Saturday, July 9, 2011


Release date:
July 8, 2011
Mohit Suri
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:    

1 comment:

  1. "brain mein tumor....badaaa tumor!!!" breaking the cliches of conventional villain we have ever seen... Underlining your review, Murder2=Prasant Narayanan!! Imran & Jacqueline were sidelined and overruled by Prasant who essayed Dheeraj Pandey. Songs proved to be a disaster on the day of its music launch. Nirmala's influence on politicians which made Dheeraj out of the jail, Dheeraj's transformation to a serial killer which was unknown to his parents... remained as mystery in this film. It was shown that Nirmala had monopoly over the cops whereas Pandey had barely no influence on them. Still the cops failed to catch him and above all turned mute spectators when Pandey killed the trio in the temple premises!!! They woke up and came to seize him only after Pnadey succumbed to the hero!!! Chalo...apne hero ko bhi kuch kaam hona chahiyee naa!!! I think that might be the reason. Anyway there was nothing interesting in the film except the antagonist. Some of the dirty minded pigs (Oh no! not me..) who expected more from the second part than the prequel left out the cinema halls with a disappointment....