Review: The Stoneman Murders
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Review: The Stoneman Murders

Director Manish Gupta, who did such a terrific job as writer of Sarkar, and helmed a sequence in Darna Zaroori Hai, still seems to be under the Factory influence, writes Shashi Baliga.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2009 17:48 IST
Shashi Baliga
Shashi Baliga
Hindustan Times

The Stoneman Murders
Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Arbaaz Khan, Rukhsar
Director: Manish Gupta
Rating: **

Suspended sub-inspector Sanjay Shelar is a brave man. And Kay Kay Menon is a brave actor to have taken on this role. In fact it is Menon's quietly efficient performance that holds this movie together and prevents it from lapsing into an unremitting lineup of gory murders, grimy alleys, petrified pavement dwellers and death rattles. A gratuitous item number and a totally unnecessary shot of Shelar's wife (Rukshar) taking off her clothes are meant perhaps to alleviate that gloom, but only make matters worse.

The film recreates the horrific tale of the 1983 serial killer who killed nine victims in Mumbai by smashing their heads with a large stone. The police files list the crime as unsolved but the film believes this could have been a sham.
In this version, the disgraced Shelar tries to earn his return to the force by solving the 'patthar maar' murders. Only to come up against his rival, Inspector Kedar Phadke (a rather stolid Arbaaz Khan) who remarks suspiciously, "Saala poora yeda ho gaya." But Shelar is not a man who can be kept down — not even when he's hammered with an iron rod or bashed on the head with a stone — and finally, to our relief, solves the case.

Director Manish Gupta does manage quite a bit of authenticity in his settings and characters and there are moments that work well. But the storyline doesn't always hold up or hold your interest all through — how many bludgeoned faces can you stomach? And the background score, though interesting, is loudly reminiscent of Ram Gopal Varma's Factory films.
Gupta, who did such a terrific job as writer of Varma's Sarkar, and helmed one sequence in Darna Zaroori Hai, still seems to be under the Factory influence. And this film looks too much like an assembly-line product.

First Published: Feb 13, 2009 21:10 IST