Blank movie review: Sunny Deol plays it cool in a silly thriller
Cast: Sunny Deol, Karan Kapadia, Karanvir Sharma
Director: Behzad Khambata
All the bad guys in this film have beards. Sunny Deol does not. He is a good guy, and therefore shortchanged in the facial hair department. As chief of the Anti-Terrorism Squad, Deol is instead given a moustache, the kind that looks scared to sit on his face, making him look like a swole Manoj Prabhakar. The reason the terrorists have beards, of course, is because they are all evil fundamentalists, and Blank goes some distance in making all Urdu words, even “Inshaallah,” sound sinister. Yep, this is that kind of film.
Directed by Behzad Khambata, Blank is about sleeper-cells and terrorists, and more specifically about a guy with a bomb planted inside his chest. This guy, Hanif, doesn’t remember who he is, but the bomb is ticking and the film is fraught with urgency. Or at least it should have been. Weighing in at just over a 100 minutes, this should have been a tight film but merely enforces the illusion of economical filmmaking: it is short not because it’s unspooling at a thrilling speed but because it has too little to say, as is evidenced by the multiple montages of terrorists checking their phones. We see each terrorist, we see their phone screen with an identical message, we see their identical reaction shots, and we see them move into action.
Still, this could have been pulpy fun and there is some promise. The hand-to-hand combat sequences are shot grungily, with extreme close-ups, but while Blank wants to be a heavy metal movie, it is basically a kid with a noisy amp. At one point a terrorist Skyping from afar who was clearly supposed to have an Osama Bin Laden beard is wearing a Rajneesh Osho beard. All beards are evil, remember?
Deol solemnly commits to an uncharacteristically un-scream-y part and keeps things watchable, though it is a bit odd to see those legendary, larger-than-life hands used to pull coloured string from photograph to photograph across an FBI-style board of suspects. It gives the sense of a majestic jungle cat forced to play with yarn.
The mouse in this chase is debutant Karan Kapadia, who, as Hanif, must be commended for starting out with a supporting role. There really isn’t much to do, but Kapadia is tall and fights well. The two times he has to really emote, though, his voice rises to an unfortunate Suniel Shetty register, but otherwise there isn’t much wrong with him. Maybe the next time he’ll be in a film that fires actual bullets.
Follow @htshowbiz for more