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Murder 3  : Olé, It’s Wicked
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Friday, February 15, 2013
Thriller
Vishesh Bhatt
Randeep Hooda, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sara Loren
In Mahesh Bhatt’s straight rip-off of the Spanish film, The Hidden Face, women are deliciously wicked, all the way.. And when there are two women in the story (oh, oh, with a third one in the vanity van), the womanly wiles just get multiplied.

The plot: Let’s stick to what the promos have been telling you: against the edgy backdrop of a missing girlfriend, a glamour photographer brings to his secluded bungalow his new flame. But wait, we’re not alone out here.

Vikram (Randeep Hooda) is drowning his sorrows at the bar over missing love Roshni (Aditi Rao Hydari) when Nisha (Sara Loren), the restaurant hostess, is drawn to him. Soon they are a couple, but is there something/someone else lurking unseen in that huge mansion with its in-built secret?   
With claws bared, the women take on one another while the guy too, is not as goody-good as he seems. Finally, is there a moral out here? Yeah, don’t be suspicious, woman. And if you are, then your man had better watch his back.

The good: It’s not the standard Ram Gopal Varma variety of haunted house horror even if it starts out suspiciously like one. The twist in the tale post-interval makes your heart go out to Roshni. What a price to pay for a little stab of jealousy! A few more twists and before you know it, it’s time to go home (running time: approx 2hrs). As the song (lyricist: Sayeed Qadri) at the end says, even Laila Majnu didn’t get to be together but they were eternal lovers, right?

More than Randeep Hooda who is suitably competent, this is slender-pretty Aditi Rao Hydari’s big ticket and she’s got a veritable potpourri of emotions to play with. Fortunately she handles it as required. The second half which springs a surprise and moves well from an annoying bout of unwarranted jealousy to overwhelming pity before it hurtles towards its women-are-wicked climax, wipes out the inertia of the first portion.

While all the performances are passable, Kabir (Rajesh Shringapure), the policeman on the trail of the missing girlfriend, is a pleasant watch.

It’s a well-shot film (DOP Sunil Patel) with the Bhatt family’s favourite location, Cape Town, once more providing refreshing visuals before it gets dank and dark. The music (Pritam is listed as the guest composer) stays mostly in the background to provide the necessary ambience for love and lust.

First time director Vishesh Bhatt’s work is neat (the Murder brand smooches and steamy scenes are not available here), without the gaucheness of a debut performance.

The bad: The listless first half has only the standard issue creaks, lights going off and eerie background noises (score: Raju Singh) with nothing really happening. It therefore gives you plenty of time to wonder what the hell a young girl like Nisha is doing moving into an isolated bungalow with a guy she’s just met, even if he’s rich and famous and in the glamour profession. And yuck, who brushes her teeth with someone else’s toothbrush? Also, DK Bose has become too tiresome to bring on the laughs anymore. And then there’s the scene straight from a car commercial (the one where a girl’s miffed coz her man has no time for her when there’s a call from a restaurant asking if his reservation for candle light dinner stands) which is cut and pasted here. But the obvious familiarity brings a smile.

Overall: The second half’s worth the ticket money and the abrupt, unconventional end is pure James Hadley Chase wicked.

– Bharathi S Pradhan

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