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Missing Movie Review: Who Needs Meryl Streep When We Have Tabu?

Missing

Starring: Manoj Bajpai, Tabu, Annu Kapoor

Directed by:  Mukul Abhyankar

Rating: *** ½(3 and a  half stars)

That face is the map of  the human heart. No one does it like Tabu. Not when she sets her  heart  to it.  After seeing her misfit’s act inGolmaal Returns, what a blessed relief to see Tabu back in form in Missing.

 This  time she plays a distraught  mother who on a visit to Mauritius  ends up with her little daughter kidnapped.

 Nothing in  Missing is as it seems. In  pursuit of an  ever-renewable suspense  Mukul Abhyankar’s  writing lapses into the ludicrous. The  twists and turns  in the plot are  meant to startle in  a very ‘boo’ kind  of way.And some of Manoj Bajpai’s efforts to do the ‘How A Good Actor Plays A  Bad Actor To  Con The Law’ is just not  up to the mark.

You see Manoj playing a  sleazeball with a roving eye,  for a large  part of the film  has to play a man trying to convince  the cop(Annu Kapoor, playing the  Mauritian law enforcer with  a remarkably researched  rigour) that his lies  are the  truth.In  other words,a  good actor doing  a bad job of bad acting….Complicated?  But just the way  writer-director Mukul Abhyankar wants  the set-up.

On every step he plants a redherring so  red, you feel you are walking through blood-soaked mine field. Except that there is  never an explosion. In fact   the feeble writing and the unconvincing situations  would have  done  the strained suspense  in were it  not  for Tabu’s  magnificent  performance.

 Playing a grieving mother whose emotions can’t be trusted she brings a persuasive candour and an everlasting splendor to her role. That incandescent face  of hers is  lit  up like  a languorous lantern by cinematographer  Sudeep  Chatterjee . The  cinematographer brings more emotion  to Tabu’s face than to all the aqueous  shots of sun-soaked Mauritius which  never convince  us the island  is worth a  visit.

The  film is. And only  because of Tabu. Whether responding to the cop’s grilling questions  or  crumbling  under the gaze  of masculine censure,  the actress proves  she  is  among  finest talents of our times.  Any  times. If you are a Tabu fan  you’d  find it easier  to handle the  incongruities that  surface throughout  the film.If not, then the  going might  get tough for you.

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