Sunday, July 31, 2011

REVIEW 66: BUBBLE GUM

Release date:
July 29, 2011
Director:
Sanjivan Lal
Cast:
Delzad Sanjay Hiwale, Sohail Lakhani, Tanvi Azmi, Sachin Khedekar, Apoorva Arora, Suraj Singh


What a darling film! Bubble Gum is about teenaged love and longing in 1980s Jamshedpur, about a brother coping with his elder sibling’s speech and hearing impairment, about well-meaning but blundering parents trying to get their sons to get along …  and it’s adorable! 


Vedant (Delzad Sanjay Hiwale) is a 14-year-old living in a middle class housing complex. He is in love with Jenny (Apoorva Arora), the pretty daughter of a local policeman. Jenny seems to reciprocate his feelings but the older boy Ratan works hard to drive a wedge between them with politicking that would make Machiavelli proud. This troubled phase of Vedant’s life is further disrupted by the arrival of his 16-year-old brother Vidur (Sohail Lakhani) who lives in a hostel, but is now home on a Holi break. The boys’ parents intend no harm but end up, as many parents do, neglecting Vedant while working hard to cater to Vidur’s special needs. Bubble Gum takes us through a couple of weeks in their lives during which Vedant’s resentment towards his brother gives way to teary-eyed pain when he returns to his hostel.

What a year it’s been for children’s films in Hindi. In spite of their flaws, almost all of them in 2011 have thrown up some incredible kiddie talent, whether it’s the heart-stoppingly good Taher Sutterwala and Chinmay Kambli in Sagar Ballary’s Kachha Limboo, the amazingly natural Partho from Amole Gupte’s Stanley ka Dabba, Chillar Party’s bachcha party and even ‘veteran’ Darsheel Safary who returned to us with the indifferent Disney offering Zokkomon. Happily for us, each of these lead players was also surrounded by a wonderful supporting cast of children. In Bubble Gum we get the remarkable Delzad Sanjay Hiwale and Sohail Lakhani who don’t seem to be acting at all, but look like someone put up cameras in their home and residential locality and said: “Okay, now pretend the camera is not there, just live out your lives.” A big round of applause please for casting director Honey Trehan, and for writer-director Sanjivan Lal who clearly has a magic touch with kids. Lakhani is deaf-mute in real life too, and the entire cast was put through a 15 day sign language workshop to help them with their performances and also to enable them to communicate with their co-star.


Mercifully, the grown-up characters in the film are as well-etched-out as the children. Vedant and Vidur’s parents (played with seemingly effortless ease by Tanvi Azmi and Sachin Khedekar) complement each other well. As you watch them, you can imagine that this couple will happily grow old together. The only jarring moment in Bubble Gum comes at a party when the children break into a really bad song that the film could have done well without. There are also certain technical aspects that should have been better handled. The lighting, for instance, seems ineffective in several places, which takes away some of the sheen from this otherwise utterly endearing film.

There’s something so gentle about Bubble Gum … no speeches, just a witness to reality. This is a world before cellphones and the Internet, when children connected on real playgrounds and not through SMS or virtual chatrooms, when too many essential items had to be ordered from the US, when even the most sincere adults would use the word “handicapped” with no malice whatsoever. With humour and sensitivity, Bubble Gum says so much about adolescence, disabilities, parenting and changing times without seeming to say much at all. This is a warm, compassionate, funny, true-to-life, poignant film.


CBFC Rating:                       U without cuts
Running time:                        115 Minutes
Language:                              Hindi

Photograph courtesy: http://www.bubblegumthefilm.com/

Rating (out of five): ***1/2

REVIEW 65: KHAP

Release date:
July 29, 2011
Director:
Ajai Sinha
Cast:
Uvika Choudhary, Sarrtaj Gill, Om Puri, Mohnish Bahl, Anooradha Patel, Manoj Pahwa, Govind Namdeo


Indifferent production values and an inconsistent tone can kill a film on even the gravest of issues. That’s the tragedy of Khap. The subject of honour killings presided over by extra-constitutional authorities is a burning issue in India today. Sadly, the film Khap is too tacky to be taken seriously.

