putting two people inside that car John proves how incapable he is to make the situation engaging without dialogues. If the paranoia of David Mann made us nervous in Duel, the mediocrity and absurd conversations and speculations made by the characters gives us migraine in Overtake.

In the beginning of the film there is a disclaimer that says “Theme inspired from few English movies”. In my opinion John should have said, “We just added some Masala and the rest is Duel”. The bizarre part is that they even created a truck that is a carbon copy of the truck we saw in Duel. And that truck on those roads is really a misfit. From the Sphadikam lorry to many other model trucks, we have our own share of beasty killing machines. This lack of novelty is the main reason why this movie looked bizarre to me. The execution of each scene is really bad. Ajayan Vincent has cranked cameras all over the place and the edits have no sense of continuity. Visual effects are tacky and there is a “tribute” to the famous kick in “road rash”. Even they tried to copy locations that were similar to Duel.

Poor Vijay Babu is acting without any interest. There is nothing much there for him to do other than turning the steering even when the car was going straight. On the other hand Parvatii Nair was overacting with all the enthusiasm. Ajay Nataraj, Krishna, Anjali Nair, Deepak Parambol and a few others in the cast were all delivering lines in the sloppiest way.

Audiences were laughing at the film for the whole time. If you guys haven’t seen Duel, do watch it from YouTube. It’s a real classic that depicts the paranoia a man faces in the least verbal way. And then search for the video that has Spielberg explaining how he made that film. And then watch Overtake to know what I went through.

Rating: 1/5 (For the driver of that truck)

Final Thoughts

Overtake starring Vijay Babu is an absolutely pathetic rip off of Duel and it is one of those rare experience of watching an unintentional comedy unfolding in front of you.


Green: Recommended Content

Orange: The In-Between Ones

Red: Not Recommended


By Aswin Bharadwaj

Founder and editor of Lensmen Reviews.


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