April 04, 2020
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Main Aur Charles

All style and no substance.

Main Aur Charles
Main Aur Charles

Starring: Randeep Hooda, Richa Chadda, Adil Hussain, Tisca Chopra.
Directed by Prawaal Raman
Rating: *

Main Aur Charles is one big mess, all style and no substance. An opening scene, where we have a wonderful shot of a pair of expensive shoes on a man reclining on a boat, held promise, but the whole film went rapidly downhill after that. The first half takes us backwards and forward in the life of Charles (played by Randeep Hooda) from 1968 to 1986—in Bangkok, Goa, Delhi, Bombay—in small fragments that are utterly confusing even if the viewer is paying attention to the captions. Much of the story is told in voice-over rather than action, a lazy way of making a film. Main Aur Charles begins with a disclaimer that none of the characters bear any resemblance to anyone living or dead. Ha!

This is the story of a real-life psychopath, Charles Sobhraj, born of an Indian father and a Vietnamese mother, who preyed on women, seduced and drugged them before killing them for their money and passports. He was a charmer and, when caught, made several escapes from prison. He is currently in jail in Nepal.

Richa Chadda, who broke hearts in Masaan, is cast as Charles’s girlfriend. This fine actress is made to strip to her underwear for no particular purpose other than to titillate the audience. The filmmakers should be ashamed of themselves. Main Aur Charles gets one star for Randeep Hooda’s presence. The actor is incapable of giving a bad performance even in a bad film.

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