MOVIE REVIEW OF BLACKMAIL
Blackmail movie cast: Irrfan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh, Divya Dutta,
Pradhuman Singh, Anuja Sathe Gokhale, Omi Vaidya
Blackmail movie director: Abhinay Deo
Blackmail movie rating: 2 stars
Dev (Irrfan) is a toilet paper salesman. One evening he decides to spice up his boring life and passionless marriage, by going home early from work with a bunch of roses for his wife. But he finds his wife in bed with another man. This shocking revelation leads to a series of events which are both funny and outrageous.
The middle-class man is a victim of his own circumstances. He lives a life of agreement, that when presented with a situation of conflict, like Dev, he struggles to commit a crime of passion. He resigns to his fate, or so it would seem. Blackmail takes this concept and gives it an uproariously good twist. It takes the common man’s daily dilemmas.
On learning about his wife’s adultery, Dev starts blackmailing her lover Ranjit (Arunoday Singh), who in turn blackmails Dev’s wife. More drama unfolds once other characters from Dev’s life get to know of his blackmailing plans. It sparks a series of sorts, where everyone starts blackmailing someone else for motive. The situational humour that arises from this madcap premise is hilarious. Parveez Sheikh (who’s written Queen and Bajrangi Bhaijaan) has his finger on the right note, and pitches the comedy in the sequences skilfully.
The pace of the first half is a bit slow. It takes time to setup all the plots, but even then, the humour stays entertaining. The second half is a laughter riot. As each plot unfolds, the situations get bizarrely funny. Abhinay Deo’s direction is on the money. After his black comedy Delhi Belly, he has cracked another one in this genre with Blackmail. The sublime toilet humour in this story reminds you of Delhi Belly. The music in the film (Amit Trivedi) beautifully accentuates the right scenes. Badla, the rap featuring Trivedi and Divine has been used effectively, and it adds great energy to the narrative. In the film, Omi Vaidya who’s back with his crazy American twang keeps encouraging Dev by saying, “shake it up”. Add to that, there’s a zany song called Sataasat with lyrics alluding to literally shaking it off! Blackmail’s quirky humour and presentation makes it a delight ride.
Irrfan gives a solid performance as the average office guy who can’t stand up to his boss, nor to his unfaithful wife. He brings an air of helplessness to his character and keeps a straight face even when he’s plotting and planning the blackmail. There’s a degree of uncertainty in his actions which comes from his goodness – and that’s what adds to the hilarity of it all. Arunoday Singh, as the wacky track-suit wearing bad boy, is a rage. It’s one of the best performances of his career. Divya Dutta as Ranjit’s drunken and dominating wife adds to the amusement. Her scenes with Arunoday are engaging. Also Kriti Kulhari, is decent in her part as the flirting wife.
The plot of Blackmail is its hero and it manages to strike a good balance between dark and funny. Characters are bumped off, sometimes in most gory detail and strange events unfold, but the film never loses humour. This is one of the most wickedly funny films that we’ve seen in a long time.
Blackmail begins promisingly but descends pretty quickly into flatness and sluggishness, a classic problem of not knowing quite how to play out a good idea: a cuckold’s plan to extract revenge gets taken over by the old saying about mice and men, and, in this instance, women.
Revenge is never a one-way street. Human error and uncontrolled desire come in the way of neat plans, and we see Dev (Irrfan) and his bored wife (Kulhari), Ranjit (Arunoday) and his lush of a wife (Dutta), Dev’s colleagues who are his inadvertent partners in crime– a guy who can’t zip it up, a girl whose greed comes before a mighty fall, and a boss who is too clever by half (Pradhuman, Gokhale, and Vaidya, respectively) — circling around each other, dipping in to pick up their crumbs, scooting off, and circling back again.