Irrfan Khan starrer 'Blackmail' is a crisp black-comedy unwinding the narrative of the film flawlessly leaving no clue as to what's happening. It unquestionably raises our interest and anxiety all the time.
The story revolves around Dev aka Irrfan Khan a marketing strategist for a digital agency who jerks off on a random colleague's wife pic in the washroom. He is lost, tensed all the time and his quirky jerking habit by picking up a photograph from someone's desk clearly tickles our funny bones. Irrfan's character development is spot on and this depicts his seemingly boring lacklustre sex-life. It is Reena played by Kirti Kulhari as Dev's wife who barely talks to him and hardly anticipates to start off a conversation. The moment she speaks to Dev, it reminds him of the dues or bills to pay. This simple 9 to 5 job life is complicated when Dev tries to surprise his wife by calling off for the day quite early. Things turn out dark as he finds out his wife is cheating on him and he is shattered by this dark truth of his life.
Here it is the villain of Dev's life Arunoday Singh aka Ranjit Arora the love interest of Reena a middle-class guy married to a daughter of a rich politician who treats him not less than a dog. His wife Dolly Verma played by Divya Dutta plays an alcoholic Richie-rich wife familiar with his husband's intention. Her characterization is swanky and vulnerable. Pradhuman Singh as Anand Tripathi, Dev's pervert friend who keeps sharing his unwanted jokes all the time is quirky in some parts. But Pradhuman hasn't tickled our funny bones the way he did in 'Tere Bin Laden'. He isn't utilised at all. Moreover, the narrative gets gripping when the broken angel Dev becomes devil and hits with the idea of blackmailing his wife's love interest. So here is when all the mess starts, a series of blackmail that makes Reena and Ranjit's life miserable but that's too cliche. There are some uncertain turn of events that lands Dev in trouble and the complicated justified drama of revenge just gets better.
Omi Vaidya, from '3 idiots' is back as Dev's boss the head of the firm and the founder of the sanitary toilet Paper who makes everyone rub them on their cheeks. His presence is a bit funny as well. The first half is surely intriguing and gripping in parts and that's how the whole film should be. However, the climax is not convincing at all and Dev is suddenly cut off from an on-going police investigation.
The second half has too many loopholes to talk about, like how Dev frames his best friend who gets mad at him and tries to kill him and gets convinced too easily. How every action favours Dev and he becomes the master-mind to frame Ranjit becoming successful in marking his revenge so smoothly. The film clearly lacks a convincing climax which could have been way better. The comedy of errors made the second half unrealistic and repellent.
Talking about the performances. Irrfan Khan is the captain of this ship and his silent act just touches us. Divya Dutta outperformed her role though she didn't have much of screentime. Kirti Kulhari didn't have much to express and performed her part quite well. Well, even Arunoday Singh splendidly performed his character. A clumsy small-town guy who gets too hyper due to his short-tempered nature is justified though.
Talking about the songs, the one song that stays in our head is 'Badla' composed by Amit Trivedi and performed by rapper Divine. The lyrics with satire on revenge is penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya. This song carries the narration flawlessly and audiences just loved it. Another song had Urmila Matondkar back with a bang as 'Bewafa Beauty' grooving on this item number with all her grace and charm. After all the 'Chamma Chamma' girl was a treat to watch after a long long time. The credit scene had the Guru Randhawa song 'Patola' which was quite a peppy wedding number which we wish was earlier in the film and not in the credit scene.
Let's take a look at the technical aspect of the film. Cinematography by Jay Oza is captivating capturing the scenes of Navi Mumbai and Mumbai with some magnificent shots and angles. Editing by Huzefa Lokhandwala stands out and the bits and pieces are well edited carrying the narration of the film flawlessly. Abhinay Deo's direction has presented a fine one-time watch dark comedy and we just cannot hate it for no reason. Screenplay by Parveez Sheikh could have been way logical by the end. But making it eccentric and gripping in most of the parts marks his victory. Although dialogues by Pradhuman Singh are mediocre and we don't remember a single one of them. The conversation could have had some memorable one for sure.
Overall, the twist and turns of Blackmail are surely enough making it a one time watch.