Khap takes us to the village of Sajod where honour killings of young couples who marry within the same gotra (clan) or even the same grouping of hamlets are being passed off as suicides. The police help cover up the truth, the village leaders are confident that no politician will dare to take them on, but when the media sits up and takes notice, a human rights commission delegation is sent from Delhi to investigate. The fact-finding mission is headed by an honest official Madhur Chaudhary (Mohnish Behl). As it happens, Madhur is the son of Khap Panchayat chief Omkar Chaudhary (Om Puri), and had left the village 16 years earlier to get away from a father perpetuating such medieval practices. Not surprisingly, a point arrives in the story when Omkar’s granddaughter and her boyfriend (Uvika Choudhary and Sarrtaj Gill) are trapped in the Khap’s antediluvian world.

The basic outline of this story is nice enough, it’s the execution that is mediocre. The biggest problem is that the director does not seem to know how to maintain a mood once he’s built it up. And so, a young couple are almost run over by a tractor as a punishment for their refusal to annul their marriage when objections are raised to it … but a few scenes later they appear on screen in a bubbly and chirpy mood, as if nothing particularly traumatic occurred in their lives just a few hours earlier. A girl loses the father she adored … but joyously agrees to get married to her boyfriend just days after the tragic death in her family, takes off on cheery honeymoon, prances and dances around in scenes right through which she appears to have completely forgotten that her beloved dad was murdered. And at the only point where there is an effort to enhance the grim tone through song and dance, the result is almost laughable: two youngsters whose relationship is under threat, break into what appears to be some sort of profound reference to Sati, she in a flaming red outfit, fires burning all around.

I think I should have given up hope right at the start when the lead couple were shown engaged in an Internet chat – he reads out every word he types, we are then shown those same words flashing on her screen, she reads them out again, giggles, types out her own message and the cycle repeats itself. One note turns into an animated character that flies off the computer screen and travels all the way from one home to the other … yes, we the viewers are taken through THAT ENTIRE TRIP!

Clearly then, Khap is not a film that can be recommended for any artistic merit. Unfortunately, its intentions too are garbled. In an evident bid to appear balanced and unbiased, the film briefly introduces us to a person who has benefited from the good work done by Khap Panchayats. This said chappie (played by Alok Nath) lectures a bunch of students on how media sensationalism has ended up portraying Khaps as monsters which they are not, and who virtually justifies Khap-ordered honour killings with a speech on genetics and the harmful effects of marrying a cousin. No doubt a point about genes needed to be made, but there couldn’t have been a worse way of doing it.

The songs in Khap are strange, the dance moves are stranger, the characterisation (especially that of Omkar Chaudhary) is confused, the hero can barely act and even a veteran like Om Puri does little to bring alive the part of a man whose horrific misdeeds catch up with him when his own family is targeted by the very Khap Panchayat which he has been leading all these years. The film’s sound design is questionable – Madhur’s cellphone ringtone, Saare jahan se achchha, actually sounds like the background score every time it plays!

On the bright side, I must say that actors Mohnish Bahl and Anooradha Patel (playing his wife) are ageing gracefully; the story of the first murder sanctioned by the Khap Panchayat is reasonably well told; I admit there’s a twist in the plot halfway through the film that did move me; and the journey of Sukhi Ram (Manoj Pahwa) and Daulat Singh (Govind Namdeo) – two residents of Sajod who were ordered to slaughter their own children by the Panchayat – are better written and better acted than anything we see in the rest of the story. But all this is not enough to redeem a film that takes its subject so lightly that it’s almost disturbing … after a series of murders which you’d assume would have left the principle players distraught, the film ends on a bright and peppy song-and-dance number in which the director makes an appearance with the hero and heroine to comical effect. What an opportunity lost!

Rating (out of five): *

CBFC Rating:                       U/A without cuts
Running time:                        137 Minutes
Language:                              Hindi

Photograph courtesy: http://www.khapthefilm.com/

Saturday, July 23, 2011

REVIEW 64: SINGHAM

Release date:
July 22, 2011
Director:
Rohit Shetty
Cast:
Ajay Devgn, Prakash Raj, Kajal Aggarwal, Sonali Kulkarni, Sachin Khedekar


Early on in Singham, there is a point at which Bajirao Singham’s fists send a villain flying. As the hapless man’s body rotates in mid-air, Singham takes a leap, lunges towards that body spinning in slow motion, and steps over him on his way to the next bad guy. It’s at this point that you must decide whether you are in the mood for a no-holds-barred fantasy action thriller or you wish to leave the hall. Singham is not everyone’s cup of tea – there’s too much in it that defies logic, gravity and many other laws of physics. But if you enjoy at least the occasional hero whose superpowers are not derived from the wizarding world or the bite of a spider but simply from the fact that he’s the leading man in an Indian film, do stay on – you’re in for a zany ride.

