MURDER 3 is a reviewer’s nightmare, in that most of what can be said about the film involves a major revelation in the second half, which, of course, despite the title of this column, I cannot reveal. So there go the dozens of jokes and observations I thought of while watching this illogical mess. They were good. Trust me.
The film is an official remake — the ‘official’ being a rarity in the Bhatt camp — of the Colombian thriller La Cara Oculta, which provides it with another rarity: an unconventional plot for Bollywood. However illogical the said plot is in its details, it is a breath of fresh air to consider that one of the umpteen ‘sequels’ the Bhatts have produced, none of which seem to have anything to do with the previous films, is anything other than the formulaic fare they normally peddle. It is so unlikely that the unsuspecting viewer might quite possibly have left the theatre by the time the twist comes, which would be a shame, since it’s quite an entertaining hour once you understand what the film is all about, even if the said entertainment is mostly derived from pointing and laughing.
Until that point, however, the film is quite predictably bad. It checks all the Bhatt boxes: exotic locales (South Africa, in this case) for the sake of exotic locales, cheesy background music in a desperate attempt at generating drama, unintentionally funny dialogues, wooden actors, the inevitable power-cut-and-storm sequence. Randeep Hooda is so expressionless in his role that one actually hankers for the glory days of Emraan Hashmi, who occasionally pulled off the odd facial expression. His success with the ladies is depressing for all of us under the impression that an iota of personality is necessary to have any hope of not dying alone. In fact, even when he is so drunk out of his wits that solving third order differential equations seems easier than getting from Point A to B, waitress Nisha (Loren) goes much beyond the line of duty to take him home rather than bundle him into a taxi. Almost immediately afterward, she’s installed in his mansion, going from complete stranger to live-in partner in a matter of days. This is, of course, only days after his previous girlfriend Roshni (Hydari) has left him.
Mahesh Bhatt, who recently tweeted that he is waiting for a rave review even after 40 years in the business, has gone on about how this film is womancentric, unlike the misogyny his family’s films are usually accused of. He is right superficially, I suppose, as the decisions that lead to the climax are all made by the two women. But apart from these moments, inherited from the original, there is little that is flesh and blood about the characters, and what little there is is lost on the actresses, who are more or less the mannequins the Bhatts regularly employ.
The twist is, as I said, illogical, with any number of holes. It is the result of a moment of abject stupidity by Roshni, which does no favours for improving the image of the women who are so central to the film. The sequence of events that follows is entirely implausible, with the various leaps of reasoning that drive the action occurring within seconds in a woman who has showed little evidence of original thought thus far, though the morally ambiguous ending is rather neat
The tagline for Murder 3 was “This Valentine… love will be murdered”. So was common sense.