Cast: Irrfan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh, Divya Dutta
Direction: Abhinay Deo
‘Blackmail’ could have been a wickedly humourous story. Alas, the ineptness with which an interesting subject is handled renders the whole exercise futile. This thriller/comedy seems to stretch on endlessly, neither providing the thrills nor the laughs.
This is unusual territory for Bollywood – a husband decides to blackmail his wife’s lover after he finds out about their affair. This move to try and extract revenge while making some money on side sets in motion a sequence of events that spirals out of control. Unfortunately, it also spirals out of our director’s control – he churns out a long laboured tale that gets repetitive and predictable.
The silver lining in this tepid film is Irrfan – he infuses life into the languid proceedings. As Dev Kaushal, he sits at work for long hours with no inclination to head home, suggesting that there is nothing really there for him to go back to.
We don’t know how he got here but it is clearly implied that is marriage boring and his life mundane.
An early return from work, in the hope of rekindling the flickering flame of his marriage, Dev realizes that Reena (Kirti Kulhari) has been cheating on him. He weighs his next move; instead of a spontaneous angry reaction, he decides to turn the tables on them. Is he suave enough to get away with it though?
Well, if you want to find out, you have to take the long circuitous route taken by the filmmakers.
The others in the acting department – Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh and Divya Dutta – completely ham it up. In the absence of a compelling storyline, they are mere caricatures.
In his attempt to play to the gallery, director Abhinay Deo throws in the “Bewafa beauty” song performed by Urmila Mandotkar, but it contributes in no way to the dull affair.
After the promise of his directorial debut, “Delhi Belly”, Deo hit rock bottom with his subsequent releases: “Game” (2011) and “Force 2” (2016) were all duds at the box office.
“Blackmail” disappoints because it did have the potential to be an intriguing tale. If you must, watch it for Irrfan’s delightfully nuanced performance.