Nail Polish: Not Quite Nail-Biting, But Interesting

Nail Polish(Zee5)

Starring Arjun Rampal, Manav Kaul , Rajit Kapur, Anand Tiwari

Written & Directed  by Bugs Bhargava Krishna

Rating: ***

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.

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