Dev Kaushal (Irrfan Khan) is an employee of a Toilet paper company headed by his over-ambitious boss DK (Omi Vaidya). His only friend in the company is Anand (Pradhuman Singh), a self-proclaimed womaniser who suggests that Dev surprises his wife with a bouquet of flowers in order to save his unromantic marriage. As Dev pays heed to his friend’s advice and brings his wife Reena (Kirti Kulhari), a bouquet of roses, he finds her in bed with another guy named Ranjit (Arunoday Singh). Instead of busting them red-handed, Dev decides to anonymously blackmail Ranjit to pay him ₹1 lakh (1 hundred thousand) or else he’d inform Ranjit’s over-aggressive and over-dominating wife Dolly (Divya) about his torrid affair.
What’ll be the consequences of Dev’s actions? Will Ranjit pay him the sum or will he try to nail him down? How will all of this affect Ranjit’s married life?
Positive Points: –
- A smartly written screenplay and an equally shrewd directional work.
- Irrfan Khan himself is enough to carry a film entirely on his shoulders but here every actor no matter how small his/her role may be has done a terrific job and lightened the burden on Khan. So kudos to the casting director as well.
- The movie balances its seriousness and humour quite well and creates some extremely laughable moments in its otherwise dark premise.
Negative Points: –
- In spite of having a good story and script, the film kind of drags on in its second half by repeating its jokes. Honestly, I don’t think the film should have been 139 minutes long and a lot of its montages could have been done away with or at least simplified.
- There are a few plot points that are left open-ended for the audience to interpret and instead of presenting them properly, other unnecessary things like the marriage of Dev and Reena are shown to the audience.
- Though the climax is fun-filled and intelligently crafted, it came off as predictable.
Direction, Script & Other Technicalities: –
Abhinay Deo does a wonderful job in the director’s seat and impresses with his handling of the story as well as the characters. At times when the flick becomes monotonous and draggy, he kinda saves it with his masterful work especially in the moments when Dev zones out. While zoning out is a commonly used feature in comedies, they tend to become predictable when used frequently in the same flick (the best example of it can be The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) but Deo ensures that with every such sequence, the audience keeps questioning the reality and it’s commendable.
As far as the writing is concerned Parveez Sheikh and Pradhuman Singh Mall have done it with finesse and the dialogues by Mall are humourous as hell. The sharp winding up of the storyline in its climax is one of the most positive things in Blackmail and alleviate the film from an otherwise tedious second act. I wished a few characters like those of Reena had gotten more space and development but it’s fine given the fact that the movie was already dragged long enough and we didn’t want more runtime to be added to it.
On the technical side, my only complaint is with Huzefa Lokhandwala’s editing which couldn’t abate the lengthy runtime of the film. Jay Oza cinematography is fine, the music doesn’t do many wonders though it fits with the movie’s premise.
We don’t need to talk about how good Irrfan Khan performs because every Tom Dick and Harry out there knows his capabilities as a thespian. Khan is amiable and delectable as Blackmail’s primary blackmailer and his shades as a person have been crafted and executed perfectly.
Arunoday Singh is funny as hell as Ranjit and his comic gimmicks are one of the USP’s of the movie.
Gajraj Rao is stellar as Chawla and his character built up has been the best in the entire flick.
Kirti Kulhari might not have gotten a good amount of screentime but she does her job pretty well. Divya Dutta shines in her short stint as the drunkard and dominant wife of Ranjit. Pradhuman Singh and Omi Vaidya perform quite well. Anuja Sathe is sterling as Prabha.
Final Verdict: –
Movies like Blackmail are out and out entertaining but in India, they are either marred by miscasting or by bad direction. Thankfully, it’s not the case with Blackmail which is powered by smart direction and writing along with justifiably humorous performances. Go for it!