Vodka Diaries movie review: Kay Kay Menon throws in all he's got into this weary film, but to no avail
The seasoned Kay Kay Menon throws in all he’s got, in Vodka Diaries, but even his handlebar moustache looks weary by the end of this sobering slog.
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the title of this psychological thriller is detrimental. It’s worse when you discover that Vodka Diaries does not refer to an alcohol-induced catalogue of suspense and drama, but is in fact the name of a hotel and nightclub in Manali run by creepy managers and frequented by odd couples behaving rather desperately.
Yet none of this matters really because Vaibhav Bajpai’s script is in fact following ACP Ashwini Dixit (Kay Kay Menon).
So committed is Dixit to his uniform and duty that he often neglects his poet wife, Shikha (Mandira Bedi). But when a series of murders that occur on the same snowy night are all linked to Vodka Diaries, the mystery becomes too much for Dixit and the idyllic mountain-town to handle.
Dixit’s sidekick Ankit (Sharib Hashmi) is also too much for the audience to handle. It’s incomprehensible why he is cracking inappropriate jokes in the middle of a grisly murder investigation. In fact Ankit’s humour is just one example of some of prosaic dialogue (Manisha Korde, Sachin Vinod Modi) and the uneven performances one has to endure.
A character called Roshni (played by Raima Sen) is floating around in a sinister way, becoming Dixit’s additional nightmare after Shikha disappears. Could Roshni have the clues to the missing wife's whereabouts? However, Dixit’s focus keeps shifting – to solve the multiple murders at Vodka Diaries or to find his missing wife? When the story has so many characters, so many open threads and red herrings, the resolution can only be bizarre.
If you have watched enough films of the genre (Shutter Island, Mr. Robot, Fight Club, etc), you can figure out one big plot twist within the first few minutes. First-time director Kushal Srivastava's effort is evident as he attempts to make the most of this messy material, building suspense in some scenes, but dropping the pace in others. It’s no surprise that ACP Dixit is unable to get a grip on the plot either, because the plot of 'Vodka Diaries' was already lost.
Despite their best efforts, the moments between Bedi and Menon are awkward and though the seasoned Menon throws in all he’s got, even his handlebar moustache looks weary by the end of this sobering slog.
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