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All Fall Down

Saturday, April 07, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

BLACKMAIL
Director:
Abhinay Deo
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh, Divya Dutta and others
Rating: * *

Irrfan Khan can even make deadpan look expressive, and he’s the main reason to endure 'Blackmail', populated by a bunch of thoroughly despicable people. In spite of being the instigator of major mayhem, he retains his butter-won’t-melt look throughout, and manages to inject humour into scenes that would have otherwise fallen flat as a joke without a punchline.

Stuck in a dead-end job (selling toilet paper), a loveless marriage (he peeks at his wife like a voyeur) and a mind-numbing routine, Dev (Irrfan), the protagonist of Abhinay Deo’s film, is jolted out when he breaks his schedule one day. Instead of killing time at the office, he goes home early (with flowers stolen from a graveyard!) and finds his wife Reena (Kirti Kulhari) in bed with Ranjit (Arunoday Singh).

He finds out where Ranjit lives and that he is married to a corporator’s daughter, Dolly (Divya Dutta). Using a prepaid phone, he blackmails Ranjit for one lakh, which is what he needs to pay off his EMIs. Ranjit borrows the amount from his wife and the matter would have ended there, had Dev not told all to his office buddy Anand (Pradhuman Singh Mall). This triggers off a chain of blackmail and deceit and too many murders for the kind of film this started out being. The characters are all too kinky to care about – the toilet paper company’s moronic boss (Omi Vaidya), a nasty female colleague (Anuja Sathe), a loony detective (Gajaraj Rao), or even Dev – the kind of creep, who steals the photos of his colleagues’ wives to jerk off in the loo.

The film is more unpleasant than funny, trying too hard to set up comic sequences (like the meeting with the detective at a funeral), which ended up as distasteful (Granted it’s only a movie but how awful is it to see two sets of parents find their children murdered!). Then there’s the grungy production design, noisy rap background numbers and uneven pace.

The righteous wickedness (a cuckold is entitled to a dash of revenge!) of the first blackmail wears out only too soon, and the film goes downhill from there on.

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