There's a sense of deja vu when you watch BLOOD MONEY. Your mind races back to the 1986 movie directed by Mahesh Bhatt which was a super hit. BLOOD MONEY too is from the Bhatt production house and the storyline is somewhat the same. You see the hero caught in a 'one way street' as explained by Paresh Rawal to Sanjay Dutt in NAAM. The location then was Dubai. In BLOOD MONEY, the scene shifts to South Africa
Kunal (Kunal Khemu) and his wife Arzoo (Amrita Puri) move to South Africa. Kunal has just landed a job in the biggest Diamond Company headed by an Indian who is very well connected there. He is given a lavish bungalow and a fancy salary. Soon, he wins the heart of the owner Zaveri (Manish Chaudhary) with his uncanny knack of cracking big deals coupled with his principled lifestyle. CHECK OUT: Kunal Khemu- Lack of good scripts bothered me
But Arzoo is afraid. Something inside her tells her that things are not right. It can't be possible that someone progresses at such an alarming speed. Kunal is blinded. Being a typical middle-class Indian who dreams of making it big in a foreign land, he feels his hard work has taken him so far. Arzoo reminds him of the story of Hansel and Gretel, the chocolate house and the wicked witch.
Soon, Kunal realizes that all is not well within the company. Although dealing in diamonds, the company is also operating in nexus with the underworld supplying ammunitions and drugs, while the diamond business is just a front. Moreover, Kunal gets so sucked into his so-called growth within the company that a 'one night stand' comes back to haunt him and threaten his marriage. Is he able to break free from vice-like grip of Zaveri and flee to India or will he come back in an urn like Sanjay Dutt in NAAM?
First-time director Vishal Mahadkar has a readymade script at hand. He also has four powerful actors to carry off the film. There's Manish Chaudhary as Zaveri. This actor is taking giant steps on screen giving a different meaning to character acting. His presence is frightening and performance brilliant. Superb! There's also Sandeep Sickand who plays Zaveri's brother who is equally believable as the evil partner. Amrita Puri has just a few scenes but she immerses herself wholly into the 'feel of things' to make even an ordinary scene (like throwing food into a dustbin) stand out. Finally, there's Kunal Khemu who gives a standout performance. This guy (like I mentioned in my Review of 99 a few years ago) is a lambi race ka ghoda. A few more years and he will definitely be in the big league. CHECK OUT: Amrita was wary of 'bold content' in BLOOD MONEY
Mahadkar begins the proceedings with a bang with a gripping scene in a parking lot and goes on to keep the momentum. He shows well how Kunal is trapped with a 'no exit route' and the frustration of Arzoo who feels caged.
One dialogue over dinner between Kunal and Zaveri when the former discovers the scam is brilliant. Zaveri tells him that he can either enjoy the delicious meal laid in front of him (an Italian dish) or move to the kitchen and see whether the chefs have observed the hygiene levels while preparing it. If he is exposed to the truth he may not enjoy the meal. Another powerful dialogue Zaveri mouths is this: ''Show me one successful business man and I will show you 10 of his business interests which are against the law.''
This frightening truth alleviates the film to another level. ''No one can be successful, without being corrupt,'' he says.
The music is melodious to the extent that is carries the film through. For the newer generation who have not seen NAAM, this one will be a like a bolt from the blue. Every youngster wants to make it big, but at what cost?
There are a few flaws, but I'd rather not dwell on those because the overall impact is massive.