Tasveer 8 x 10
Direction: Nagesh Kukunoor
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Ayesha Takia Azmi, Javed Jafferi, Sharmila Tagore
Rating: * *
If you’re a Nagesh Kukunoor fan, be warned: this is nothing like any of his earlier movies. As far removed from Dor and Iqbal as could be, and very different in treatment even from Teen Deewarein, his other film with a twist. Tasveer 8 x 10 is a glossy production that takes the NRI route, is shot in postcard-pretty locales and sweeps in and out of fabulous homes, a yacht and other trappings of luxury (for a valid reason; the whodunit revolves around the death of an oil magnate). Not that any of the above needs to be a deterrent, of course; just stating facts.
So here’s the story: Jai Puri (Akshay Kumar), has this eerie gift — he can look at a photograph, any photograph, and transport himself to that moment in time, as seen through the eyes of any of the persons in the picture. As an Indian mystic who fortuitously pops up in Alberta, Canada, where the Puris reside, explains helpfully to Jai, life is but a montage of pictures, a ‘tasveeron ka karvan’.
Luckily for Jai, his mother Savitri (Sharmila Tagore) has taken a snap of her husband surrounded by most of the cast who could have pushed him off his gleaming white yacht — just before that unfortunate moment. So Jai whooshes into the past as seen by each of them, one by one… and discovers the identity of his father’s killer.
By then, most everyone has landed on the list of suspects, and if you can catch a hint or two (Kukunoor drops a couple of big ones) you should guess the ending. Especially since it— not again — falls back on one of the staples of Hindi cinema. But by then, it almost doesn’t matter, for you’re waiting for sweet relief after a hodge-podge of superhuman, supernatural and superdumb antics (the last-mentioned has particular reference to the hospital scenes). And a strangely unfunny performance by Jaaved Jaffrey as a maverick detective.
Pity, since Kukunoor begins by telling the tale well (if you’re ready to go with the tasveer trick) and Akshay Kumar is in great form, doing what he does best — lots of action, a couple of good stunts and some no-frills acting. But superhuman he ain’t; he can’t really rescue this movie.