Starring Arjun Rampal, Manav Kaul , Rajit Kapur, Anand Tiwari
Written & Directed by Bugs Bhargava Krishna
In a sudden midpoint-swerve the intriguingly titled Nail Polish sees its antagonist Veer Singh behaving like a woman .
“I want my nails polished,” Veer,played by that actor par excellence Manav Kaul, coyly tells the stunned nurse.
And I thought, Yeh kahan ‘lacquer’ plot ko aa gaye?
Nail Polish is a very ambitious film. The writing is original,startling and sometimes disturbing in its graphic description of gruesome murderous moves and its depiction of a psychological state known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. To carry Veer Singh , and the complex plot that supports his character, to its dismaying deadend , is a task worthy of a seasoned director.
In spite of the often awkward direction, Nail Polish nails it…almost. There are many unanswered questions at the end. But the polished spin that writer-director Bugs Bhargava Krishan brings to the courtroom drama is welcome and refreshing. The courtroom where Veer Singh, a decorated ex-soldier and now a sports coach, is tried for the sordid sexual assault and gruesome murder of little children, is very different from the courtrooms that we’ve grown used to watching in Hindi films.
Anand Singh as the asthmatic idealistic public prosecutor and Rajit Kapur as the judge make the legal wrangle look believable. But it is Arjun Rampal as the somewhat washed-out defence attorney who holds the key to making the court proceedings seem notches above the routine. Arjun rattles the courtroom rhetorics with just just right punctuations. His voice never rises to make its point. Here is a lawyer used to being heard, and winning.This a fine actor at work.
The film however belongs to Manav Kaul who sinks his hungry teeth into a role that is as bizarre as it is challenging. For most of the film he has to convince us and the courtroom that his personality has been taken over by a woman whom he once dated. This sounds impossible on paper. Manav manges to make it believable.
Nail Polish needed to be more tightly edited to be a better beast. There are too many subplots here. Why did every protagonist in the screenplay have to have a messed-up home life? Arjun has daddy issues. The judge Rajit Kapur has wife issues(Madhoo Shah as his alcoholic wife is made to carry a wine glass like a toddler with a teddy) , the public prosecutor has son issues, and I had an issue with all these issues.
A tighter narrative and a better handling of crowd scenes could have gone a long way into making Nail Polish a nail-biting courtroom drama.