Singham is the story of an honest policeman in a small village bordering Goa and Maharashtra. Bajirao Singham is loved by his people for the justice he metes out, relying more on the heart and human ties than legal procedures. This is a film about what happens when he crosses swords with the powerful criminal-politician Jaykanth Shikre.

Singham is a remake of the 2010 Tamil superhit of the same name. The Hindi version does not have the incredibly handsome Surya in the lead, but what it does have is the incredibly intense Ajay Devgn whose searing eyes have always been an interesting contrast to his unexpectedly shy smile. In this film, he comes to us more muscular than ever before – those arms are a tad too bulked up for my tastes, but boy oh boy, do I envy him his abs! Devgn is pitch perfect as the straight-talking, kind-hearted Singham who single-handedly beats up entire gangs of goons, yet is shy in love. Providing a fabulous villainous foil to Singham’s goodness is National Award-winning Tamil/Telugu/Malayalam actor Prakash Raj as Jaykanth Shikre, reprising his role from the original Tamil film. Prakash Raj ups the ante here, his arrogance and ruthlessness several notches higher than in his Tamil avatar. Of the supporting cast, I particularly enjoyed the actors playing Singham’s colleagues. Kaajal Aggarwal playing Singham’s girlfriend may not be the most charismatic star you will find, but she’s pretty and bubbly and sadly, the role demands nothing much of her beyond being the woman behind her man.

So Singham is a clever mix of action balanced out by emotion, romance and even a comic track. Bajirao Singham is Amitabh Bachchan of the 1970s but with muscles. He is Salman Khan of the past couple of years but with more acting muscle. He is Sunny Deol of Gadar but with less shouting. If Salman’s recent films have marked the return of the Angry Young Man to Bollywood, with Singham that short-tempered vigilante digs his heels in further. But unlike Wanted and Dabangg which were undisguised tributes to Salman, this film comes across as a gentle ode to the baap of them all, Bachchan. At one point, Singham is even mocked at his police station by a villain who dips his voice in an attempted baritone: “Ab yeh mat kehna ki jab tak kaha na jaaye chup chaap khade raho, yeh police station hai tumhare baap ka ghar nahin.”

The film is filled with such 1970s style dialoguebaazi. My favourites are Shikre’s “sab kuchh karne ka, lekin Jaykanth Shikre ka ego hurt nahin karne ka” and the one I know I’ll be quoting for years to come, Singham’s “Meri zaroorte kam hai, isliye mere zameer mein dum hai.” It’s a line that made me want to chuck up my notions of dignity and whistle during the press preview.

Despite the improbabilities inherent in this genre, make no mistake about this: Singham is masala with meaning. For me its lesson lies in the hero’s punchline: if your material needs are less, you’re less likely to feel the need to supplement your income through dishonest means, don’t you think? This is also an extremely intelligently crafted commercial entertainer designed to appeal to disparate audiences. When the hero seamlessly peppers his Hindi dialogues with Marathi, when he identifies himself as “Maratha Bajirao Singham” with a roar, I can just imagine the ferocity of the cheers in a movie hall in Maharashtra. As if Prakash Raj’s presence and the curiosity around the Hindi remake of a well-loved Tamil film is not enough to attract south Indian cinema buffs, there’s also an entire sequence with Tulu dialogues and a joke comparing a gigantic cut-out at election time to a “south superstar”. Singham also plays shamelessly to the gallery in an India disgusted and disillusioned with corruption. Which is why, I guess, despite my reservations about what seems like a justification of police atrocities in the film, I still couldn’t help but enjoy the leading man’s animal-like powers over his beastly bĂȘte noir.

The action choreography is brilliant, a sort of mid-path between Amitabh Bachchan and Rajinikanth. The title track and the background score are a thumping tribute to the film’s larger than life appeal, though the romantic numbers didn’t work for me and it felt odd to see Devgn lip syncing to vastly different playback voices in two songs. It also feels odd to hear the hero’s girlfriend addressing him by his surname – I guess that’s the extent of the film’s keenness to convey Bajirao’s leonine qualities to us.

