Cast: Shiv Pundit, Sandeepa Dhar, Varun Badola, Vipin Sharma
Director: Saurabh Varma
We all know that any filmmaker while planning his ambitious (I am assuming he must be putting his heart and soul into it!) venture must be trying hard to focus all his energies on the “great concept” that he has conceived. More so, if he has conceptualised a gritty action hostage thriller. Hence, he hires a writer to incorporate elements to make sure that there are enough moments in the narrative for the audience to remain seated. And so, writer-director Saurabh Varma’s film 7 Hours To Go, based in Mumbai, all the ingredients in place: a rich businessman who is, you guessed it right — unscrupulous; a sexy young girl, who gets killed; a tough gun-toting no-nonsense investigative policewoman; some quirky characters; a revenge motive. All of it crammed into its 115-minute runtime!
Varma also uses Ganesh visarjan as the backdrop to make sure there is reason to add some unnecessary drama as well. Supposedly inspired by a true event, the film revolves around a hostage crisis and what happens within seven hours thereafter. A police officer, Arjun Ranavat (Shiv Pundit) from Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, storms into the Bombay high court and takes seven men hostage single-handedly. Soon we get to know that his girlfriend was murdered by a businessman, Kabeer Khemka (Rohit Vir), and all he wants is justice for her.
In walks police officer Ramesh Dhadke (Varun Badola) who is not sure why for such a petty crime “he” had to be called. But he isn’t relieved when hostage-taker Ranavat finds him unsuited for the job, has a bigger plan in store, and demands that bold and gutsy ACP Nandini Shukla (Sandeepa Dhar) be brought in. The cops do their best to handle the difficult situation, but soon realise that Ranavat’s immaculate preparation and planning cannot be outwitted. Taking full advantage of all the CCTV footage he has access to, he is always one step ahead of any and every police action. He also lays down conditions, and gives seven hours to the police to find out who the killer is.
Ranavat’s strategy is to divert any attention from his other plot to break into the adjoining building owned by Khemka. That could have an interesting twist the entire account seems like a work of multiple unlikely plot strands. What follows is a mess of come clichés, cops and some tacky computerised effects that may just be a little too much for you to handle. 7 Hours… is the kind of film that comes along with precisely the right blend of energy and amateurishness. Varma had earlier directed Micky Virus, a comic thriller about a hacker, which sank without a trace. He gets a little more ambitious this time trying to give us a feel of a Hollywoodian fast-track actioner, only if he had an engagingly taut storyline that, despite a complex plot, either entertained; or dazzled us with performances, surprises and visual treats. Instead, what we have is an unnecessarily elaborately designed sequence of events that add neither mystery nor suspense.
Among the cast, Badola is pretty much a veteran by now, whose wisecracks are good enough reasons for the film to pass muster. Dhar shows no spark, not even oomph when she reveals her black bra while changing right in the midst of all the action, much to a character playing a television reporter’s wide-eyed look. Pundit “acts” tough, but since no character has been fleshed out he too remains more or less on the periphery of your recall! Varma must have got excited at the thought of making a thriller, but forgot to add punch to the tame climax. Not that there was much meat in the first place. Or anything as a takeaway. If only he knew the age-old adage about films: good storytelling is so last year, ample boob shots are eternal!
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....