Director: Shyam Ramsay
He was better off being Mihir in Kyonki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. At least the entire soap-struck nation united in protest when he was suddenly bumped off in the thick of intrigue and action. Now, going by the empty halls, no one really wants to raise a lather about whether Amar Upadhyay comes or goes on the big screen. Makes you wonder what prompted this cherubic, good boy to commit an unpardonable mistake like Dhund. And makes you wonder even more why you should be forced to endure him for three hours romancing Aditi Govitrikar in hideous, transparent shirts. Well, to stand corrected, he does a bit more—like conspiring in hiding a dead body and then also has to keep running away from the risen dead.
Sounds like yet another version of I know What You Did Last Summer? It is. Only the setting here is a beauty contest. Simran (Aditi) has ambitions of becoming a beauty queen. Irfan Khan is the brother of another ambitious pyt who warns Simran against contesting for the title. She does and even bags the crown. Reason enough for Irfan to gun for her. But, in the process, the poor man gets killed himself. The film stands by all the norms of a slasher film—there's a dead man seeking revenge and a series of victims. But Dhund has no shocks, nothing unexpected to take the viewers to the edge of the seat. The Ramsay House of Horrors needs to realise that their time-worn, assembly-line scare tactics don't work anymore. How often can we keep getting terrified by decrepit havelis, men in trenchcoat-and-dagger routines roaming around in rainy nights? All that the actors needed to do in Dhund was to look scared. They couldn't even manage that well. If Mrs India Aditi can't even play herself, ie a beauty queen, then can she ever have a career as an actress? The entire histrionic responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of the wonderful Irfan. It's hard to imagine that The Warrior actor can be reduced to such a tepid dead man walking.
Dhund gives thrillers a very bad name and makes you long for the Danny-Zeenat-Sanjay Khan-Navin Nischol Dhund of yore. At least B.R. Chopra knew how to tell a story and could keep the audience on a leash. Dhund II comes quickly on the toes of thrill-less thrillers like Baaz, A Bird in Danger and Kucchh To Hai, sure signs of sudden death for the countless other cliffhangers waiting for their turn at the b-o. On the flip side, Dhund is the kind of film that can increase the tolerance level of any critic and can make one look at every other bad film with tremendous kindness, even indulgence. It couldn't get worse.