Three eras, three stories, three Davids. The idea held promise, the director even more so.
Bejoy Nambiar's Shaitan (2011) was at once shocking, riveting and highly entertaining. This one is high on style, but the stories are hardly remarkable.
We meet all the three Davids. The first story set in 1970s London has David (Neil Nitin Mukesh) working for dreaded underworld don Ghani. He is treated like a son by Ghani, for whom he remains fiercely loyal.
But is there more to this than meets the eye? This entire portion has been shot in black and white, which goes nicely with Neil's sharp, brooding look.
Meanwhile, '90s Mumbai sees a musician David (Vinay Virmani) rebelling against his father's expectations. But when his father is humiliated over religion by a political party, David becomes the protective, revengeful son.
An interesting character, he is determined to find success as a musician, even if it means bribing a music director's secretary. Sharing a cigarette with his sister, he often talks of his life's plans with her.
The 2012 Goa story has David (Chiyaan Vikram, excellent) drinking alcohol through a funnel and hitting a woman in a pub brawl. He's also the locality's Satku Santa, who goes about punching brides on their wedding day (this disturbing hitting of women is a recurring occurrence in the film).
The reason? His girlfriend left him on their wedding day. That this character is shown as a lovable rouge is plain disappointing.
Finally he falls in love, but with his best friend's fiancee. Roma (Isha Sharvani) is deaf- and-dumb (a win-win situation, thinks David's friend) and is perennially dressed in white. Clearly in love with his friend, it's not clear why she keeps landing little pecks on David's cheek. It's also not clear why she chooses to be with either of them - the constantly drunk louts that they are.
So there you have it - three good actors playing three unconvincing characters in an empty film. You have bizarre scenes like a father offering a hefty dowry to marry off his daughter because she is bald. Would be cheaper to get a wig, right?
And a recurring joke is that of David's deceased father's (Saurabh Shukla) soul mischievously entering someone's body so they can have a conversation.
There are some sparkling moments, too. The portion where you see the musician David going from home to home making a living, dealing with a towed scooter, etc, is great fun. The emotional equation between Ghani and the gangster David is riveting, and so are the sweet moments shared between the Goa David and his buddy/confidante Frenny (Tabu).
Music is very good, though the picturisation of the songs don't do them justice.
The film is stylish yes, but makes the fatal mistake of ODing. So you have at least three violent fights set against pacy music - a repetitive tactic. Conversations ramble on, making no point.
The stories connect towards the end, but this serendipity leaves the viewer unmoved. In the end, the film tries too hard to say something, but ends up too vain to do so.
Wish the film had as much substance as style; Mr Nambiar we do expect that from your third!
Rating: 2 stars