Film: Blackmail

Director: Abhinay Deo

Cast: Irrfan Khan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh

Rating: ****

Irrfan Khan’s choice of films has always been superb, barring some like ‘Thank You’ and a few more. Blackmail too doesn’t disappoint as Abhinay Deo, known for his directorial debut with ‘Delhi Belly’, crafts another entertaining dark comedy.

Dev Kaushal (Irrfan Khan) is advised to surprise his wife, Reena (Kirti Kulhari), in order to spice up his sex life but he eventually finds out she has already spiced it up with another man – Ranjit Arora (Arunoday Singh) – who she loved before getting married to Dev. He thinks a lot and decides to blackmail Ranjit because he has money on his mind more than anything else as he has to pay an EMI and clear other payments. This action incurs a butterfly effect, which comes back to him resulting in hilariously dark moments.

The acting packs the real punch here. Every actor is phenomenal. Anuja Sathe as Prabha is good in her short role and her best scene comes when she confronts Dev on the stairs of the office. Pradhuman Singh as Anand, Dev’s friend, is hilarious as the desperate office colleague who always has sex on his mind and a phone full of adult jokes. Divya Dutta has a short but effective role as Dolly, Ranjit’s wife, who is alcoholic and regularly taunts her husband of being a good-for-nothing man. Kirti Kulhari smiled just once in the film and since sported a convincingly stressed face throughout.

Arunoday and Irrfan are the real show-stealers in this fun mess. Singh’s performance is easily his career best. He keeps his expressions right and relatable.

Khan has always proven that he is of another class altogether and here too he delivers just what was expected out of him. Khan provides the best anyone could have to such a role. His dialogue delivery is spot-on and so is his timing.

The music is terrific. The songs might not entertain as solo items but when they appear in the film they make us go wow. ‘Sataasat’ by Amit Trivedi is quirky and introduces us to the film’s setting in which Dev works when the office hours are over. The cinematography is well fit in this song and use of static shots exemplifies the loneliness in the life of a married man – Dev.

‘Badla’ by Divine is what keeps the energy intact throughout the film and whenever it comes it is bound to make us go ‘Yeah!’. Whenever the film is about to go dull, comes in the amazing background trance scores to keep us gripped.

Last week we saw a crass item song ‘Ek Do Teen’ in ‘Baaghi 2’ and now another waste-of-time and unnecessary item number, ‘Bewafa Beauty’, is here to make us go ‘Why?’

Abhinay Deo and Parvez Sheikh (writer) craft an exciting tale of teaching-someone-a-lesson. Deo makes sure that we are gripped by tight sequences and no unnecessary scenes, except for the forgettable Urmila Matondkar song. But he still has his work with some plot-holes as to what happened to the cop who warned Dev that he would arrest him. In one scene, Ranjit’s ‘desi katta’ suddenly becomes the revolver that was used in ‘Sholay’ (that is how the arms dealer in the film explained it to Ranjit) – a terrible continuity error because the revolver is shown with good screen space.

The film works even with these minute flaws and keeps us hooked till the unusual ending and something which nobody would have foreseen. A sure shot must watch.

(The reviewer is an independent writer)