For a change Singham is a legitimate, above-board remake. But considering that a huge percentage of the film is a carbon copy of the original Tamil (with direct translations of dialogues and exact duplications of fight scenes) I wish the credits had been shared with the original writers and action designer.

In creating a highly melodramatic vehicle for Surya, Tamil director Hari had shorn his film of the poignance that was so appealing in Kaakha Kaakha, an earlier highly memorable high-action cop saga featuring the actor and directed by Gautham Menon. Rohit Shetty’s version raises the drama several levels higher. On the downside then, Singham is formulaic and unrealistic. But its plus point is that it injects the formula with pulsating energy, making it a supremely entertaining watch. Congratulations Rohit Shetty! Prakash Raj has acted in a few Hindi films already, but I suspect that years from now we will look back at July 22, 2011, as the day when he well and truly arrived in Bollywood. Ajay Devgn has for years now been a major star but I suspect too that we will look back at this as the week when he finally became a Khan.

Rating (out of five): ***1/2

CBFC Rating:                       U/A
Running time:                        161 Minutes
Language:                              Hindi, Marathi and even some Tulu

    

Saturday, July 16, 2011

REVIEW 63: ZINDAGI NA MILEGI DOBARA

Release date:
July 15, 2011
Director:
Zoya Akhtar
Cast:
Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar, Abhay Deol, Katrina Kaif, Kalki Koechlin


Although significant portions of Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara feel like a Spain Tourism-sponsored documentary, I have to say I enjoyed the film. Put that down primarily to the easy camaraderie between the three male leads Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol. You can also attribute that to Akhtar’s sharp dialogue writing and the well-rounded characterisation by story/screenplay writers Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar, which gives each man an individual identity and personality while lending a crackling sense of humour to all three. And yes, do credit Zoya who is also the film’s director for mostly managing to keep a tight hold on the reins except for three episodes involving embarrassingly undisguised hosannas to Spain’s natural, cultural and touristy landmarks.

Arjun, Imran and Kabir are friends who go on a road trip in the run-up to Kabir’s wedding. Arjun (Hrithik) is a finance professional in London. Imran (Farhan) is an ad copywriter and a closet poet. And Kabir (Abhay) is involved in his family’s construction business. They throw each other various challenges while on the move in this movie, and along the way – as you would expect – they re-discover themselves, make new friends and renew their own long-standing friendship.

The locations the trio pass through are spectacular and cinematographer Carlos Catalan spares no effort in conveying their natural beauty to us. It’s to the credit of the director and the script that the locales don’t dwarf our three men friends at any point. To the list of directors who have managed to extract fine performances from him (Khalid Mohamed, Rakesh Roshan, Ashutosh Gowariker and Sanjay Gadhvi in that order), Hrithik Roshan should now add the name Zoya Akhtar. Hrithik was restrained and effective in a small role in Zoya’s debut film Luck By Chance (LBC). In Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) he hits the nail on the head as he is by turns angry, hurt, exasperated with Imran’s juvenility, in love with his career and in love with a woman. This is not the young boy a nation fell in love with in Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai. This is an older man, and I’m happy to report that age sits well on his handsome face and those well-muscled shoulders of which Zoya is kind enough to give us generous and repeated views. Abhay fits the part of the guileless Kabir. But the revelation in the film is Farhan who has come a long way from the deadpanning in Rock On, LBC and Karthik Calling Karthik (effective though it was for his debut film). After seeing him in ZNMD I can vouch for the fact that this guy is genuinely funny, people!

It’s a little odd though that a need was felt to have one of the characters specify that the three friends left college 10 years back. None of our leading men look just 30. That unnecessary detail notwithstanding, the three heroes are a delight to watch.

To answer the question foremost in many people’s minds – does this film suffer from a Dil Chahta Hai (DCH) hangover? – the answer is no, it doesn’t suffer and there is no hangover in the first place, unless you insist that every male bonding film with three guys is a DCH. The girls have smaller roles but both Katrina and Kalki are effective in their respective parts. I didn’t think I’d ever say this about Kat when I first saw her in Boom, but she too is growing as an actress. Besides, she’s so gorgeous that when you see her with Hrithik you can’t help but wonder: hoo  boy, how stunning will their kids be?!!

But if the lead actress objects to going the whole hog in bedroom scenes, perhaps it’s best to leave love making out of the picture. Katrina and Hrithik share a pleasant chemistry, though they don’t set the screen on fire the way Hrithik-Kareena and Hrithik-Ash have done in the past. And it doesn’t help that the director seems constrained when her camera follows them behind closed doors.

