Cast: Arjun Rampal, Jacqueline Fernandez, Ranbir Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Rajit Kapoor
Director: Vikramjit Singh
Rating: One and a half star
The review, criticism, appraisal as well as minute examination of Roy can all be summed up in one word: Hain? Hain, which must be followed by either ? or !, is not a word listed in the Hindi lexicon. It is a visceral articulation, expression of a range of emotions severe exasperation to distress, listlessness to maddening rage, bafflement to commiseration and is always accompanied with the appropriate facial contortions. A shill “Hain?” is also the instinctive and most succinct response when there’s much ado by the obtuse.
So, Roy. In a world meticulously conjured up and constructed by an aesthete of the posh-lifestyle-store variety lies a muddled idea of a story posturing as a romantic thriller.
Before the muddled idea could have grown into a stammering story, writer-director Vikramjit Singh’s shouted, “Action!” Someone should have screamed then: “Hain?” No one did. And that’s why Roy is one big Hain?
Roy begins in what could be described as mixed medium. A gentleman’s voiceover tells us a story about a robber he saw as a child. That robber and his story has obsessed Kabir Grewal (Arjun Rampal) since then and he has, in the nagging, psychological pursuit of that chor, written and directed many hit films. He’s currently trying to write Guns III, whose protagonist is again that robber, Roy.
Another man is obsessed with this robber, Detective D.S. Wadia (Rajit Kapoor). He shows the robber’s sketch to his team, essentially to impress upon us certain facts that pretend to be significant to the plot: though the robber has done haath-ki-safai at The Louvre, a palace in Qatar, Malaysia’s Petronas Towers, and select places in India and China, he has never been caught. Worse, no one knows what he looks like. All they have is a taunting sketch of the nakab-posh chor with only his eyes and eyebrows visible. We can make out it’s Ranbir Kapoor. The detective and his team can’t.
Back to Kabir, whom the director has encased in pretension faking old world charm. In his house jazz music is playing, a typewriter is waiting, while Kabir, wearing a trilby, smokes and slouches here or there, perpetually looking grim and grubby. He doesn’t talk much except with Mira (Shernaz Patel), his AD or something, who calls occasionally. He’s aloof, rude and at times utters one-liners that director Vikramjit Singh lets hang in the air. Bulls*** masquerading as profundities.
This laborious, self-conscious fabrication is intended to have an impact: we must think there’s some internal turmoil, that Kabir is a brooder of serious stuff. But we can’t. It’s Arjun Rampal after all. We know him. He’s gorgeous and vacuous. Before and in Roy, there’s no real proof that a single interesting thought dwells behind that pretty face.
There’s another old man (now affected but still interesting Barun Chanda) who runs Roy the robber. “See this half painting? It hangs there. So-and-so would like it for $120 million. Go fetch.” And off goes Roy. To Malaysia.
Kabir is also on his way to Malaysia, to shoot Guns III. Upon arrival Roy meets Tia and Kabir meets Ayesha Aamir, a filmmaker from England. Henceforth, all of cinematographer Ahmed Khan and director Vikramjit Singh’s attention is on Jacqueline Fernandez. Ok, she’s nice looking, shapely and has worked hard on her deltoid muscles. But listless we grow.
Vikramjit Singh assembled all the ingredients, cast and characters required for a thriller, but he forgot one crucial thing: story. Since he doesn’t have one, his Roy is busy building mood to just one effect: Zzzzzzzz.
Arjun Rampal is channelling his inner angsty hippie here. He gets the slumped demeanour right. The stubble and even the dandruff-hair work. But all’s lost in that exquisite but stony face. Is something the matter with Ranbir Kapoor? First hyper-stupidity in Besharam and now sleep-walking through this cuckoo? Should we worry about Bombay Velvet? Fernandez is, well, easy on the eye and charming. Now for some acting and diction lessons, please....