When a film begins to go wrong from Reel 2, you know the director is in serious trouble. After a point you wonder why on earth this film with its gawky special effects was made in the first place!
There is an effort in every Ram Gopal Varma film to try something new, to push the limits. But in "Gayab", one wonders what he is trying to achieve.
The basic premise of an inconspicuous common man (played by Tusshar Kapoor) who gets his wish of vanishing into thin air is promising -- though for home-viewing purposes. It allows the maltreated protagonist a certain lascivious leeway into places where civilised society does not allow us to enter.
Hence, our mousy hero Vishnu Prasad is suddenly and violently ubiquitous. In a prolonged celebration of secluded erotica, he barges into his dream-girl's hi-tech bedroom (some classy art d?cor by Jeena Shetty and Rashid Rangrez) as she is bathing.
She is on an overdrive with video games, and yet has the audacity to be shocked when her boyfriend Sameer (Ramman Trikha) confesses he once, just once, tried drugs.
A strange dichotomy runs through this tale of wish fulfilment. The characters are clean, uncomplicated, simple people caught in a bizarre situation that fails to energise the plot or the audience.
Though some of the early scenes (like when the still-visible hero is slapped by the heroine's boyfriend at a caf?) have the power to touch you, the touch does not continue with the film. The narrative grows progressively powerless after Vishnu acquires supernatural powers.
To director Prawaal Raman's credit, he does not overdo the emotions. And except for the protagonist's mother, all the characters behave 'normally', given the abnormal scenario of a hero whom no one can see -- except the audience.
Hence, while the audience is watching (and the characters are not), Vishnu gets saucy and bold. Many of his misdemeanours of invisibility involve yanking off his tormentor's trousers or tripping them over.