Saturday, April 04, 2009


8x10 Tasveer

You had just about forgiven and forgotten Bombay to Bangkok, when Nagesh Kukunoor springs yet another turkey in the form of 8x10 Tasveer.

Reports said that the director was attempting a Manoj Night Shyamalan kind of supernatural thriller, and to be fair, the idea is interesting, but Kukunoor did not manage to pull it off.

He was also worried about the end leaking out, but he underestimates the moviegoer— a few minutes into the film and anyone who has seen enough Hindi films can easily unravel the plot before the scenes come on.

This was not an Akshay Kumar kind of movie, but then he must have thought if Bruce Willis can do Sixth Sense why can’t he? But then Bruce Willis can manage a bigger range of expressions than blank face and frown.

He plays Jai Puri (who thought up the name?) who has the secret ability of going into a photograph and ‘seeing’ what happened when it was taken. The excursion involves CGI trips through hills, dales and snowscapes that are repeated ad nauseum, and after that Jai is left gasping for air and in severe need of a blood transfusion! Don’t ask why.

He also runs an environment protection agency, and wears a uniform, though it isn’t quite clear what they do, and why a fortune willed to his EPA becomes such a bone of contention.

Jai’s father (Benjamin Gilani), from whom he has been estranged for ‘environmental’ differences, has just died in an accident, and if an obsessive compulsive detective (Jaaved Jaaferi) who called himself “Happi with an I” didn’t turn up to tell him it was murder, he wouldn’t have suspected it.

His investigation means peering into the last photograph which lines up suspects- his mother (Sharmila Tagore), uncles (Girish Karnad-Ananth Mahadevan) and cousin (Rushad Rana)—and trying to figure out who did it. There’s also a girlfriend (Ayesha Takia) floating around.

It’s odd but Jai’s mother and girlfriend do not know of his powers, though neighbourhood folks know and approach him to hunt down missing people.

Even by the suspend-disbelief standards of such movies, this one is quite laughable, loosely scripted and quite weird. Imagine this scene, Jai and the girlfriend break into an uncle’s house. He instructs her to start looking around. For what, she asks. For proof, he replies! As is ‘proof’ is something to be found on the mantelpiece. Later they are chased and almost run down by a black van, but think nothing of it.

The over-long denouement is so chuckle-worthy, because you know that’s what is going to happen and can’t believe that someone can actually use such a hoary plot device.

And for a crime thriller, the film is also slow, repetitive and the mystery, when it unfolds, quite unbelievable.

Thankfully, there aren’t too many song breaks, and no great performances are required from the actors. All one can pray for is that Nagesh Kukunoor regains his form soon. Let lesser directors make half-baked thrillers.


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