‘Blackmail’, apart from riding high on the shoulders of Irrfan Khan, also has been hot among the audience because of Abhinay Deo’s (director of ‘Delhi Belly’) name attached to it. Its quirky promos and offbeat songs already hinted at what the makers are going to serve us in the main course.
‘Blackmail’ starts with Dev (Irrfan Khan) playing Pac-man post his office hours. In the next few scenes, it becomes clear how he’s an honest husband suffering from a problematic marriage. Dev, due to lack of excitement in his sexual life, starts implementing some bizarre ways to cope up with the situation. On getting exposed to the fact that he has a cheating wife in Reena (Kirti Kulhari), Dev plots a juvenile plan of blackmailing her.
This entire process of blackmailing, then, includes his wife’s lover Ranjit (Arunoday Singh), his wife Dolly (Divya Dutta), Dev’s friend Anand (Pradhuman Singh Mall) and his colleague Prabha (Anuja Sathe). Resulting into some hilarious and shocking situations, the crux of the story unfolds in the second half.
Definitely, one went in with sky high expectations given the genre and director; and it got fulfilled apart from minor glitches at some parts. Given the depth of the script, it’s natural to involve something that’s not totally required. Movies such as this thrive on the performances of its supporting characters and ‘Blackmail’ manages to excel in that department.
The essence of the film has inclusion of dark humour which is bound to make you miss ‘Delhi Belly’. Initially, the first half of the movie makes one question the makers but very smartly and subtly this puzzle gets complete by the end. Abhinay Deo decides to end the movie with a similar quirk which he has maintained throughout but it will undoubtedly attract two schools of thought.
This film is like a human body; as every part of the body is essential to keep it running, same as every performance in this movie makes it what it is. Irrfan Khan leads the ship with his usual brilliance. His character is very complexly written but it takes someone like him to deliver this with such ease. Kirti Kulhari is fine but her character as a cheating wife is half-baked. There’s no flaw in her acting or beautiful presence but her character misses the spark.
Arunoday Singh delivers a terrific performance in the film as he breaks the stereotyped thinking everyone had regarding him. Pradhuman Singh Mall who plays the role of Dev’s friend Anand Tripathi is brilliant with his comic timing. Divya Dutta as the dominating wife gets under the skin of her character to perform with perfection. Two other ‘special mention’ performances are of Gajraj Rao as Detective Chawla and Anuja Sathe as Prabha; both of them create the required impact and are very good.
Amit Trivedi’s songs are the soul of ‘Blackmail’. The quirky “Sataasat” portrays the mental frustration of Dev, the revenge anthem “Badla” is played in bits and pieces wherever accurately required, the most impactful song “Nindaraan Diyaan” helps to build the bridge which takes directly to the heart of Dev. Mickey McCleary’s background score consists of major chunks from Trivedi’s songs but is overall well executed.
From ‘Sholay’ to ‘Badlpaur’, Bollywood has seen many revenge movies but ‘Blackmail’ stands apart from every one of them. More than blackmailing, Director Deo focuses on the portion of how every character’s life is getting affected by it. Parveez Sheikh, the man behind the beautiful screenplay of Kangana Ranaut’s ‘Queen’, has penned down one which is flawed yet beautiful. Roping in Jay Oza as a cinematographer might just be the best decision of the makers. We wanted to miss ‘Delhi Belly’ and Jay has designed a movie like ‘Raman Raghav 2.0’; perfect choice, isn’t it?
On the whole ‘Blackmail’ is an entertaining whodunit; the unique thing about it, is everything is revealed beforehand yet the mysterious element is maintained till the end.