The Hindi film industry has been churning out thrillers ever since it came into being. However, the number of films (and the ones that succeed) continues to remain low. When one thinks of directors who have carved a career out of making thrillers, Abbas-Mustan’s name immediately comes to one’s mind. Though the director duo has tried out other genres as well (‘Chori Chori Chupke Chupke’, ‘Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon’), the major part of their filmography consists of thrillers. Barring a few misses, most of their films have managed to do well at the box-office. While their last film was the successful comedy ‘Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon’, they are back to making a film belonging to a genre they are synonymous with. ‘Machine’, their latest offering, introduces Abbas Burmawalla’s son Mustafa.
Sarah Thapar (Kiara Advani) comes from a well-to-do family and believes in helping out those in need. She studies in Woodstock College, Himachal Pradesh and donates a large amount of money to a school based in the same city. A minor accident leads to Sarah bumping into Ransh (Mustafa Burmawallah), who has just moved into the city and has taken admission in the same college which Sarah studies in. Sarah gradually falls in love with Ransh but does not know if he feels the same for her. Aditya (Eshan Shankar), whom Sarah considers to be her best friend, is in love with her and is waiting for the right moment to propose to her.
‘Machine’ borrows some important plot points from ‘Baazigar’ and ‘Khiladi’, two of Abbas-Mustan’s most successful films. Let alone these two films, it is not a patch on some of the lesser known films made by the duo. Though some of the twists and turns in the film do take you by surprise initially, the writer (Sanjeev Kaul) fails to back it up with good reasoning. The first half sporadically offers some engaging moments and ends on an interesting cliff-hanger but post that, the film goes downhill and culminates in a climax that is outrageous, to say the least.
After leaving a strong impression, despite having a limited screen time, in her last film ‘M.S Dhoni: The Untold Story’, Kiara Advani gets a substantial role to play in this film. She looks gorgeous and delivers a powerful performance. Mustafa hams in a few scenes but does fairly well as a first-timer. He might not have a great screen presence but he has talent which can be honed further before he faces the camera again. Ronit Roy is saddled with a poorly written part that leaves the actor no scope to give a good account of himself. Eshan Shankar looks awkward initially but his performance grows on you gradually. It is a delight to watch Johny Lever in a film after a hiatus.
Abbas-Mustan are known to make sleek looking thrillers, so it is disappointing to see them coming up with a film that has the look and feel of a film from the early 2000s. Yes, their last film, despite being fairly entertaining, had a slightly dated look to it but just four years back, they had made ‘Race 2’ which was a stylish and engrossing film by all means. ‘Machine’ is one of the weakest Abbas-Mustan films but let’s not give up on them. They have consistently delivered entertaining films and one hopes they bounce back with their next.