Blank movie review: Karan Kapadia is impressive, Sunny Deol tired in a moderately enjoyable thriller
Blank starts on a promising note. The opening scene is both symbolic and engaging. It immediately draws you into the urgency of the situation, which director Behzad Khambata manages to maintain throughout the film. But by the time the close-to-two-hour-long film ends, the urgency gives way to convolution. The suspense that served as the backbone of the film in the opening minutes gets overcooked by the time the film nears its conclusion.
Haneef (Karan Kapadia) is taken to a hospital after a road accident. The doctor calls the police after he discovers a bomb connected to Haneef's chest. After investigation, Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief SS Dewan (Sunny Deol) suspects that Haneef is a suicide bomber and part of a larger network conspiring a terror attack. However, courtesy a massive concussion, Haneef loses his memory temporarily and thus, is unable to divulge any more details to Dewan during interrogation. But Dewan does not trust him and is convinced that Haneef is trained to fool the system.
The film starts with Haneef in the center of a barren, cracked land. Yards away, the police has aimed a sniper rifle at him, ready to shoot him as he struggles to escape the handcuffs and tied feet. The land is a symbol of his mind, which is 'blank' after the memory loss. The frustration is also out of the helplessness to escape his barren mental state than just the fear of his impending death. While the concept by Pradeep Atluri is convincing and had ample scope, the screenplay never utilises its full potential. Instead, the script just goes about like a rolling stone, taking every piece of moss (brainwashing of children by Islamic terrorist groups, 2002 Gujarat riots, and the arrest of Dewan's son in a drug possession case) along the way. The brainwashing element could have stoked up the interest but unfortunately, it is only flirted with.
Karan Kapadia brings a lot of freshness and ruggedness to his role. He is immensely convincing in the role of a disoriented alleged suicide bomber but is presented in uni-dimensional fashion. The makers, rather than smartly dealing with his mental state, tilt it to one side, making the eventual revelation rather obvious. Despite the lack of strategy in graphing his character, he proves to be an immensely watchable leading man, because of his unconventional intensity and the organic ability to pull off action sequences. Sunny Deol is at his best in the quieter scenes. However, since he plays an ATS chief — and to a large extent, himself — he does not get too many opportunities to be quiet. The Sunny Deol in him often gets the better of his character. There is also Ishita Dutta as Husna, another police officer in the ATS. She gets a couple of scenes and a hand combat sequence to shine, and does not disappoint.
Akshay Kumar shares screen space with his brother-in-law Karan (son of late actress-costume designer Simple Kapadia) in a special song 'Ali Ali' right before the end credits start rolling. He brings great superstar energy to the wacky track, where Karan flaunts his quirky, in-your-face dancing style. Besides this promotional song, music does not play a key role in Blank, except 'Warning Nahi Dunga', an average war cry song involving Sunny and his force.
Along with the director and lead actor, cinematographer R Dee also makes his debut in Blank. His work is commendable for a beginner, particularly in a single-take obstacle course-like sequence (involving Karan) at the start and a Zero Dark Thirty-like (apologies for the exaggeration) sequence, involving Sunny, in the end. Editor Sanjay Sharma ensures the pace at which the narrative advances is crisp, resulting in the thriller clocking in at a mere 1 hour and 51 minutes. Rajinder Sharma's production design doesn't stick out and Vikram Dahiya's action choreography shines in Karan's hand-combat sequences more than the incessant shootouts. However, the costumes, hair and make-up reflect below average production value, most noticeably in the case of the beard of the antagonist that always seems to be on the verge of falling off.
Blank is a hit-and-miss. It is a great debut for Karan Kapadia though, who despite the presence of a seasoned actor in Sunny Deol, stands out as the star of the film.
Rating: 2.25 stars
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Updated Date: May 03, 2019 17:50:48 IST