MURDER 3 | 16 February, 2013

Fox Star Studios Pvt. Ltd. and Vishesh Films Pvt. Ltd.’s Murder 3 (UA) is the third in the Murder series. Vikram (Randeep Hooda), a fashion photographer, loves girlfriend Roshni (Aditi Rao Hydari) who gives up her job in Cape Town to relocate with him in India where he has a brilliant job offer. Vikram buys a bungalow in a secluded place where he and Roshni live together. On more occasions than one, Roshni sees that Vikram is getting too close to Naomi (Tonishaa Pawar) who works with him as a hair-stylist. One day, Vikram is shocked to see a video recording where Roshni tells him that she is walking out of his life. Roshni disappears from Vikram’s life. Vikram complains to the police which starts investigating into the case of Roshni’s disappearance.

Within no time, Vikram hooks up with Nisha (Sara Loren) who starts living in with him in the same bungalow. One of the two investigating police officers, Kabir (Rajesh Shringarpure), is known to Nisha and warns her to be careful of Vikram, adding that he is their main suspect in Rosh­ni’s case. Nisha, however, does not take Kabir’s warning seriously.

Nisha starts hearing strange voices in the bathroom of Vikram’s bungalow and also sees strange things happening around her. So what is exactly happening? Where has Roshni disappeared? Has Vikram murdered her? Has she committed suicide? Will the mystery ever be solved? Does Roshni get to know of Nisha’s presence in Vikram’s life? Does Nisha ever meet Roshni?

The film is a remake of the Spanish film, La Cara Occulta. The story is quite different from the regular films which are made, because of an unusual twist in the tale. Although the twist is a little difficult to believe, the audience gets taken in by the proceedings be­cause the drama after the twist moves at a fast pace and doesn’t give them time to think and also because the reason given for the twist seems a bit believable. Mahesh Bhatt and Amit Masurkar’s screenplay is quite engaging and keeps the audience involved and en­grossed. The first half is very ordinary but the drama picks up pace immediately after interval and then keeps the viewers hooked right till the end. The screenplay weaves a couple of ladies’ sentiments in the second half. What seems difficult to digest is that in spite of not being comfortable in the bungalow, Nisha chooses to ignore the warnings given by Kabir. The climax is unpredictable.

What the film lacks in is comedy. It could have done with a number of light moments, especially in the first half. Also, the sequence in which Nisha sets out to solve the mystery of the strange happenings in Vikram’s bungalow seems like a convenient and contriv­ed twist in the story. However, it must be mentioned to the credit of the screenplay writers that the goings-on in the entire second half are fast-paced. Sanjay Masoom’s dialogues are good.

Randeep Hooda does well but he could’ve done better had his character had more layers. His wig is terrible and makes him look a bit weird. Also, his casting in the main role is a minus point as the audience has come to associate the Murder brand with the very popular Em­raan Hashmi who was the hero in both the earlier Murder films. Aditi Rao Hydari does a lovely job and proves her mettle as a dependable actress. She approaches her role with perfect understanding. Debutante Sara Loren shows promise. She acts ably and also looks nice. Rajesh Shringarpure leaves a mark but gets very little scope. Bugs Bhargava Krishna is hardly funny as D.K. Bose. Shekhar Shukla, as Kabir’s senior investigating officer, Amble, is quite nice. Tonishaa Pawar (as Naomi) is ordinary. Karla Singh (in the role of the foreigner) and Shraddha Jaiswal (as Nisha’s friend, Sheena) lend the required support.

Vishesh Bhatt has chosen a rather difficult and unusual subject to debut as director and although he has handled the subject with maturity, he has made a very serious film without much comedy. Also, his casting of Randeep Hooda is improper. Music, scored by Pritam Chakraborty, Anu­pam Amod and Roxen Band, is very good but has not become popular. ‘Mat aazma re’ and ‘Teri jhuki nazar’ are appealing songs but their lack of popularity could have a lot to do with leading man Randeep Hooda’s non-dancing and non-hero image. Saeed Quadri’s lyrics are meaningful. Song picturisations (Raju Khan and Rajeev Surti) should’ve been much better. Raju Singh’s background music is effective and enhances the drama. Sunil Patel’s cinematography is lovely. Costumes, by Shivangi Suresh Bohra, are colourful and modern. Rajat Poddar’s sets are neat. Editing (Deven Murdeshwar) is sharp. Production and technical values are appropriate.

On the whole, Murder 3 is a fair entertainer but its business will suffer on account of the absence of Emraan Hashmi (whom the public associates with the Murder films) in the cast. It has taken a dull start almost everywhere and this will come in the way of territorial distributors making profits. As far as the pro­ducers are concerned, they’ve already recovered around 75-80% of their in­vestment from sale of satellite and audio rights. Recovery of the balance investment (from territorial theatrical business of the remaining cir­cuits, rights of which are held by themselves) should not be much of a problem for them.

Released on 15-2-’13 at Regal (daily 2 shows), Eros (daily 1 show), New Excelsior (daily 2 shows) and other cinemas of Bombay by Fox Star Studios India Pvt. Ltd. Publicity: good, quantitatively speaking, but not upto the mark, quality-wise. Opening: weak. …….Also released all over. Opening was below the mark everywhere.