Mumbai, 03 May 2019 7:00 IST
The thriller, written and directed by Behzad Khambata, has its moments, but ultimately it ends up being too smart for its own good.
A suicide bomber with a live bomb inside him, a large-scale terrorist plot that's about unfold in less than 24 hours, and an Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief, played by Sunny Deol, who has to save the day. Behzad Khambata's Blank (2019) has all the trappings of a good thriller, but its execution leaves something to be desired.
The film opens with an unknown young man (Karan Kapadia) being brought into a hospital after an accident. When it is discovered that a bomb has been fused into his chest, the police and ATS are on high alert to uncover the plot and the people behind it. As the title infers, Kapadia is a blank slate. He has lost his memory and has no idea what has happened to him.
Will ATS head Dewan (Deol) figure out that the young man in front of him is lying, or just an innocent trapped in a devious scheme? As this is your standard Hindi film, starring Deol, no less, the hero cannot lose. But how do the bricks all fall into place? That you will only know once you watch the film.
Actor Karan Kapadia makes his big-screen debut as the helpless amnesiac or cunning mastermind. The angle depends on if you look at him as victim or perpetrator. Luckily, the film does not rest entirely on his shoulders. He shares the screen with Deol, who does his trademark bits — beat people and ask questions in anger.
The 62-year-old Deol can still pack a punch, but his age shows. In a flashback meant to be around 15 years in the past, the actor looks older than the present. Kapadia is not bad in his first role. Kudos for not choosing a clichéd love story like other star kids, but his dialogue delivery falls flat at moments requiring more emotion.
Karanvir Sharma and Ishita Dutta make up the rest of the cast as Dewan's crew in the ATS. The duo are effective in their smaller roles.
There is not a dull moment in the film as the action is high throughout. But the film acts too clever and ends up being as predictable as we would expect it to be. Writer-director Khambata does well to keep the audience on its toes, but too many twists can spoil the broth. Also, there are plenty of moments where the film loses credibility, especially in gun battles where the ATS emerges largely unscathed, and the scenes featuring computers.
The sound design is often loud and always jarring. There were moments where the editing matched it as well. Thankfully, no one breaks into song inappropriately in this tense thriller, though at one strange moment, the ATS crew punch rhythmically to the beat on their way to a mission. Mostly, the songs are limited to the background except for the bizarre end-credits song, which features Akshay Kumar (Kapadia is his brother-in-law). It makes no sense whatsoever.
On paper, the film is smart and had potential. But its implementation has gone awry, leading to a few moments of unintentional humour. Moreover, a little more work was required for Deol and Kapadia's main characters. They end up being blank as the title.
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