Star cast: Sunny Deol, Karan Kapadia, Karanvir Sharma, Ishita Dutta
Rating: ** (Two stars)
Movies revolving around sinister terror plots to blow up Mumbai have been done to death in the past 25 years, especially in the post 26/11 decade. And yet, it does not dissuade the Hindi film-makers from venturing out every now and then into their familiar zone on the pretext of trying out something new. But, pray, what’s left there to explore which has not been done ad nauseam on screen, unless one comes up with some zany ideas?
Blank is one such movie, which is again about a terror network’s conspiracy to wreak havoc in the metropolis by triggering off serial blasts through its army of suicide bombers. The concept of a fiyadeen is also not new in Bollywood as such, so the film-makers have sought to project one with a difference in Blank. Debutant Karan Kapadia, who plays a suicide bomber, has a live bomb embedded (not strapped) to his chest, which is further attached to his heart. Before you try to find out anything logical or plausible in the basic storyline, let me tell you that this bomb is actually connected to 24 other human bombs scattered across the city who will explode together if anything happens to him.
This is the only novelty in the plot that you can hope to get in this film. The rest of the 111-minute-long saga of the cops-versus-terrorists is on the predictable lines. But to give the credit to its debutant Director Behzad Khambata, it’s not a total washout. Though he failed to deliver an edge-of-the-seat thriller, Blank has its moments, especially in its action and chase sequences. A taut screenplay would have helped matters a lot.
Blank is basically the launch pad for Kapadia, son of the late actress Simple Kapadia, but the script does not allow him any scope to display his histrionics. He has to wear the same expression throughout the film and we will have to wait for his next project (if he gets one!) to know whether he is destined for a long innings or turns out to be yet another also-ran from the Dynasty Inc. of the tinsel town.
The movie stars Karanvir Sharma and Ishita Dutt playing the typical anti-terrorism squad (ATS) officers, always on their toes, trying to unravel the terror plot. It also features Jameel Khan as the head of a terror organisation. But the film primarily rests on the broad shoulders of Sunny Deol. Playing the ATS chief, Deol has delivered a nuanced performance after a long time. Unlike many similar roles that he has done in the past, he is not over the top here. But then, that may well be the undoing for the film’s prospects at the box office since his admirers love to see him in loud roles, where he lands his dhaai kilo ka punches on his adversaries.
In the past three-and-a-half decades, Deol has largely been known for his portrayals such as the one he played in Damini (1993), a lawyer he had to shout at the top of his voice in the courtroom to give vent to his angst over the inordinate delay in the judicial process or for that matter, the one in Gadar: Ek Prem Katha (2001) which saw him as a simpleton truck driver who can dig out a hand pump with his hands, when angry. Who remembers him anyway for his sensitive portrayals, like the one he did in films like Yateem (1988) anyway?
Thankfully, with the age fast catching up on him, he has learnt to restrain himself now. Blank, incidentally, has hit the screen barely a fortnight before his fate in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections is to be decided. Deol is contesting from the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat on the BJP ticket and regardless of how eminently forgettable this movie may ultimately turn out to be, playing an upright cop who gives duty precedence over his personal life in the film at this juncture will not harm him at the hustings.