The Film: Samay
Starring: Sushmita Sen
Mystery thrillers have always been something that Bollywood has experimented with unsuccessfully in the past. Even the recent "88 Antop Hill" was a letdown. What the makers don't realise is that the proof of the thriller lies in the climax, and the treatment can all go waste if the climax doesn't gel.
Malavika Chauhan (Sushmita Sen, she has always come across an intelligent person doing inane roles. Thankfully, this is not the case here) is an ACP, who is brought in to investigate the murder of a financial whiz. She tries to find clues to get to the murderer with help from her assistant Satya (Sushant Singh in his first role where he does not snatch the whole credit from the lead actors).
The forensic analysis of the murder done by Doc (Rajesh Khera in a stupid and irritating role) further deepens the mystery as no clue can be found as to the murder weapon or the presence of the murderer at the scene of the crime. While still in the middle of solving this crime, another murder is committed; that of a leading actress in the film industry.
Without any rhyme or reason, Sushmita starts suspecting a common person to be behind both the murders. She realises that she is on the hit list of a gun for hire, but before she can get to him, he too gets killed. All this leads her to desperation to find clues as to the identity of the killer, but she seems at a loss in getting any nearer to him/her. A number of red herrings are brought in to build up the suspense at each stage of the film, but fail to retain the viewer's interest beyond a certain point.
As stated earlier, the weakest part of the movie is its climax, and the explanation for the murders is downright ridiculous, and leaves the viewers absolutely disappointed. Also, some of the clues that she gets do not have any coherent relationship with what she deduces from them. .
Sushmita Sen is a delight to watch even though she does not get to wear glamorous clothes and has to contend with a horrid hairstyle. She is the main protagonist of the film, and she does manage to carry off the role very ably.
Sushant Singh is relegated to being an assistant who does nothing more than mouth lines like "Jee Madamjee" after every few seconds. For the first time in his career, he is not capable enough to bring the focus onto himself from the lead players.
Rajesh Khera, Tushar Dalvi and Mohan Kapur try to support the lead cast, but are not of much help. What helps certainly is the item number by Lucy Bartholemew though it is completely out of place, and unnecessary. .
The skipper of this project, director, writer Robby Grewal does an average job, and never does he show anything beyond the ordinary, either in his storytelling skills or through the tautness of his script. He seems to have written the script in English as a lot of the dialogues have lost coherence in their translation from English to Hindi. He also has a major Jodie Foster hangover, which is why Sushmita looks as if she has been modelled from Jodie's turn in "Silence of the Lambs". He has a Hitchcockian fetish for long brooding scenes, and the first scene is a direct reference to Hitchcock's "Vertigo'. The part where the director succeeds is in keeping the film on a single track, without resorting to gimmicks like a comedy or romantic track.
The songs have also been kept to a minimum, and the item number and a snatch of another song is all that is present for means of a diversion. This relieves Sandeep Chowta, as the music director; of any responsibility. The background score is jarring in a couple of places. Editing by Aarif Sheikh could have been better.
1) The director, Robby Grewal was an ad film maker earlier, and his company, Red Ice Films (which is a co-producer for this movie), has made a number of well known ad films - which include ads for Horlicks, Air Tel, and Standard Chartered Bank.
2) Sushmita is playing a role which was originally written for a male actor. Robby had taken the script to the producers iDream Productions, who thought that the subject would be more effective if the male lead was changed to a female protagonist.
3) Not many know that Sushant Singh is included in the cast of Farhan Akhtar's war drama Lakshya.
Sushmita fans have no excuse not to see this film. She is present in nearly all the scenes and has a commanding presence in all of them too. For the rest, watch it if you don't have anything better to do, and if you have already watched "MMDBCH". For lovers of noir cinema, move out after the killer's identity is revealed.