Sara Loren's characters first dialogues in Murder 3 go like this: Mujhay akaylay aur tanha aadmiyon ki aankhon mai aansoon acchay nahin lagtay.” Literally translated to, “I don’t like seeing tears in the eyes of alone and lonely men”
Tells you a lot about the movie doesn’t it?
Murder 3, a bland, borderline comatose, “official” adaptation of the Columbian thriller La Cara Oculta (The Hidden Face) flaunts the stock elements from Vishesh Films – gratuitous sensuality, lip-locking and bad dialogues – with wonted candor and of course that is perhaps the best reason to skip the ticket line at the cinema (unless, of course, you’re into what Vishesh Films are selling).
First thing first though: the only thing murdered in Murder 3 is one’s endurance and perhaps The Hidden Face’s originality.
Opening in South Africa, Vikram (Randeep Hooda), a struggling photographer, gets a job prospect and flies to Mumbai with his considerate girlfriend Roshni (Aditi Rao Hyderi), a prospering architect.
Vikram, however, has a problem with fidelity, and soon Roshni disappears, leaving behind a video-message on a SLR camera.
Truly hurt, Vikram resorts to an urban man’s best friend in these circumstances, alcohol.
Drunk to the core, Vikram’s intoxicated charms draw him to Nisha, a waitress with a knack for the disheartened.
They click, and shift into Vikram and Roshni’s out-of-city house, tailor made for haunting. Color-coded furniture, finely placed light sources, a haunted bathroom and as if you haven’t guessed, Roshni’s still there.
Ms. Loren, who once had a flourishing television career in Pakistan, now only has an average reception in Bollywood. The bathtub haunts her; the showers and the bathroom sink too.
While it may sound more like “Raaz 4” than Murder, the film is in fact, neither. What it is is bad.
Actually, make that abysmal – and that goes for the film’s soundtrack and its thread-bare side plot about Ms. Loren’s past romance and a police investigation, as well.
Mr. Hooda, often good, is emphatic and shifty without reason. He walks, delivers his lines, shoots pictures of models in bondage and lingerie, and takes his women to bed with the zealousness of a stunned buffalo.
Ms. Rao-Hyderi sways between adequate to amateurish, while Ms. Loren, a picture of perpetual pout, walks around like Sunny Leone’s character from Jism 2 (http://dawn.com/2012/08/10/movie-review-jism-2/): half-zoned out and perceptible to self-pity (at one point, she starts jumping on the bed like a 10 year old, breaking her character’s mold).
Debutant Vishesh Bhatt, though of a directing-lineage (he is Mukesh Bhatt’s son), has a lot of catching up to do. His actors are base sketches of what their characters ought to be.
There is a twist that saves Murder 3 from a bad ending, but since this is a copy-paste adaptation of someone else’s original idea, the points go to them. All Mr. Bhatt gets points for is botching up the execution. Placing cameras, lighting sets, importing horror doesn’t make a good film; but then again, that’s just me.
Directed by Vishesh Bhatt; Written by Mahesh Bhatt, with additional screenplay by Amit Masurkar; Music by Pritam and Roxen (band); Cinematography, Sunil Patel; Editing, Devendra Murdeshwar; Produced by Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt; Associate Producer Sakshi Bhatt; Executive Produced by Cristian Conti, Kumkum Saigal.
Starring: Randeep Hooda, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sara Loren, Rajesh Shringarpure, Shekhar Shukla and Bugs Bhargava.
Released by Fox Star Studios.