Himesh Reshammiya channels his inner Raaj Kumar (yesteryears’ matinee idol) to play Ravi Kumar, an arrogant cop turned movie star in director Ananth Mahadevan’s 1960s set murder mystery, Xposé. The script is heavily inspired by real incidents, and proclaims so too. The character inspired by Zeenat Aman, Zara, has appeared in a dud called ‘Ujwal Nirmal Sheetal’ while the Parveen Babi inspired Chandni has a hit called ‘Reena Mera Naam’.
Zara (Sonali Raut) mysteriously falls to her death one night. Poor visual effects might fool you into thinking you are watching an animated film for a moment, though the opening credits are more James Bond in style.
Investigations reveal it was not suicide but murder. Who did it? The list of suspects is long: Her rival Chandni (Zoya Afroz), her sugar daddy (Bharat Dhabolkar), a music composer (Yo Yo Honey Singh), a male co-star etc. It is not really clear why some of them are suspects at all. But Ravi Kumar solves the crime in the blink of an eye and the court laps up every word he says – no need for an investigation or confirmation!
While the murder bookends the screenplay, the scenes in between are devoted to establishing the characters, one more bizarre than the next, as narrated by black marketer played by Irrfan. But honestly who cares about the story, or who-did-it. Not even the makers really bother fixing the numerous holes in the plot, after all who cares about dance, expression and pose, when your film is called Xposé!
Ravi Kumar is inexplicably surly and full of himself. When asked what role he is doing in a film where someone else is playing the hero, in his usual deadpan way he says, “Superhero ka” (the superhero). Thankfully, sunglasses mostly cover his inexpressive eyes! And when informed that he needs to put make up before a shot, he retorts, “Uparwale ne make up karke bheja hai” (God sent me down with make up on). These dialogues are the kind you want to applaud, whistle at and watch on repeat! Because they make an already bad film so much more fun!
A large party scene, clearly inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ (though the swimmers in one-piece suits and bathing caps is far from s**y), is the backdrop for a big song and dance number with the oddest lyric: “Ice cream khaungi, Kashmir jaaungi, Sholo mein bhadke jiyaa”! Huh?
Xposé is Himesh Reshammiya living out his superstar fantasy on screen, even if it eludes him off it. His acting remains wooden, his eyes vacant, his body language stiff, but the 60s allow him to use retro beats and vintage clothing. This is a vainglorious showcase for a man with a never-say-die spirit, but also one needing a reality check!