Having scripted blockbuster films such as Dhoom and Dhoom2, Vijay Krishna Acharya's debut movie as a director was expected to be something special. But after all the hype, a special preview screening of Tashan last week left DEVANSH PATEL speechless - and not with awe

TASHAN appears to have it all - a Yash Raj Films production starring Akshay Kumar, Bollywood's lucky mascot, the ultra-slim Kareena Kapoor, the multi-talented Anil Kapoor and the fun-loving Saif Ali Khan.

After reading this, anybody and everybody would surely bank on Tashan being a hit. But, as the saying goes, do not judge a book by its cover.

Jimmy (Saif Ali Khan), a smart and a suave call centre executive, runs a part-time English class for new employees.

With such a good command of the language, every girl falls prey to his charms.

One rainy afternoon, the wet and wild Pooja Singh (Kareena Kapoor) walks into his call centre for help, and who else but Jimmy comes to the rescue.

Pooja wants Jimmy to teach English to her boss, Bhaiyaji (Anil Kapoor), who wants to learn the language before he meets some foreign delegates.

So, after a lot of hard work, Bhaiyaji learns how to speak Hinglish (a mix of Hindi and English). He even goes to the extent of comparing his fluency to that of George Bush.

In this whole process, what Jimmy doesn't know is that Bhaiyaji is a cold-blooded killer and Pooja works for him. One fine day, Pooja and

Jimmy elope and get their hands on £25million belonging to Bhaiyaji.

With the help of local goon Bachchan Pande (Akshay Kumar), based in Haridwar (a holy place in Uttarakhand, India), Bhaiyaji chases Pooja and Jimmy to get back his cash.

What confuses me is: who should I feel sorry for, after having seen what is already a contender for 2008's worst film? The writer-director Vijay Krishna Acharya? The producer Yash Raj Films? Or the entire cast?

The movie catchline reads: "The style, the good luck, the formula."

It seems like debutante director Vijay Krishna Acharya forgot to add all those three ingredients into his film and made a mockery of it.

Since the viewer never doubts the Bollywood heroes for a moment, the film struggles to generate any suspense.

The director fails to create a substantial script, and tries to entice the audience through visuals and the slim, bikini-clad Kareena Kapoor.

The movie takes too much time to introduce characters, who act like cartoons, and becomes sluggish at times. The first half is nothing but set up. The question I was asking myself after watching the first hour was: "Do I need popcorn or a paracetamol?"

The trailer of the movie gives the impression it's going to be an outof-this-world kind of a film, but the harsh truth is that, after scripting Dhoom and Dhoom2, Vijay Krishna Acharya should simply have called this one 'Doom'.

For a movie to be a hit with viewers, it needs to have a number of facets and something commendable. It does not necessarily have to be a film featuring glamorous girls and bicepped guys trying to flaunt their chiselled looks in the name of style alone.

In terms of acting, the less said the better. After doing some memorable roles in Namaste London, Heyy Babyy and Bhool Bhulaiyaa, Akshay Kumar disappoints greatly. He is a complete misfit in his Tashan role and his record of seven hits in a row ends with this film. Although he started as an action hero, he has created a name for himself in more substantial roles and would be advised to avoid returning to such films.

I don't know when Saif Ali Khan is going to understand that being a cool dude isn't enough to be an actor. His over-acting is quite visible on screen.

But the two surprises come in the form of Kareena Kapoor and Anil Kapoor (not related). Both are bearable for a change.

To add to the overall disappointment, the film also falls flat in departments such as editing, which is not refined, choreography, which is not at all impressive, music, which just does not hit the right chord, and the action, which is silliness personified.

Yash Raj Films' Tashan can now join the league of appalling films such as Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, Shakalaka Boom Boom and Cash.

I recommend spending your cash on something more worthwhile.

Rating: no stars