And now to my biggest grouse against ZNMD … A few years back, before liberalisation gave even middle-class Indians the budgets to be world travellers, before satellite TV channels brought the world into our drawing rooms, perhaps in those days we might have been fascinated by this film’s tourist-brochure-like scenes. Yes there is a beauty in seeing Arjun so moved by his first shot at deep-sea diving that he is reduced to tears. But seriously Zoya, Spain’s
La Tomatina festival (the Holi-like celebrations during which people throw tomatoes at each other) and bull baiting (where bulls are let loose on the streets to chase crowds of people) are not novel enough to be eye-popping any more. So why oh why, Zoya, would you take your sweet little film and slow it down repeatedly with these episodes instead of merely using these ‘sports’ as devices to aid the protagonists’ emotional journey?

The scene with the Spanish flamenco dancers, in which the three friends groove to the Senorita song, sung by the three actors themselves ... now that scene made sense. And although this is a boys’ movie, I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a leading male character in a Hindi movie expressing discomfort at his fiancee’s decision to give up her career to immerse her personality and her dreams in his life. Hmm … Bollywood is changing. No, ZNMD is not flawless, but it does gently dwell on some of life’s lessons and I had a good time watching it.

Rating (out of five): ***1/2
  
CBFC Rating:                       U/A
Running time:                        153 Minutes
Language:                              Hindi with English

Photograph courtesy: http://www.znmdthemovie.com/

Sunday, July 10, 2011

REVIEW 62: CYCLE KICK

Release date:
June 17, 2011
Director:
Shashi Sudigala
Cast:
K.P. Nishan Nanaiah, Sunny Hinduja, Girija Oak, Ishita Sharma, Dwij Yadav, Tom Alter


It’s tough to say what I have to say about Cycle Kick because there’s something so warm and likeable about the film’s young lead cast, especially the quietly attractive Malayalam film actor K.P. Nishan Nanaiah playing Ramu, an odd-jobs-man trying desperately to make a living to educate his little brother, and all the while dreaming of playing football. There’s also the lovely Girija Oak (who we saw just recently in Shor In The City), playing a smaller role as the bada saab’s sister who Ramu falls for. Besides, it’s nice to see a moneyed producer like Subhash Ghai – best known for his big-budget masala films as a director – supporting small ventures by rank newcomers, some from his own film institute, and ensuring that they get released. But having seen Whistling Woods International graduate Sunny Bhambhani’s Love Express and now Shashi Sudigala’s Cycle Kick, it’s time to point out that those good intentions are not an excuse for either bad quality or “inspired” film making.

Cycle Kick is clearly a take-off on Vittorio De Sica’s classic Bicycle Thieves, but despite the magnificent source of inspiration, it’s a sadly tepid product. The story of an impoverished father and son in 1940s Italy is here transposed on to Ramu and Deva, brothers living in a small coastal town in contemporary India. They don’t have parents, so Ramu as the much older sibling works to support them. He makes a living pasting film posters around town. Deva prays that his brother gets a bicycle some day so that he can get around faster, do more work in less time, and fulfill all their dreams. Then one day, Ramu finds a misshapen bicycle lying abandoned on a beach. He lovingly repairs it and life starts looking up.

That frail machine on two wheels becomes a metaphor for all their hopes and dreams. But then the cycle is stolen... Many scenes later, following tensions between the boys from the lowly government college where Ramu works and an upper class neighbouring institution, there is a climactic football match that is so dull, it feels like an anti-climax. Since director Shashi Sudigala seems open to drawing from already-released sources, I wish he’d just watched Lagaan, Iqbal, Chak De India or a couple of Hollywood classics with sports as their centre to at least rev up that final game.

To be fair to this film, it’s not a scene-for-scene or situation-for-situation lift of Bicycle Thieves (no, that distinction must go to big-shot film makers like Pooja Bhatt who virtually Xeroxed Dirty Dancing for Holiday, Priyadarshan who carbon copied Mississippi Burning for Aakrosh, and other senior names). But Cycle Kick is such a lukewarm film, so completely lacking in energy or direction, that it can’t even be considered a fitting tribute to Bicycle Thieves. Apart from the potential of the lead cast and the pretty locations, I can think of nothing that works in its favour. 

