by Ravina Rawal
For Bollywood, this is a year of never-ending stories.
Please wish many happy returns in 2013 to Race 2, Shootout at Wadala, Yamla Pagla Deewana 2, Once Upon A Time in Mumbai 2, Krrish 3, Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster Returns, Ragini MMS 2, Dhoom 3 and of course, this Valentine week’s mind-numbing masterpiece: Murder 3.
Directed by Vishesh Bhatt, this one’s an official adaptation of the 2011 Spanish thriller La Cara Oculta (The Hidden Face). Before we go any further, please observe a moment’s silence followed by thunderous applause for the Bhatt-clan’s giant step towards legitimacy: seeking actual permission to copy-paste a Hollywood film—instead of just, you know, ripping it off anyway and then vehemently denying any resemblance to any other movie, living or dead, when questioned about the film’s ‘inspiration’.
That and the absence of Emraan Hashmi are, unfortunately, about the only things Murder 3 can be given real credit for.
Vikram (Randeep Hooda) is a wildlife photographer in South Africa who gets some sort of irresistible opportunity in fashion photography back in good old Mumbai. His architect girlfriend Roshni (Aditi Rao Hydari) thinks about things long and hard for a whole two seconds before saying, “Screw it” and promptly moves to India with him.
There they get a massive house, tucked away from the madding crowds and noise of the city (because regular places like Andheri are horror stories all on their own, but for completely different reasons, mostly involving too many cars, and absolutely no naked women). One song later, we see a
bored heartbroken Vikram looping a video on his digital camera of Roshni saying to him that this relationship is not working for her and she must leave, for no apparent reason at all (yet). And just like that, she disappears.
She’s untraceable—no one’s heard from her, no one knows where she is and her cell phone is switched off. There begins a police inquiry following a complaint filed by Vikram, who immediately becomes the prime suspect in this whole thing.
This is all too much for him, and he decides to hit the bar. Hard. Because everybody knows that besides being a wonderful way to drown your sorrows, this is also how you score with the waitresses. Add several generous pegs of whisky to a broken man, and you also get a mini bar brawl. By the end of the night, he’s so drunk he can’t remember where he lives, but no matter—in a bizarre act of pity/kindness/stupidity, Nisha (Sara Loren) the hostess from the bar he was at, takes him—a complete stranger, mind—to her house, where he crashes on the couch.
Several seconds of an enhanced background score go by the next morning, and by the end of the day, Vikram and Nisha are in love (!) and getting down and (for a Bhatt production, only slightly) dirty in his bedroom. Who knew rebounds could be so intense? By what seems only like Day 2, Nisha seems to have moved in with Vikram already. She spends a lot of time in the master bathroom, and bathes an awful lot. We suppose that’s because bathrooms and bathtubs and showers lend themselves so easily to titillating shots of her bare limbs and that awkward eyes-closed-and-dreaming look in the shower. Still, don’t you have another hobby or that hostess job to get back to?
Then again, this bathroom is no ordinary bathroom. There’s something eerie about it—the trembling water, the strange sounds from the sink, the way everyone looks at the mirror… “100% bhoot hi hai” a convinced Nisha says to Vikram, trying very hard to seem petrified. And…that’s all we can tell you about the story without spoilers.
Murder 3 only picks up after the interval, with a radiant, wide-eyed and not half bad Hydari taking over. There’s also a pretty good twist conceptually in the second half, but it isn’t executed with enough tact or sincerity to make it a truly gripping story. Some very key scenes that should have made us want to pee with fear, or bite our nails, or at least cover our eyes, sent the audience into fits of hysterical laughter instead.
My gold stars are reserved for the extras in the film—keep an eye out for them, hanging out in the background—they’re a great source of unintentional amusement too. As for the rest of it: the dialogues are poor to begin with, so no matter how hard the actors try, they leave little or no impact. The beautiful Sara Loren is the least effective of the lot as far as acting prowess goes; though Randeep Hooda, on whom you can usually rely on to deliver an above-average performance, also falters a fair bit—maybe his new hair do (a wig, we’ve heard) was as distracting for him as for us? Aditi Rao Hydari starts out slightly self-conscious, but ends up being the only one of the cast earning any points.
Should you watch Murder 3 at all? Well, it’s slim pickings this week as far as B-town movie options go, so you decide.