Directed by Mohit Suri. Starring Emraan Hashmi, Prashant Narayanan, Jacqueline Fernandez.
Films based on serial-killers are rare in Bollywood. While the basic premise and setting of Murder 2 holds a lot of promise, the film itself is a bit of a let down for anyone who has seen this genre being perfected to an art form by international filmmakers.
Call-girls gone missing. An ex-cop who has crossed over to the world of crime. Inspiration sources like The Chaser (Korea) and 12 Rounds (Hollywood). And a eunuch as a serial killer. Murder 2 has all the elements that promise a riveting, intelligent thriller.
Unfortunately, the film leaves you with that much-familiar-oft-experienced-what-could-have-been after-taste that is characteristic of half-baked-half-hearted-attempts by Hollywood-inspired Hindi filmmakers who choose to ‘dumb it down’ for Bollywood masses. The result is a neither-there-nor-here fare like Murder 2.
Like all good thrillers, the first five minutes of the film establishes it loud-and-clear that this film is about a serial killer. Jyoti (Yana Gupta), a call-girl, is hacked to death even before the opening titles stop rolling. The killer cuts her body into pieces and dumps garbage bags containing those parts in a dried-up well, the bottom of which is littered with similar bags.
On Christmas eve, a pimp hires Arjun (Emraan Hashmi), a former police officer turned freelance muscle-for-rent, to trace three missing call-girls (Jyoti is one of them). His only clue is a phone number.
Before he can track down the number, another girl, Reshma (Sulagna Panigrahi), goes missing. Arjun feels responsible for putting Reshma in danger. As he tries to find her, he ends up apprehending Dhiraj Pandey (Prashant Narayanan).
An unrepentant Pandey confesses to killing Reshma and eleven other girls over a period of two years. But the cops have no proof and are under pressure from politicians to let Pandey off. Arjun is given one night to find proof incriminating Pandey before the cops are forced to set Pandey free.
The film moves at a feverish pace but is let down by lack of chemistry between the performers. The usually dependable Emraan Hashmi is stifled as the script tries to pile several half-baked dimensions on his character. The only purpose Jacqueline Fernandez serves is that of eye-candy for the front-benchers. The support cast too lacks the sizzle and roundedness required to make a gritty thriller work.
The only highlight of the film is the menace brought to screen by Prashant Narayan playing a serial killer who has castrated himself in a bid to tame his addiction to sex and has instead, turned into a monster deriving pleasure from dismembering women.
On the whole, the film has enough oomph (in the form of Jacqueline Fernandez) and thrills to justify the title. However, it fails to rise to the expectations from director Mohit Suri who has amply displayed his flair for taut, engrossing thrillers with films like Kalyug and Awaarapan. It is not that the film is bad, it is just that we, as an audience, have started expecting that much more from our films. But then, maybe, Mohit is not aiming to please his peer demographic. As a mass film, the film has all the ingredients to make it work. So, be prepared for Murder 3.
<Tushar A Amin is the author of Bollywood Themes and former editor of FHM India. Follow Tushar on twitter: @tusharaamin>