Friday, April 09, 2004


Heck, why must our filmmakers first borrow Hollywood hits and then make a right royal desi hash of them. Murder, produced by the Bhatt camp and directed by Anurag Bose, borrows liberally from Adrian Lyne's Unfaithful, and in the process of attempting to Indianise the characters, turns the story into a morality tale about what happens to women who cross that invisible Laxman Rekha. Which was a major objection with Arunaraje's Tum as well!

Simran (Mallika Sherawat, over made up, under-dressed) has married her dead sister's husband Sudhir (Ashmit Patel) to look after his child. Shades of B.R. Chopra's Gumraah here. It is a loveless marriage so when Simran runs into former boyfriend Sunny (Emraan Hashmi), she embarks on a torrid affair with him. Hilariously kinky scenes of the two making out on a building parapet and other odd places. A more passionlessly filmed affair would be hard to imagine!

Why take such great pains to establish sterile marriage and justify the affair by making the man an obsessed lover from the past? Why proclaim boldness on the one hand and then chicken out over the morality? Does Mahesh Bhatt's take on contemporary female sexuality stop at such cliches?

The film is set in Bangkok, more excuses for Simran's loneliness and 'straying'. In Bangkok there is a Sikh cop (Raj Zutshi wearing what looks like a plastic bandage on his head) and even the cabaret girl in a restaurant sings in Hindi! Our film-makers won't, grow up will they!

At some point Simran starts having guilt pangs, Sunny won't let go so easily, Sudhir gets suspicious and hires a detective, and Sunny turns out to be a two-timing skunk. All so pat and convenient. Like in Unfaithful, the husband is taunted by the lover and kills him. Murder takes it further to a climax so absurd, you don't know whether to laugh or weep with irritation.

The three actors are all expressionless, but almost bursting out of their skins trying to be intense. Fuwad Khan's camerawork, inspired by Unfaithful is nevertheless evocative. Anu Malik's music is pleasant.

The really frightening thing is that there are more Unfaithful rip-offs coming up! All we can expect is women stripping while spouting old-fashioned bhartiya nari stuff like Simran in Murder saying. Mere jism pe sirf mere pati ka haq hai.


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