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Hostages Is Driven Down By Its Absurdities




Starring Ronit Roy,Tisca Arora, Parvin Dabas, Dalip Tahi;

Directed  by Sudhir Mishra

Rating: **(2 stars)

Sitting through the 10  artificially    frenetic  episodes of this  thriller  is  a slog. Not because of any lack of tempo and  tumult(both of which  you’ll find aplenty)  but because  of  a glaring absence  of plausibility  in the plot.

Adapted  from a Israeli  series,  the desi avatar of this  improbable  thriller boasts  of  some strong performances. The power  of  the actors is considerably  dimmed  by the  plot which reads like  the  amateur attempt by a teenager to win the first prize at a school level  literary competition.   There are way too many  aberrations for this thriller about a well-appointed family held hostage to the  thrilling  .

B R Chopra’s long-forgotten kitschy feature film  36 Ghante could be the inspiration  for this weak-kneed thriller bolstered by the most absurd motivations for crime imagined for the  screen in the longest time. While the ever-dependable Ronit Roy deals with  his private  army  of  masked hostage takers, each nursing his own  grudge(and one of them even  carrying the  grudge to bed right in the midst of hostage situation) Parvin Dabas is the  patriarch  of the family held hostage. He seems  to play an even more vile character than the  criminals, an educationist with financial misdemeanours to deal with.Dabas  does his best to wrap his head  around  a character who  revels in thoughtless  decisions.It is a losing battle.

 Tisca Arora is the surgeon whose hands, like Lady MacBeth, are  tainted with  blood. She’s asked to finish  off the Chief Minister on  the operation table(the Oath, I swear,  be damned) or else  her family will be gunned down.

Incredibly the  ‘family’ moves around the house filled  with  communication gadgets  and still doesn’t send out an SOS message to the cops or friends. Maybe they  never watched Desperate Hours. But there is hope:  a  young army man shows  up  and here there is a pause  from the preposterosness for some genuine thrills.

But by then the  plot has  lost its way in the feverish  flurry of  simulated excitement, the kind we feel when attending a  rigged séance.

Despite the  presence of reliably sincere actors there is something deeply  insincere about this project, as if done with the non-creative purpose of paying of an  old debt . Old-hand director Sudhir Mihsra is  known to be  raw visceral and  authentic in his cinema. In Hostages Mishra is  anything but.

At one point the  son of the captive family  sarcastically asks one of  the on-guard masked marauders  if  it’s his fantasy to see the boy naked.Some such voyeuristic  instinct  seems to have triggered  off this actorly actioner. The actors will survive the  setback. But would we?

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