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Movie Review: Blackmail

Banners: T-Series, RDP Motion Pictures

Producers: Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Abhinay Deo, Apurba Sengupta

Director: Abhinay Deo

Cast: Irrfan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh, Divya Dutta, Pradhuman Singh, Anuja Sathe, Omi Vaidya

Writers: Parveez Shaikh (story and screenplay), Pradhuman Singh (dialogues)

Music: Amit Trivedi

Dark comedies have a long way to go in Indian cinema, in a commercial sense. The ever-changing audience is still adapting to the introduction of tragedies like depression, death, murder, deceit, and hopefully blackmail, in a comedy film. Abhinay Deo’s Delhi Belly was a laugh riot with the stinky-est humour that marked a milestone in this genre. Now, he’s back with another quirky and delightful ride, Blackmail.

Dev (Irrfan) is caught in the rat race of life, working for a company that sells toilet paper. He reports to a dimwitted boss (Omi Vaidya). He is bogged down by loans and EMIs, and is trapped in a marriage that has little left in it. ark comedies have a long way to go in Indian cinema, in a commercial sense. The ever-changing audience is still adapting to the introduction of tragedies like depression, death, murder, deceit, and hopefully blackmail, in a comedy film. Abhinay Deo’s Delhi Belly was a laugh riot with the stinky-est humour that marked a milestone in this genre. Now, he’s back with another quirky and delightful ride, Blackmail.

On the advice of his colleague Anand (Pradhuman Singh), Dev decides to ditch his post-work ritual to surprise his wife Reena (Kirti Kulhari), only to find her in bed with her lover Ranjit (Arunoday Singh). Shattered, Dev begins to blackmail her lover, and the latter in turn blackmails Reena.

Ranjit is the boy toy of his pompous, wealthy and dominating wife Dolly (Divya Dutta). The situation takes another twist, when a drunken Anand spills the beans to Prabha (Anuja Sathe), an astute employee in the same office, who swindles money out of Dev’s ransom. This is followed by a series of blackmail threats and murders as the story unravels, all packed in an amusing plot.

Scriptwriter Parveez Shaikh has woven a titillating story with his witty take on the consequences of infidelity, backed by the right amount of satire. He has sketched every character in the film in the most rational way possible. The protagonist, Dev, is a lonely, servile man with years of resentment stacked inside. One day, he erupts like a volcano, resulting in an outrageous crime. Before he can catch his breath, Dev finds himself in an ocean of tumultuous events.

With this film, director Abhinay Deo has stirred up a storm with his vision. In a film like this, it is a tough task to balance humour while validating the motive of every character, of which there are too many. He has managed to keep it crisp without making anything look out of place. And just as you begin to pause for breath, at the end of the first half, Deo picks up the plot. Dialogue is another USP of the film. Cinematography is good. Editing is up to the mark.

Music is one of the most important aspects of this film, and the background score, along with the songs, breathes life into the narrative. Nindaraan diyaan by Amit Trivedi casts a spell while we watch Dev go to pieces. Also, the song Sataasat, also by Trivedi, on Dev’s post-work ritual, is very quirky. Guru Randhawa’s Patola is already a hit number. Bewafa beauty, by Pawni Pandey, picturised on Urmila Matondkar, sets the tone for the second half of the film.

Performance-wise, once again Irrfan, with his straight face, sulky eyes, and a rebel in disguise, manages to deliver a wicked performance. His subtlety is unmatchable. Arunoday Singh, as the brash and unorthodox gold digger, is a treat to watch, especially his scenes with Divya Dutta. They are like a house on fire. Kirti Kulhari as the demure yet adulterous wife plays her part quite well. Pradhuman Singh is decent. Anuja Sathe justifies her role with freshness. Omi Vaidya irritates and hams throughout.

Verdict: Don’t miss!

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