Film: Moh Maya Money
Cast: Neha Dhupia, Ranvir Shorey, Vidushi Mehra, Ashwath Bhat, Devendra Chowhan
Director: Munish Bharadwaj
Actor/Writer Munish Bharadwaj makes his directorial debut with this movie on a white collar crime that inadvertently goes awry. The movie begins with the death of Aman (Ranvir Shorey) a real estate agent (affiliated to a builder), who in his ravaging quest for wealth decides to undercut his employer in a deal that could net him crores as incentive. But for that he needs to seek the help of a criminally inclined loan shark. It’s a given that the employer is not going to be amused and the loan shark would be out to cut him dead once his ability to smart talk his way out of crisis situations is brought to a dead-halt. Of course, things are bond to go out of hand in such scenarios- and Aman ends up on a dead-end.
The story is kicked-off in two intersecting perspectives- one of the husband, Aman and the other, that of the wife, Executive producer at a News Channel, Divya (Neha Dhupia), beginning from 50 days prior to the accident that claims Aman’s life. The individualized flashbacks stops at 20 days before the incident and then it’s a combined set of memories—of the husband deceiving the wife and vice versa right up to the point of the fatality before reverting to the imperilled present where the chance of discovery gets heightened by the presence of a pregnant widow seeking justice on behalf of her husband who has been found missing under suspicious circumstances. The Police seem clueless either ways. Their presence in the film is merely symbolic.
Did anyone think ‘Savdhan India’ or ‘Crime Patrol?’ It does appear like this story was borrowed from one of those crime centred television dramas. The only thing distinctive here though is the unusual non-linear narrative technique on display. But for that and the spare, no-frills treatment, this would have been another regular crime caper gone sour. There’s no tension to keep you engrossed and neither is the pace ameliorating enough. You can admire the technique but the effect is uninvolving to say the least.
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That a stand-in corpse would be used to pull off the crime, was expected and justified to an extent, but to choose someone who doesn’t even resemble the mastermind is taking too much cinematic liberty in my estimate. Munish has claimed in an interview, that the idea of the story came from his observations about how ‘crime stares at you everyday in Newspapers.’ The rampant increase in criminal behaviour from the educated middle class is definitely a cause for concern but a film such as Munish’s doesn’t do much to encourage a discussion on that topic. It’s merely gimmicky and different in the assay- but not exactly a plus earner by any yardstick!