Murder on the Wannabe Express

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The Plot
Billionaire Kabir Malhotra (Anupam Kher) summons a drug dealer, a Thai prime ministerial candidate, a British journalist and a Bollywood star to his Greek island for mysterious reasons.  He knows something about each of them.  High jinks ensue.

By  Nisha Susan

GAME
DIRECTOR
Abhinay Deo
STARRING
Abhishek Bachchan, Kangana Ranaut, Shahana Goswami, Sarah Jane Dias

+ 10 for creating bollywood’s first malayali protagonist neil menon (Abhishek Bachchan). This following Bollywood’s first Ladakhi protagonist (Phunsukh Wangdu of 3 Idiots) is a big thrill for our multiculti heart. He is bored, neurotic, feels huzun in Istanbul and reads Murakami, making him utterly convincing. A tired minus three for revealing he is only pretending to be a Malayali because by then we have given up.

– 5 for line after line of farhan akhtar’s translated-from-english dialogue. (Our favourite: Latin zubaan mein ek kahavat hain. Cui bono.) Minus two for those that seem to have been written by Abhishek Bachchan — a mysterious Chelsea football segue.

+ 6 for the shameless aspirations of the script. Agatha Christie meets Ludlum wannabe meets CSI meets us howling in laughter. Of course, the billionaire must say, “I’ll see them in the library” to his secretary as if it is Downton Abbey and discuss wine as if it is the Travel and Living Channel.

– 10 for creating an op ramsay (Boman Irani), a politician so useless he is unable to tell a reporter where his funds come from. He also dies because of a single sting operation. We miss omnipotent, shark-loving grand villains like Shakal fromShaan.

+ 5 to Kangana and Shahana for playing policewoman and journalist/lost daughter in ways that don’t embarrass anyone in a thriller with holes in the plot so big you could put a few Greek islands in them for safekeeping.

+ 5 to the pretty face of Sarah Jane Dias We feel bad pointing out that an exotic dancer without a posterior is no exotic dancer. However, she was nice to look at during her Monte Carlo sweater ad style romance with Abhishek Bachchan.

+ 5 for the most awesome updating of Indian technology optimism. Witness the British investigators conducting surveillance across countries in a way God would envy.

– 10 for the Kabir Malhotra has a twin number. Oy, mastermind, why didn’t you just bump off your rich brother? Why toy with our tiny minds? And most mysteriously, Kabir Malhotraji, whatever were you planning with your assembled menagerie on the island? What was the Game?

Nisha Susan is Assistant Editor with Tehelka
nishasusan@tehelka.com

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