Monday, October 19, 2009

Acid Factory review

Sanjay Gupta manufactors....

Director: Suparn VermaStarring: Fardeen Khan, Irrfan Khan, Manoj Bajpai, Dia Mirza, Dino Morea, Danny Denzongpa and Aftab Shivdasani
Rating: **

Acid Factory brings with it a sense of ennui from the very first scene of the film. It is in the same, predictable vein of all the Sanjay Gupta films one has been subjected to so far. Exploding cars, outlaws, guns, violence, dim yellow lighting, pole dancers -- all reminiscent of everything one has seen before. In many ways, Acid Factory is a low budget Kaante.Yet, the concept isn't bad and could have been a riveting watch had it been treated like a psychological thriller, but both journalist-turned-director Supern Verma (Ek Khiladi, Ek Haseena) and Sanjay Gupta clearly are not interested in adding the least bit of depth to the proceedings. There's no back story to any character, their motivations are unclear, so there's an emotional disconnect you feel all along.

The film is pegged as a smart, fast-paced thriller. So when it begins, you have all its main characters (Dino, Danny, Aftab, Fardeen and Manoj) trapped inside an acid factory. There has been a gas leakage, resulting in all of them suffering from a temporary memory loss. None of them remember how they came inside or who they are. Each one is wary of the other, not knowing whom to trust.
Meanwhile, their boss (Irrfan Khan) is on a mission to collect a hefty ransom from one of the characters' wife (Kareeb actress and Bajpai's wife Neha makes a lovely appearance in a brief role, after years of hibernation). He is unaware of the leakage or the memory loss and keeps calling at the factory to inquire about girlfriend Max (Dia Mirza) who has not recovered from the impact of the explosion yet. At first, you wonder why the main door is locked and if they all have a common enemy. But as the film progresses you realise that these are really two warring groups with none of them knowing which side they are fighting on, due to the memory loss. Then the question is, why is the factory door locked in the first place?
There are many such questions popping up in your mind. Fardeen Khan, who is an undercover cop, gets trapped too. It's hard to believe he would give his senior officers absolutely no idea about his whereabouts. But since the film moves at a reasonably good pace, it doesn't give you much time to think and that is what one fathoms both Gupta and Verma were counting on.

Suparn Verma opts for a screenplay where the action moves back and forth in time. Sadly, the flashback scenes are extremely tame and don't add anything to the central drama or suspense. Also, since you don't know anything about the characters till the very end, you are quite simply not invested in them to care about what happens to their lives. The film could have been a smart thriller, if only the makers had concentrated less on the stylish action sequences and more on the characters. The tension does not build up even after Dia Mirza is introduced. Her tough woman act looks forced most of the time.

The only two characters who make their presence felt are Fardeen Khan and Irrfan Khan. The latter, by virtue of being such a superior actor, makes all his scenes interesting, something that cannot be said about the rest of the cast. Dino Morea in particular is quite poor.

Unlike many films one has seen this year where the concept itself was a dud, here one must concede that Supern Verma had something interesting to work with. He keeps it mildly engaging at times, but for most part, this is a very unsatisfying watch because the audience is not given anything to invest in the film.
-Sandhya Iyer


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