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Blackmail Movie Review: It Is Wickedly Funny!

Blackmail
Blackmail

Blackmail

Starring Irrfan. Kriti Kulhari,Arunodoy Singh, Divya Dutta, Praduman  Singh, Anuja Sathe. Omi Vaidya

Directed by Abhinay Deo

Rating:****(4 Stars)

 If I didn’t know about Irrfan’s health  issue I’d still be shaken by his hangdog unenthusiastic  expression as he plods through his chosen life of  a born loser in this savagely funny satire  on adultery and blackmail.

In the  strikingly shot(by cinematographer Jay Oza) opening we see Irrfan struggling to stay afloat through his office hours , fighting shy of going home  because the spark has gone from his marriage and  wife who watches cheesy song  sequences on television to while away her time. Actually it was never there, the spark I mean. In a wedding song that comes on at the end  of the film taken from Irrfan’s Dev’s  marriage to Reena(Kirti Kulhari) seven years earlier, we see how mismatched and ill-at-ease the  couple was.

 This is a marriage where adultery  is  waiting to happen.And it does sooner than we  expect. The takeoff point  for  the comedy is so steeply damning and done in the  film with such  humorous indulgence that we left pretty dazed  by the absurdity  of it all. From the adulterous episode Blackmail builds into an edifice of outrageous eventualities all  bursting at the seams  but never getting out of control, such is  the  director Abhinay Deo’s control  over  his  characters, all victims of a scam that boggles the mind, tickles the senses and sets our imagination on the wildest wackiest ride since Abhinay Deo’s Delhi Belly.

 While the writing sparkles with a roguish splendor, and the  director  fills the frames with a fiendish glee.  the narrative  does spark off a distant  pensiveness in indicating the  breach of modern urban marriages. While Irrfan’s marital  bedroom  is shattered  by Arundoy’s presence,Arunodoy’s own marriage with the  bully  wife played with splendid spleen by Divya Dutta,  is  no laughing matter.She treats him like  her dog. He  doesn’t mind as long as his monthly  allowance  keeps coming. Arunodoy sets aside his ego to make the husband  a henpecked  gold-digger.

I found  the scenes of  domestic disharmony   as enacted by Arunodoy  and Divya to be far more vivid and  representational of an urban despair than the Irrfan-Kirti marriage which is shown to be far quieter in its incongruities.

Arunodoy and  Dutta are  a riot together. Watching these two  underrated actors imbue life and  zest into their parts  is a  major part of the pleasure derived in  viewing this  bitterly dark comedy.Other exceptionally  persuasive performances  come from PradumanSingh as Irrfan’s shifty cheesy  office colleague and Anuja Sathe as a timid office co-worker who transforms  into an avaricious money monster  in  no time at all.

 Every actor gets  the  point. Blackmail  is a  film that celebrates the sheer lunacy of the marital equation  when pushed  against betrayal. Its strength lies in generating laughter out of  the  most meditative  mishaps  of marriage.The sheer  preposterousness  of making adultery into  an occasion of a serial  blackmail is used to invoke a sense  of unabashed boisterousness.

Blackmail  is a virgin territory in  the comedy genre.  It is heady and hedonistic, cocky and compelling in the way the comedies ofHrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee used to be. If only these veterans could see the sexiness  that  underlines all gender wars.Blackmail  is a closeted Hrishikesh Mukherjee comedy with oodles of extra  voluptuousness.

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