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Table No 21 review: Thriller gone soppy!

Table No 21
Aditya Datt
Paresh Rawal, Rajeev Khandelwal, Tena Desae
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You know that joke that starts well and ends flat? It's all the more disappointing for the laughs it promised.

Table No 21 is something like that. The story, meant to be a thriller, has these hard-to-like protagonists Vivaan (Rajeev Khandelwal) and Sia (Tena Desae).

Earlier college bullies whose idea of ragging was stripping people naked and shaving off their hair, the two are now married and celebrating their anniversary. Not surprisingly, the lovey-dovey husband isn't averse to slapping his wife when he's upset.

The wife on the other hand, is not averse to receiving slaps either from her former sweetheart or from her husband.

The couple is in Fiji on a paid trip they won. The hospitality is superb and the couple meets their host - an always-dressed-in-purple Mr Khan (Paresh Rawal).

Khan entices them to play a game where they can win an unbelievable prize of Rs 21 crore. Since Vivaan is jobless, the couple falls into the trap.

All they have to do, as per the rules, is answer a few questions and perform the tasks given. "It's too good to be true," exclaims Vivaan and they agree.

The first few tasks make them uncomfortable, but then they turn near-fatal. And all Sia can come up with is, "Yeh game kuch weird hota ja raha hai." That's what you call underplaying a situation!

As we go up the game levels, we wonder what the whole point is. The 'twist' in the end is highly disappointing, linked as it is to a social message. It would have been far more interesting if the thriller was just allowed to just be.

It could have been as dark, intense and thriller-like as the story warranted. The moral angle ends up diluting the experience, and has you think back to great concepts that made weak thrillers like Zinda, Luck and a Ravi Kissen starrer called Chitkabrey.

The script has several loopholes and several questions remain unanswered - like the connection of website streaming the game live to the story.

The performances are mediocre. This could have been Paresh Rawal's show, but his performance is not the deliciously dark villain that it should have been.

Rajeev Khandelwal plays the tormented victim once again after Aamir and pulls it off. Tena Desae has the looks and confidence, but not the talent that a leading lady should boast of.

Director Aditya Datt (Aashiq Banaya Aapne, Will You Marry Me?) seems unsure whether to make a hard-hitting thriller or a soppy drama. He makes a thriller that ends with a moral message.

However noble that may be, unless done expertly, it robs the film of the basic component of this genre - thrills. Neither a thriller, nor a drama - you can safely give this one a miss.

Rating: 2 stars


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