Thrill is Missing

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Apr 2018 11:41:48




By Aasawari Shenolikar

A three-year-old girl goes missing from a resort in Mauritius. It’s definitely a matter of grave concern. But none of the characters - neither the parents nor the investigative officer demonstrate any apprehension about the disappearance of the ailing three year old named Titli. While the Detective incongruously named Buddhu (Annu Kapoor), who to his credit has a hundred percent success rate of solving cases, is busy honing his French in a godforsaken awful accent, the parents Sushant (Manoj Bajpayee) and Aparna (Tabu) display no urgency or anxiety about the missing child.

Discrepancies in their individual statements makes Buddhu see red. Intense interrogation makes Sushant fumble and mumble and the needle of suspicion points to him, leading him to declare that Titli doesn’t exist and that Aparna is suffering from mental imbalance with schizophrenia also thrown in to lend gravitas to her problems. Is that really the truth - who actually is Titli and where is she? Even though the light is thrown on this question in the tepid climax, the answer becomes evident much too early in Mukul Abhyankar directed Missing.

What could have been a gripping thrilling tale, goes downhill with its predictability and the many loopholes that mar the narrative. Little professionalism is evident in this very amateurish attempt to shock the viewers. The element of mystery, dread, fear or trepidation is never felt in the picture perfect locations with its picture perfect characters. The unconvincing plot is not compelling and so fails to hold the attention of the viewers. When a child goes missing, the passions need to be raw, not as superficial as a lone tear rolling down a perfectly rogued cheek; the sense of dread should steadily increase gripping the viewer in the taut storyline, ensuring that one doesn’t blink lest one miss out on a significant move. But in Abhyankar’s Missing, all the elements associated with a thriller are missing. What is not missing is the lethargy that creeps at a steady pace as the film, with each frame, takes on very drab overtones. The convoluted and undercooked plot incorporates twists and turns just to increase the length of the feature film without any thought to add value to the narrative. The subplots are appended without any imagination or cerativity.

Bajyapyee’s character borders on being eccentric. Shown as a compulsive but harmless flirt, he does little justice to this part. He is clearly uncomfortable playing the lady killer. His regular chutzpah is missing. Tabu is not the distraught mother seraching for her missing child, she comes across as listless and it appears that she didn’t want to be a part of this. To add to the suspense and the drama that unfolds, she could have been shown to be little crafty and creepy. But with a single expression, she traverses through two hours of reel time. Her ability to dazzle in a role tailor made for her is missing.

As for the Sherlock Holmes who goes around mouthing sil vouz plait, Merci and au revoir, subtlety has never been his forte. One can only snigger at his awkward mannerisms. What is not missing is his outlandish behaviour. Abhyankar definitely had a different story and he could have created it into something immensely watchable. Unfortunately along with him not being able to do justice to the chair that he was sitting in, his team members too failed to support him to raise the level of the film. Sharp editing does wonders, but the snip snip of the scissors is missing; music has the ability to bring in the right feel and emotions (I still shudder at the background score of The Ring that has the ability to bring on the goosebumps with its haunting notes), but M Kreem’s score is too raucous and not in tune with the nature of the plot. Oh! And I forgot to mention, even the audience were ‘Missing’ from the theatre - I had to literally twist the arm of the theatre authorities to run the movie for me alone. Thank God, a couple of couples walked in later - but then they were really not interested in watching Missing. Not that they missed out on a great movie!

The Hitavada Rating: