Naqaab

What is it with Hindi movies and infidelity? For a while now, this has been the focus of a number of movies beginning with the execrable Murder. Abbas-Mustan’s latest thriller Naqaab is yet another in this series.

Much bile has been vented about the tagline – The most shocking thriller of the year – in various reviews. It’s Wednesday evening and I don’t feel like kicking a man when he’s down on a Wednesday, so I’ll say no more on the subject.

The story begins with a girl dancing with a handsome stranger on the night of her engagement and finding herself attracted to him. She meets him a few more times after that and begins to fall for him. But it isn’t that simple: the stranger seems to have been hired by a mysterious man, whose voice you only hear on the phone, to make her fall for him. Meanwhile, there’s a mysterious man who captures much of this with a handycam. Cameras are all over the place in this movie, and they play a fairly important part as well. To say anything more would probably reveal the suspense. Let me just say that, while I didn’t feel exhilarated by what happens, I was surprised and mostly entertained.

The movie uses an interesting device to hold a mirror to the characters’ own morality; however, instead of exploring what the characters think or feel, it opts for the thriller route and concentrates just on what they do. It was a choice I was disappointed with, because the other route, I felt, had infinitely more potential.

That said, however, it’s not an unwatchable movie, and has its share of entertaining moments. All three leads give solid, unremarkable performances, one of them the debutante Urvashi Sharma (who bears a striking resemblance to Udita Goswami). The only sore point for me was Raj Zutshi, who looked like his dad ought to be asking his mom about that peackock she met while on vacation.

On the whole, I don’t think there’s much to complain about this movie, or much to write home about either. You can safely avoid it, you can safely watch it, and you won’t care either way. The only thing that stands out is the tagline.

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