Synopsis – People get entangled in a mystery when a murder is committed on live television.
My Take – It’s been a while since we saw a good suspense thriller come out of Bollywood, right? Yet, being a sucker for the genre I decided to give this one a watch, despite knowing that the director of this film Vishal Pandya is the man behind two of the lamest yet money spinning so called erotic thrillers – Hate Story 2 and Hate Story 3. Like his previous films, this film too claims to be a crime thriller with enough sleaze to qualify as an ‘erotic thriller’ like his aforesaid films. However, will his third outing be successful or bite dust as expected? I must say director Vishal Pandya does try his best in making this film an edge-of-the-seat thriller, with a plot that is interesting and fresh along with an even more thrilling background score. The film manages to keep you with a number of twists and turns that will keep the audience guessing about the murderer. Even, the murder location has a very distinct and unique ambiance, which the Bollywood police cannot trace it even though it is in the heart of the city. Yet, it’s the silly loopholes that cannot escape the viewers’ attention and, the climax of the film will make you realize that considering it is a Bollywood film, it has to have a happy ending, confronting basic logic. It’s unfortunate that the film loses you as instantly as it grips you, owing it to the over-practiced dialogue delivery and the forced love-making scenes. Even though the timing is commendable, but the twists are way too predictable. Half-an-hour into the film and you know what is in store for you. The sigh of relief at the end of the film is partly because of its predictability and partly due to its extreme dramatization. Like every other thriller in Bollywood, this film features a good man, a bad man, a good lady, a victim-turned-criminal and a non-ending series of twists.
The story follows Rahul Oberoi (Rajneesh Duggal), CEO of a media group, who is brought in for questioning by Inspector Kabir Deshmukh (Sharman Joshi) after a masked man murders a police officer, and broadcasts the entire ordeal LIVE across all channels of a media group. Despite the fact that the channel was hacked, Kabir considers Rahul as his prime suspect & starts investigating the case with the help of a consulting lawyer Ranveer Bajaj (Gurmeet Choudhary). However, things get complicated when Oberoi is defended by his company’s legal head Siya (Sana Khan), who is also dating Ranveer. Before they all can reach the real culprit, a second murder is broadcasted live. The hunt for the real killer, the back-story, reason behind the killings and the character’s relationships make for the entire film. To be fair to the makers, the first half of the film seems promising enough and despite the presence of unnecessary songs, the film seems like a spicy whodunit. However, it is in the second half that the pot goes downhill with a steady pace. In addition to making the plot quite contrived, the makers also blundered by making their actors state the obvious for the benefit of the audience, which is a major put off. The film at its base is a love story, but filled with antagonists like a corrupt cop and the millionaire scion Karan (Himmanshoo Malhotra), who is somehow embroiled in this web of lies and crime, and the person shielded by a hoodie who is the mastermind behind the hacking and the deaths. And just when you think all has been revealed, another curveball comes flying out at you. Think again, says the director — join the dots, says inspector Deshmukh. And when even those dots don’t form a straight line, Deshmukh’s wise words are: “It’s not a case, it’s an onion.” For all this posturing and wisdom, and seeming righteousness, Deshmukh and his team are always a step behind the killer. And that’s no surprise because the screenwriters don’t know when to stop adding twists to the whodunit. What starts off as a potentially interesting thriller contorts into senselessness. It’s quite obvious that the writers and director of this film are serious about their story, they are earnest about crime, vengeance, hacking and they are equally serious about remixed songs, itsy-bitsy clothing, item numbers, mid-riff baring lawyers and their costume, hair and make-up budgets. A news network is hacked and a murder is telecast live, but why doesn’t the channel switch off the feed and go to white noise? Because the simple answer is not the one chosen by characters in this Vishal Pandya’s erotic thriller. A lot has been stuffed into this film – from CEOs raping a woman in a garage to a tech guy explaining the functioning of media broadcasting – down to the level of the requirement of a fast internet connection. Apart from this, there are some obvious distractions in the film – how women dress up in offices (they wear sky-high heels) or how a little girl’s cuteness is overpowered by some inexplicable lines or how a bad cop has cruel lines to his credit just to make him look worse. Every move, every thought, every clue or step in the investigation is spelt out; including a presentation on how hacking of a broadcast network might happen. People, literally, watch a block of ice melting live on TV, imagine what would happen if it’s a murder happening live in a twisted, torturous way. Also, if you can digest the fact that Shah Rukh Khan orchestrates an entire chase sequence across countries in Fan, you should not be having much trouble with this film‘s diminished universe of logic, and expanded universe of possibilities.
There are two twists in the film. I found the first twist so predictable that I saw it coming as soon as the starring credits rolled on screen, but the second twist managed to surprise me. The climax is pretty engaging and near perfect. The film goes up by three levels on the entertainment ladder during the final fight. However it cannot be forgotten how the film decides to rather waste time in dialoguebaazi, takes too much time to uncover the back-story, and has unnecessary songs. The technical gibberish sounds too ridiculous and the dialogues end up more as spoof rather than hard-hitting, powerful ones. Even the intense moments fall completely flat and leave you chuckling. On the other hand, the romantic scenes are marred with dialogues plucked straight from a 90s book. If that was not all, some of the dialogues are not only unintentionally funny, but also grammatically incorrect- in one scene, Siya, who is supposedly a law graduate from Massachusetts, tries to poke holes in the prosecution’s theory by declaring that her opposing counsel’s arguments are ‘logic-less’. A pounding background score is used to build suspense but the characterizations are so shallow that there is a basic disinterest in the plot which music cannot save, certainly not the two item numbers (Zareen Khan & Sherlyn Chopra). Sana Khan, Gurmeet Choudhary and Sharman Joshi obviously felt as serious about the film as the makers and sincerely present their characters, making up partly for Duggal’s limitations, restricted to grimacing and smirking. Pandya smartly constricts Himmanshoo Malhotra’s screen time and dialogues yet notice his inability to emote and his gravity-defying hairstyle. Indeed there is a great deal of emphasis on styling. This is the first time Sana Khan has played a lead role in a Bollywood film and the actress did it well enough. While she raises the temperature with some steamy love-making scenes, Sana plays the character of a lawyer well. Gurmeet also does justice to his role and his chemistry with Sana is spot on. Rajneesh Duggal also portrayed the character of a arrogant business tycoon pretty well. Last but not the least, master performer Sharman Joshi seems to be having a blast here. Unlike Hate Story 3, he has a meatier role with powerful dialogues in the film, mostly in regard to the power that his uniform possesses. This film despite its major flaws is far better than Hate Story 2 and 3. Though it is most definitely not the edge of your seat suspense thriller, it is not outrageously bad either. In India where we celebrate one time watch films, this one can easily be your weekend indulgence. But if you are an ardent worshiper of logical plots, and near flawless films, stick to your sorts. On the whole, ‘Wajah Tum Ho’ has some pleasant twists and turns but is run down by illogical plot holes, laughable dialogues, unnecessary sleaze & misplaced songs.
Directed – Vishal Pandya
Rated – PG15
Run Time – 136 minutes