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'Main Aur Charles' review: Of crimes and misdemeanors!

'Main Aur Charles' review: Of crimes and misdemeanors!

Source: Sify

By: Sonia Chopra

Friday 30 October 2015

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Movie Title

Main Aur Charles

Director

Prawaal Raman

Star Cast

Randeep Hooda, Richa Chadda, Tisca Chopra

Fascinating, mysterious, intellectual, Robin-Hood, a Gautam Buddha avatar, and awriter without pen and paper - these are some of the fawning words used to describemurderer and con-man Charles Sobhraj in the film.

A few documentaries this writer saw for the purpose of this review revealed that Sobhrajwas essentially a ruthless criminal who targeted young and innocent people especiallythose on the hippie trail, gruesomely killing and even burning a few of them alive.So one is understandably perturbed when the film portrays him as an enigmatic personawho walks in slow-mo, blows out cigarette smoke mysteriously, has gorgeous ladies fallfor him despite his obvious shifty behavior, and all he has to do is pronounce Paris asParii for people to swoon all over him.

It is strange and ironic, that the makers here choose to behave exactly like most ofCharles Sobhraj's victims - utterly charmed by him.

The film focuses on two aspects of Sobhraj's story - his so-called "enigmatic andmagnetic" personality and the cop-n-criminal game that led to his arrest. On bothaccounts, the film falters.

As if this uni-dimensional portrayal of a hardened criminal as a suave charmer wasn'tenough, the character is played inconsistently. Randeep Hooda's effort andearnestness shows, and the film gets the look of the character and severalcharacteristics right. The uncanny resemblance is also a huge plus, but theperformance just doesn't come together, much like the film. You cannot help tire of theswagger, that constantly lop-sided smile meant to display cool confidence, and the too-thick accent.

The film's other focus - the cop-and-criminal chase is devoid of tension and drama.Also - and this you never thought possible - you actually have to witness Adil Hussainwho plays the cop, ham it up in the film.

The film does hold your attention intermittently and has a few interesting moments.Sobhraj's famous jail-break is one of them. As is his smooth entry into a hippie group,only to seduce one of their members. Director Prawaal Raman recreates the '60s and'70s era beautifully, and the film is high on visual style. For example, Raman oftenpresents his scenes with black-and-white classics running in the background, to give it anoir texture.

However, random developments and conversations rob the film of its edginess. The filmtrudges along haphazardly, often leaving the viewer behind.

There are inane dialogues sitting there in the hope of creating some controversy, andothers that are bizarre. Like Richa Chaddha's character exclaiming about Sobhraj,"Whenever he looks at me, I feel like having sex with him." Or the othergem - "Dysfunctional families are the root cause of evil in society."

In keeping with his Casanova image, there are several scenes that show Charlesgetting intimate with his several girlfriends. But there is no attempt to explore themethod behind his madness. The film cannot answer the question that despite hissuspicious behavior, why were people drawn to him in the first place? And what keptperfectly sane people from defending him so vociferously?

One wishes the film had explored the damaged side of Sobhraj as well, who, till date,expresses no remorse for his crimes. Making him wear plastic devil's horns in a sceneis cute symbolism, but doesn't quite explore the character's dark side.

This was an attempt to make an engaging crime-drama, hoping to cash in on CharlesSobhraj's larger-than-life image. But the makers have taken truly explosive material andtamed it down, choosing to glamourize the villain to a nauseating level. The film had somuch more potential!

Rating: 2 .5 stars

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