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The Bhatts have, most of the times, opted for subjects that are in sharp contrast to the products churned out in Bollywood. In MURDER, their latest endeavour, Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt look at extra-marital relationships from a realistic point of view.
But first things first!
Is MURDER a mix of UNFAITHFUL and DOUBLE INDEMNITY?
Yes, it's inspired by Adrian Lyne's UNFAITHFUL [2002; starring Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Oliver Martinez], with alterations in the story to suit Indian sensibilities, but not DOUBLE INDEMNITY .
Also, does MURDER have plenty of skin-show and blatant display of steamy scenes since the promotions focus on a sizzling Mallika Sherawat?
Yes, the film does have its share of skin-show, but those scenes have been filmed aesthetically. The outcome is not in the least vulgar!
So, does MURDER leave the viewer enchanted?
Yes, to a large extent!
Sudhir [Ashmit Patel], his wife Simran [Mallika Sherawat] and their son Kabir are settled in Bangkok. Engrossed in business and chasing his dreams, Sudhir ignores Simran, who feels the vacuum in her life. The cracks in their relationship begin to show.
On a rainy day, Simran bumps into an old buddy, Sunny [Emraan Hashmi]. This brings back memories of the past: Sunny and Simran had been in love before they got married. But destiny had something else in store for them.
Back to the present: Sudhir and Simran's loneliness brings them together and ignites the passion. Subsequently, they cross all limits, getting obsessed and addicted to each other in the process.
Sudhir begins to pick up on clues that his wife is hiding something. He even hires a detective to keep track of her activities. And his doubts come true when the detective gives him proof of her infidelity. Sudhir's world is shaken with the reality of Simran's affair.
On learning the truth, Sudhir decides to confront Sunny. And this very meeting leads to devastating results for all.
MURDER has several factors going in its favour -
MURDER depicts the changing face of Hindi cinema. In most Bollywood flicks, the woman remained a mute spectator and a doormat when her man indulged in affairs. In TUM?, HAWAS and now MURDER, it's the wife who commits adultery, not the man.
The passion play has been amalgamated beautifully in the story. For instance, Emraan and Mallika's first tryst appears on screen in fragments, as Mallika recalls it during her train ride back home. She undergoes a roller coaster of emotions simultaneously - she's excited, she's afraid, she feels guilty. She's simultaneously weepy, her hands fluttering to her flushed face, wiping away tears.
Director Anurag Basu opens the cards at this stage, making it clear that this is not the beginning of a relationship, but the first step towards catastrophe.
Just when you thought that the story actually ends at the interval point, the director surprises you with a twist in the tale in the second half. And by the time the film reaches its climax, the sequence of events take the viewer by surprise yet again.
But MURDER is not without its share of downers -
The film is slow-paced in the first half. And that can really get taxing for a viewer who's hungry for the events to unravel at a rapid pace. It can also do without a couple of scenes to perk up the goings-on.
Besides, the treatment of the film is very city-centric, very urban, which may restrict its appeal to the gentry at multiplexes.
The idea of showing Emraan's girlfriend doesn't come across all that convincingly. Even the climax - when Ashmit escapes from the police headquarters and lands up at the same place where Emraan and Mallika are having a tiff - seems formulaic after reaching a crescendo. It gives an impression that the writer and director were in a hurry to culminate the story.
MURDER is impeccably filmed and sexually charged, but had director Anurag Basu concentrated on the loose ends in the screenplay, it would've taken the graph of the film to a different level altogether.
Anu Malik's music is an asset. Both 'Kaho Na Kaho' and 'Bheege Hont Tere' are gems in terms of composition. Their picturisation of the latter is quite erotic. 'Dil Ko Hazaar Baar' [Kashmira Shah sporting a 1950s get-up] is another excellent number with rich lyrical value that comes up at the most appropriate time.
Cinematography is first-rate. Seldom have the eye-catching locales of Bangkok been exploited so effectively in a Bollywood flick. Dialogues are alright.
MURDER stands on three performances - Mallika, Ashmit and Emraan.
Known as a glamour doll with amazing confidence to enact bold scenes, Mallika proves that she's not just a sex goddess. This performance is sure to catch the viewer unexpected. The actor has evolved tremendously since her first full-fledged role [KHWAHISH]. Free exposure of her anatomy will only multiply her fans.
Ashmit Patel may have looked awkward in his debut film [INTEHA], but he seems to have evolved this time around. Handling a complex role - expressing with eyes mainly - can prove to be a daunting task for a one-film-old, but the actor does impress you in sequences that demand dramatics.
Emraan Hashmi is fantastic in a role that seems tailormade for him. Enacting the role of an obsessive lover with flourish, there's no denying that the narrative gets a major impetus thanks to Emraan's performance.
Raj Zutshi [as the cop] does his part very well.
On the whole, MURDER is an engrossing entertainer. At the box-office, the lethal combination of an attention-grabbing title, sex in its content and aggressive promotion will ensure a safe ride for the film. Business at metros should prove to be the best.
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