A reboot of the B.R. Chopra produced, Yash Chopra directed song-less original starring Rajesh Khanna, Nanda and Iftekhar in lead roles, this Abhay Chopra (grandson of B. R Chopra) directed debut effort is a gamey make-believe thriller minus the suspense and gravitas that so endeared the original. Of course, the original too had inspiration in the 1965 Hollywood film ‘Signpost to Murder’ – so that too wasn’t an original after all.
This film is sloppily directed and shabbily presented despite the big names (Shah Rukh Khan, Karan Johar) attached to its high profile #NoSpoilers promotions. Funnily enough, the in-film reference to ‘Gupt’s’ spoiler outage doesn’t quite inspire confidence in the film’s intended piece-de-resistance either.
A struggling novelist Vikram Sethi (Siddharth Malhotra) who has just come down from London, alongside his publisher wife Catherine (who has a congenital heart defect) for the promotions of his latest book finds himself caught up in a double murder investigation where he happens to be the prime suspect given that he was at both places at convenient times.
In stereotypical fashion the Mumbai police are presented as misfits bumbling about their duties, doing dumb-all (I guess filmmakers are still mining the Aarushi murder investigation) to mess up a murder investigation that supposedly looks air tight to begin with.
It’s only when chief murder investigator Dev Verma (Akshaye Khanna) arrives on the scene of the crime that we get prodded into believing otherwise. And then the narrative goes into overdrive manufacturing unviable reasons for the investigation to arrive at a conclusion within a unviable three day period. This contrivance was obviously meant to build pressure and tension but the levity that comes after, from the cops themselves, makes it all a wasted effort.
It’s quite ridiculous that police procedure is toyed with unmercifully and under trials are treated with shabby indifference to their rights. Culprits are never allowed to call their lawyer and after a point even they forget to employ that defence -conveniently enough.
I guess economics was involved in getting unknown faces to fill up the minor roles. Also, the lack of a viable budget could be summarised from the poor production values and unflattering camerawork. The actors fail to add crispness to their characters and Abhay’s narrative too is a little too loosely put together and too ploddy, to aid in building up tension or mystery. In fact, within the first 20 mins itself you tend to lose interest in this telling. The writing is pitifully devoid of savoir faire, the forced buffoonery appears distasteful and the lack of tension, totally unforgivable. This remake, meant to get the B R Chopra wing of the family out-of-the-woods financially is likely to dump them further under!