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Nirdosh review: Writing, direction to blame for this immature crime drama

Release Date: 19 Jan 2018 / Rated: U/A / 01hr 50min

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Keyur Seta

Starring Arbaaz Khan and Manjari Phadnis, this murder mystery is insufferable throughout.

Directors Subroto Paul and Pradeep Rangwani’s Nirdosh is a whodunit where the main killer and his or her motto is revealed in the end. But even before the intermission, you realize that the actual culprits are the writers and directors, who turn this murder mystery into (an unintentional) comedy.

Sharanya (Manjari Phadnis) is living a happy life with husband Gautam (Ashmit Patel) and a daughter. A glamorous struggling actress Adah (Mahek Chahal) enters their house as a paying guest and starts an affair with Gautam. One day, a murder takes place in the house and the blame falls on Sharanya. Crime Branch officer Lokhande (Arbaaz Khan), who is an encounter specialist, takes over the case.

The murder happens right at the start but we are kept guessing for some time as to who actually is the victim, which is a smart idea. Unfortunately, this is the only positive aspect of the film. Right from the interrogation to the investigation to the final revelation, the film just doesn’t make sense.

The narrative is guilty of a strange practice of revealing something and then spending a good amount of time elaborating it. For example, Sharanya tells Lokhande that she felt that their financial condition is such that they need to let out a room to a paying guest (they are shown living a rich lifestyle in a posh house, by the way). But then the scene goes into flashback where she is telling her husband that we need a PG. The same happens with their love track and a few other sequences.

But the faulty characters are also to be blamed. Lokhande is passionate about mouthing punchlines without feeling. He enters the scene saying, ‘Na main politician hoon, na common man. Main hoon Lokhande.’ He also excitedly announces the interval like, ‘Murder ek, qaatil do. Break toh banta hai.’

After a monologue boasting about his achievements, he mentally tortures Sharanya, while juggling a tennis ball, without having proper proof. He does nothing substantial. Even in a scene where he could have bashed up a political goon, he orders his subordinate to do so while he looks on as if it was he who did something heroic.

Sharanya is portrayed to be so dumb, that you don't feel any sympathy for her. Despite knowing her husband’s penchant for ‘hot’ women, she chooses a struggling actress-cum-seductress to share their house. As soon as her husband takes the blame, she confesses to the murder despite knowing that her husband cheated on her. Height of being an adarsh nari!

We are not told much about Gautam except that he falls for Adah and his interest towards preaching philosophy when he is being interrogated for murder.

Rana’s character takes the stereotype of a north Indian sexist pervert to another level. So much so that he appears more like a caricature. He eveteases neighbourhood women in the premises of his posh apartment. He tortures his wife by forcing her to put her hand in a drawer and as soon as she does that, he closes it with a bang. Rana deserves an award for his cinematography skills. He films Adah and Gautam making love in their bedroom from his neighbourhood balcony, an impossible feat from that distance.

Similarly, Adah deserves an award for fearlessness. When Rana shows her the video, she criticizes the quality of the camera and bad lighting instead of being petrified.

Needless to say, such content and characterization give no scope for the actors to shine. Manjari Phadnis isn’t a bad actress, but she falls prey to a film like this after Wah Taj (2016) and Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai (2017). There is nothing much to write about the rest of the actors except Mukul Dev for his hamming.

The character of a security guard is always shown reading a crime novel. Perhaps, the makers could have adapted that book into a film.