Ask Abhinay Deo to explain his latest fable, it would be the known adage since ages ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ told with a shift in gender (male angle) where ‘shit happens’ from time to time only to give us a wild, whacky, smartly honed and crazy fun in the world we live in, where greed and lust has taken over trust, love, compassion and commitment.
On the face of it, BLACKMAIL starring the terrific Irrfan Khan who never goes wrong on screen is a black screwball comedy with relatable characters who are hiding their zany, wild desires in the beginning but at a given chance or provocation fail to control the urge and end up in situations either screwed by them or someone else. Remarkably, as the plot coils upon itself with its funny zeal, it ends up in achieving something more.
A ‘husband’ material Dev Kaushal (Irrfan Khan) dream of a revival in his dull married life is shattered when he finds his wife Reena (Kirti Kulhari) sleeping with her ex-boyfriend Ranjit Arora (Arunoday Singh). Dev who on advice of his colleague Anand Tripathi (Pradhuman Singh) on that fateful day has come early to surprise his wife, but on the contrary he gets the shock of his life. Already carrying the burden of EMI’s bills etc with no signs of hope ( pay rise), Dev in a weird reaction nurses his resentment towards his wife and her lover through a wicked BLACKMAIL plan designed keeping his basic ‘needs’ only in mind initially. Later it turns into a vicious circle. Dev is just another ‘middle class’ mentality wala specie working in the unforgiving urban metro world where jobs are normally done to play the bills and Emi’s.
Writer Parveez Sheikh smartly keeps on introducing new players in the game. The boy friend Ranjit, Dev’s friend Tripathi and a new office colleague Prabha (Anuja Anil Sathe) all get involved as the writer wickedly pitches them against each other sharing the common greed of grabbing some quick bucks. The characterization of characters are believable, we see normal people here. No heroes, no villains only humans driven by circumstances and ruled by basic human traits of greed, lust, jealousy, pride and hate. While a couple of characters like Dev’s Boss DK (Omi Vaidya) is stereotype and Ranjit’s wife Dolly Verma (Divya Dutta) is a bit loud, It takes a while to adjust to the rhythms and subversive humor of BLACKMAIL but once it’s done, it takes you on a trip, somewhere in the subconscious mind there is a feeling that what is at stake for them to behave like such nerds in certain occasions, why there is no wisdom in their thoughts as things never end up as planned but ironically that is the ‘real’ fun.
Humour is primarily derived from other people’s failure, stupidity, and abnormal acts but that has to be convincing enough to make you giggle, the writer Parveez Sheikh shows this understanding over here very well. BLACKMAIL starts as a humorous black rebel on relationship but as the trip flows, it teasingly winks at some righteous and traditional tones as well and tricks you.
Abhinay Deo gets his act together after the disappointment with FORCE 2 and being whacky, crazy on screen seems to be his forte. After DELHI BELLY, the helmer is in his complete element, he is having a ball in this crazy fun that packs all the surreal, wicked punch, ‘shit is happening’ and how, the last reel stitch to the traditional thinking when Reena waits for Dev may look like a deviation from the overall screwball nature but eventually it’s a crazy but smart way in nailing the folly of humans who pretend to be civilized and cultured. Sheer brilliance.
The dialogues are superb, sometimes funny, sometimes delightful, and sometimes sad. Like “Jet spray, typical middle class invention… it’s disgusting! Aim hi karte raho.”.
Irrfan Khan who can never go wrong on screen, like a master creates his aura on screen, playing the victim, survivor, hero, villain with the right degree of madness, chaos laced with innocence and wicked ambition. You sympathize with Dev initially but later you start judging the level of his morality too when he enjoys his moments of pleasure in the office at night. It’s a treat to watch Irrfan Khan on screen. Sheer Brilliance.
Arunoday Singh is a revelation and emotes well with lees dialogues especially during the second half. Fantastic. Kirti Kulhari is competent but she gets less footage. Divya Dutta’s character is a bit loud but she balances it with a marvelous performance. Pradhuman Singh is wickedly enjoyable, he is the typical colleague we can have in any office. Anuja Anil Sathe has her moments and she is fabulous in those. Omi Vaidya entertains in a stereotyped character and excels. Gajraj Rao as the detective is interestingly quirky. Vibha Chhibber as the gun seller is a scene stealer. Neelima Azeem as Dolly’s mother is wasted. Nav Ratan Singh Rathore as Dolly’s father passes the muster. Abhijeet Chavan who plays Inspector Rawle adds to the quirkiness. Primumesse.lt – darbuotoj? paieška, lyderyst? ir mokymai vadovams
Amit Trivedi’s music deserves special mention, perfectly tuned and pitched as per the feel of the film, ‘Badla’ sets the tone right from the word go, ‘Sataasat’ is fantastic. Mikey McCleary and Parth Parekh’s background score is apt.
Production values are first rate, Jay Oza’s cinematography is as per the mood. Huzefa Lokhandwala’s editing is crisp.
Abhinay Deo ‘s BLACKMAIL is a brilliantly honed crazy & wacky fun. A winning wicked pleasure to come on screen after sometime, BLACKMAIL is a comically black illustration of Newton’s third law of motion powered by the sheer brilliance of Irrfan Khan who never goes wrong on screen. The movie is a sly attack on the said ‘commitments’ in relationships glory told through a surreal badla story.
Ending with the tagline shown in the movie over a large billboard advertisement which initially says “Win life… Wear your success” and immediately it reads Life suc-s”. you giggle with a thought, the movie does it from time to time.