Film Review: Awarapan

Film: Awarapan

Director: Mohit Suri

Producer: Mukesh Bhatt

Cast: Emraan Hashmi, Shriya Saran, Mrinalini Sharma, Shaad Randhawa, Ashutosh Rana

Rating: 2.5/5

This film could have risen to a level unparalleled by any other film ever made, but all it does is crumble aimlessly.

Awarapan can best be described as an outright commercial mishmash of mainstream ideas coupled with one beautiful plot. You know the director wanted to play with the beautiful lights Hong Kong offered, you know he wanted to play with shadows and colours; the best part is that he does so, but it’s so unnatural that it ends up being unflattering.

Partly like Ji-woon-Kim’s A Bittersweet life, Awarapan picks up on the story of Shivam (Emraan Hashmi), a hit man working for Malik (Ashutosh Rana). A haunting past follows him through each breathing day of work under Malik, as his right hand man. Before his trip to London, Malik asks Shivam to keep an eye on his young love, Reema (Mrinalini); this, as he suspects her of adultery.

Shivam soon discovers that Reema, is indeed unfaithful. Realising this, Malik orders him to eliminate her. Just as he is geared to kill Reema and lover boy, Bilal (Rehan Khan), his past, returns to haunt him. He sets them free, but soon is found trying to set his own life free from Malik’s henchmen and Malik himself. In search of redemption, faith and love, Shivam must battle the evils that surround him.

A film that could have been mainly and marvelously about a single character is split on many occasions. While at times it looks spectacular, it is like a circus with pointless characters cramming up space in a single scene, in many others. Even the characters are  shallow; barring the lead characters (mainly Saran, Hashmi and Rana) none of the other characters are established, what they do, where they come from, none of which is established.

The narrative with the constant flashback references, turns bothersome.  Certain dialogues are fantastic, but then the absurd characters with their lines ruin the moment for you.

On the plus side, the single thread the film runs on, that is, each of us deserves to be free, is a good thought. This thought flows through the film in a unified manner.

Average at best, a brilliantly framed shot and play of light would have transported it and would have been something we could have celebrated together. The colour is forced, the actions are forced, and digital enhancements ruin it. Even the excess that could have come across as something novel turns to be inconsistent.

The beauty of a camera that sees and allows us to see what is often missed, is not in the least probing. The movements are tepid and the sight is not striking. Even the editing is lackluster. The quick cuts and polish are rarely utilised. The fine-tuning that could have been delivered on the editing table seems to be given a miss.

Now, you don’t expect characters that are meant to do blow you away with their performances. Kohli as a revengeful druggie does well to a point, and then he begins to overdo it with an extra laugh here and an additional smirk there. Sharma, with all the crying and singing is OK. Saran in the few minutes she appears, is refreshing and provides a compelling performance. Randhawa and Rehan are blank and Acharya goes overboard in trying to prove he is mean. Rana and Vidhyarthi deliver perhaps their best performances; they are true to their characters. It is Hashmi who steals the thunder, by rendering his best performance yet. He carries the film through, though at times his whispers and whimpers fail to create the needed impact.

Great buzz is what is surrounding this film, so obviously the initial collections will be great. But then expect it to drop in many centers and stick around in others. This one might just end up being an average grosser with the mixed response it gathers.

Awarapan is a free ticket to Hong Kong; on the whole it’s a restrained watch.