Genre: Thriller, Comedy, Mystery
Director: Sriram Raghavan
The mystery/thriller genre in Hindi films has been largely under-utilised and barely exploited, save for the odd ones such as B R Chopra’s ‘Hamraaz’ or ‘Ittefaq’. But even in these, the suspense unfolded in the dying (pun intended) moments of the films. Officially inspired by the French short film ‘The Piano Tuner’ (2010), director Sriram Raghavan has made a memorable thriller, with dollops of comedy, in which the mystery is largely revealed early on.
Ayushman Khurrana plays Madhur, a blind pianist aiming to participate in a prestigious concert in London. Based in Pune, he earns a living playing in up-market Franco’s, owned by Sophie (Radhika Apte). Former movie star turned real-estate agent Pramod Sinha (Anil Dhawan in a rare big-screen appearance after his heydays in the 70s), a regular at Franco’s, invites Madhur to regale his young wife Simi (Tabu) on their third wedding anniversary.
What follows, including a murder (the body count steadily rising), elevates the film to a thrill-a-minute immensely watchable film. Along with Tabu and Apte, two of Hindi films’ most talented actresses and Khurrana’s sincere portrayal of a blind musician, Manav Vij as the unfaithful police officer, Zakir Hussain as the unethical Dr. Swami, and minor actors too pitch in with more than decent performances. And of course, the quirky one-liners are a delight!
Daniel George’s background score and Amit Trivedi’s songs (with the catchy ‘Naina ka kya kasoor’), with the piano pieces, have played an integral part in the film. With the film devoted to yesteryears’ Chhaya Geet and Chitrahaar, one is hardly surprised to hear Anil Dhawan’s hit songs from Annadata, Piya Ka Ghar, Hawas and Honeymoon. And at a crucial moment in the film, don’t miss ‘A Fifth of Beethoven’ (Saturday Night Fever).
The second half slackens a bit and there are too many sub-plots, but there are more than enough hints for a probable sequel in the offing. And as Hitchcock would have said, “Don’t miss the beginning and the end.”