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Movie Review: Missing

Banners: Shri Adhikari Brothers, Anand Pandit Motion Pictures, Abundantia Entertainment, Manoj Bajpayee Productions Pvt. Ltd., Friday Filmworks

Producers: Shital Bhatia, Shabana Raza Bajpayee, Vikram Malhotra, Shri Adhikari Brothers, Anand Pandit, Roopa Pandit

Director: Mukul Abhyankar

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee, Tabu, Annu Kapoor

Writer: Mukul Abhyankar

Music: MM Kreem

There are some stories that can be told in a few words and there are others that we wish would never end. And then there are some which could have been told in a few words but seem to take forever to end. What kind of story is Missing? We will come to that in a bit. First, a little about the plot.

The film tells the story of Sushant Dubey (Manoj Bajpayee) who lives in Réunion with his wife and child. He is to leave for St Louis, Mauritius, for a work-related meeting. His wife insists on joining him as she does not trust him. He is not keen on taking her but finally agrees.

Sushant and Aparna (Tabu) arrive at a resort in St Louis with her three-year-old daughter, who is ill. Aparna is very worried about her daughter Titli while Sushant is restless as he keeps getting calls from a woman, Kamia. The next morning, Aparna discovers that Titli is missing from her room. Desperate to find her little girl, she urges Sushant to call the police. But, he refuses. Disappointed by his indifference, she calls the cops to the resort.

Enter Buddhu (Annu Kapoor), a senior police officer from the Mauritius police, a cross between Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot. His investigation leads to many more interesting twists and turns in the narrative.

The movie is set in the beautiful locales of Mauritius. The clean waters, the greenery, the peaceful environment are all captured perfectly on camera. The fact that such a serene place is the backdrop for a thriller makes for an interesting premise. The opening sequences and the initial few minutes manage to reel you into the story and you get entangled in the confusion and mystery created by the characters. But, this does not last long. Before you know it, every scene becomes predictable, very elaborate and long-drawn.

There is just one song in the movie, a lullaby, which is okay. The background score is jarring in places though it tries hard to prove that Missing is a mystery thriller and that there’s something dangerous lurking just around the corner. The music should make you jump off your seat, but given the pace of the movie, it only makes it a long and tedious experience.

Mukul Abhyankar, making his directorial debut with this movie, had an interesting story in hand but he takes too long to come to the point. The screenplay spends a lot of time creating the right premise for the plot to unfold. In the process, you have all but guessed the twists and turns in the narrative, which seem to take forever to reach its climax, which in turn is exactly what you would have imagined.

Performance-wise, though the story has several characters, the three main drivers of the story are Tabu, Manoj Bajpayee and Annu Kapoor. Of the three, Tabu is probably the only one who rises above the writing and delivers a performance that matches the thriller-mystery genre. Manoj Bajpayee is a talented actor and has delivered stellar performances. But, here he comes across as awkward in places and where his character should make the audience feel tense and excited, he ends up being funny! The same goes for Annu Kapoor. He is over-the-top and his dialogue delivery, especially when he speaks French, ends up being hilarious. If the writer wanted these lines and scenes to be funny, he has hit the nail on the head. Yet, so many laughs in a thriller are decidedly out of place.

Verdict: Dud.

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