Cast: Sharman Joshi, Sana Khan, Rajniesh Duggal, Gurmeet Choudhary, Sherlyn Chopra, Zarine Khan
Director: Vishal Pandya
If it’s the fag end of the year, you would be, sure enough, lazy to watch a film this week that has been strategically pushed to accommodate a mega star’s much-awaited film release next week. But then, this week’s release Wajah Tum Ho has been promoted as a drama and thriller to pique our interest a wee bit. Producer Bhushan Kumar of T-Series is in a hurry to wrap up as many films as he could conceive of without bothering to focus his energies on their content, execution etc. Or, maybe, having music rights of umpteen music albums and some Bollywood film hits of the past, he could jolly well rehash them in fresh voices, and incorporate them in any and every story he sets out to produce. Director Vishal Pandya, who earlier directed Hate Story, crafts an extremely slow burning thriller that revolves around a live murder committed on television. The biggest fault of this tepid drama is that whatever suspense it manages to generate in its climactic scenes is achieved artificially, through a forced and manipulative twist.
The mystery of the murder instead of generating the suspense is so transparent that I wasn’t anywhere near the edge of my seat. Wajah Tum Ho, in theory, is also a movie about a man who has all the makings of a business tycoon with great entrepreneurial skills, could be involved in seemingly consequence-free crime and sex. But in practice, it’s about crazy bitches too, who could ruin such a guy’s life. Mumbai police team headed by Kabir Deshmukh (Sharman Joshi) enters a swank multi-storeyed building with a posse of policemen to arrest the CEO of a television network Global News Network Rahul Oberoi (Rajneesh Duggal) who is accused of telecasting a live murder on his channel. Obviously, it’s not so simple, and the Oberoi denies it refusing to comply with the officer. Just when Deshmukh delves deeper into the case, another murder takes place in the same fashion leaving the entire nation perplexed.
Since the law enforcers and Oberoi’s legal team comprising Siya (Sana Khan) at the helm, cannot find any guilt in Oberoi’s conduct, he goes scot-free. Now, here is a sexy lawyer whose curves has her romancing defence counsel Ranvir Raj (Gurmeet Choudhary) in her swish apartment at night while Raj also turns up to oppose her in court in the day. Oberoi, who keeps snarling “Jante nahin main kaun hoon…” to the police, cannot resist the charms of his legal adviser Siya, and tries to proposition her at any given opportunity. This had to be fine, even obvious since he is rich, friends with the power corridor and a dare-me attitude, he’d better be a Casanova too. No offence to other television honchos, who would squirm at the thought of wooing a pair of bikini-clad girls instead of being worried sick about their TRPs or other avenues of earning revenues day and night, but our hero has some bosom heaving girls gushing about him.
Meanwhile, Deshmukh who serves “the best police team in the country” as per his claim needs to prove his competence and crack the case. The odds are mounted against him as soon as he arrives at any crime scene, but he being law-abiding and understandably honest, must be a stickler for perfection, and struggles with the plot’s contrivances to achieve a hint of un-self-conscious wisdom. Does he succeed? To be fair to him he may be the best thing about the film but his cluelessness about which way the film is headed starts showing soon enough for you to invest your 136 minutes of viewing. The plot is structured to focus on Sana Khan as Siya, and to make us see everything through her eyes. The script gives her all kinds of personal conflicts, love and professionalism to justify her position as the central character. Her name doesn’t ring a bell, neither to film goers or to television watchers, and she ensures she makes her mark by showing off her body in ample measure while trying hard to display a gamut of emotions from love to hatred; nobility to helplessness and all that she believes would help her get noticed.
Many of hate crimes have revenge-seeking protagonists as males. Whenever it’s the female species coming to the fore, filmmakers often feel the need to incorporate formula and ample skin show over substance. WTH isn’t anything different. In fact, it gets sillier and more ludicrous as it goes along, which is typical for many suspense genre stories. But it would have fared better if Pandya spent as much effort on his characters as he does on his camerawork. It feels weightless and inconsequential despite the increasingly horrific things that transpire, because terror and indifference don’t go well together. You end you’re laughing at it — and the humor is not intentional. The only way it may help you glide over are the remix versions of classic songs like Pal pal dil ke paas, Aise na mujhe tum dekho, and Mahi ve that the youth of today may find hummable. There’s also the sexily clad Sherlyn Chopra and a desperately seeking Zarine Khan doing the routine romp. Barring the music, this film adds up to zilch.
The writer is a film critic and has been reviewing films for over 15 years. He also writes on music, art and culture, and other human interest stories.