Rating (out of five): 1/2

CBFC Rating:                       U
Running time:                        85 Minutes
Language:                              Hindi

  

Saturday, July 9, 2011

REVIEW 61: MURDER 2

Release date:
July 8, 2011
Director:
Mohit Suri
Cast:
Emraan Hashmi, Prashant Narayanan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Sudhanshu Pandey

Murder 2 has nothing in common with Anurag Basu’s 2004 hit Murder barring Emraan Hashmi, the production house and the title. Mallika Sherawat is out, and in comes Jacqueline Fernandez. While that has translated into the heroine being an insubstantial presence in the film, what’s good is that the murderer in this case is a disturbing creature played by the inimitable Prashant Narayanan.
The film is placed in Goa where an unscrupulous ex-cop Arjun Bhagwat (Hashmi) is now a freelance investigator. When a pimp calls him in to solve a case of disappearing prostitutes, Arjun discovers that there’s a sinister force at play here that the police will not pursue.
Arjun’s scruffy look and unconventional lifestyle suit Emraan Hashmi’s personality. Jacqueline Fernandez as Priya, the model who is in love with him, is yet to develop much mobility in her facial muscles, but in this film her acting skills don’t matter much since her primary job is to look hot and boy oh boy, does she do that well!
But the scene-stealer in Murder 2 is Narayanan playing the film’s woman-hating, cross-dressing, mentally unhinged, amoral, brutal serial killer. The nice part of the characterisation is that the film makes no apologies for this vile human being, nor does it try to earn our sympathy for him with a moving back story. No, Dheeraj Pandey is pure, unadulterated evil. The man actually enjoys finding uncommon implements to hack his victims, and punish them for being what he believes all women are: temptresses. Full stop. Narayanan is a fine actor who appeared in the gangster flick Bhindi Bazaar Inc just last month as the conscienceless, foul-mouthed and ambitious street-kid-turned-don. Earlier in the year he was a mobster in Sudhir Mishra’s Yeh Saali Zindagi. In Murder 2 he gives Dheeraj Pandey an eerie edge, but I do wish Bollywood would give this versatile actor a shot at moving out of the bad guy slot.
Incidentally, Murder 2’s make-up artiste does an interesting job with Narayanan. But I wonder why we were given so many close-ups of the rash on Hashmi’s torso. Anyone heard of concealer? Or better lighting? Or camera work that camouflages flaws?
Since this is a Bhatt production, I don’t suppose there’s any point in mentioning that Murder 2 seems to have been “inspired” by the South Korean film The Chaser. But the negatives in Murder 2 go beyond the producers’ penchant for plagiarism. Arjun and Priya are shown making love in bed and elsewhere, but there is little chemistry between the actors (a contrast to the sparks that flew between Hashmi and Mallika Sherawat in Murder). Their ‘relationship’ seems to be confined to sex and since we discover little else about Priya beyond the fact that she has a stunning body, it’s hard to be moved by her love for Arjun or the fact that he ultimately falls in love with her. His bitterness towards God and the world too appears contrived because the story needed an ex-policeman who would cooperate with his former colleagues when they are being hemmed in by a powerful politician. The hurriedly given explanation for his perennial negativity feels like an afterthought.
With so much to criticise in this film, the surprise is that I still found it entertaining. Much of that has to do with the fact that Mohit Suri and his editor have kept the proceedings taut and pacy. The direction that can be faulted on certain fronts is remarkably deft elsewhere. There is one particularly well-executed moment of secularism woven in – unpreachy, unspoken and moving – when a Muslim prostitute seeks refuge from Dheeraj in a temple manned by a kind Hindu pandit. Equally well handled is this woman’s desperation and the frustrations of the film’s honest policemen that could have fallen prey to over-acting but do not. And a question raised by one of the call girls is particularly significant in a world debating the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case.

Surprisingly for a Bhatt venture, the songs in Murder 2 are not particularly inspiring. On occasion they are even too loud. But some of the background music is effective, as is the way the serial killer twists the lyrics of Murder’s Bheege hotth tere to suit his purpose.
Murder 2 is a cleverly handled erotic crime thriller with a villain so sneaky that he’s definitely worth your time.
Rating (out of five): ***
CBFC Rating:                       A without cuts
Running time:                        125 Minutes
Language:                              Hindi

Photograph courtesy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_2