By Hindustan Times
Direction: Vishal Mahadkar
Actors: Kunal Khemu, Amrita Puri
At one point in Blood Money, the nasty boss of a diamond company gifts his protégé, Kunal, an expansive new office and a buxom secretary, with the instruction: Cabin aur Pauline, dono ka maza lo. It was my favourite of many unintentionally hilarious moments within the film.
Blood Money, like a couple of other Vishesh films (the Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt banner) before it, notably the match-fixing saga Jannat, is a morality tale concerning the dangers of conspicuous consumption. Kunal, played by Kunal Khemu, is a middle-class MBA student who gets a role on the Trinity Diamond Company in Cape Town. We’re told that it is the first time he’s been on an airplane.
The company boss and his brother do not have much time to talk with him, however the newbie is given a furnished mansion to live in and cash to spend. Cut to: shopping, sightseeing and snazzy new car. Only his wife, Arzoo, played by Amrita Puri, wonders why the home reminds her of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale, during which the good old woman seems to be a witch.
‘Witch’ is an underestimation for Kunal’s boss, ‘Zaveri Sir’, played by Manish Chaudhari, who’s taken with every type of nefarious activities and is introduced to us as he drills a hole into his executive’s leg. That is the primary scene of the film, so I AM NOT spoiling any mystery here. After Kunal clinches a large deal, Zaveri Sir takes him under his wing, because of this a lifetime of pool parties, private planes and a tryst at the conference room table with an attractive co-worker. Of course, Kunal soon finds out that he has made a take care of the devil or, as he so originally puts it at interval point, “I sold my soul.”
This standard issue plot worked much better in Jannat since the protagonist was edgier and the backdrop of match-fixing more intriguing. The sector of blood diamonds, as created by debutant director Vishal S Mahadkar here, is basically comic-book. The screenplay is slowed down by songs and the couple’s love story, which in fact takes a beating once Kunal starts to party with the boss. Kunal Khemu works hard to make his character’s dangerous dilemma real however the situations he’s installed are ludicrous. Within the climax, he sprints through Cape Town with a profusely bleeding stab wound and beats up some burly men for good measure. Funnier still are the villains. Zaveri Sir wears long coats, chomps on cigars and loves to say “superb” with a cruel curl of his lips, while his brother, played by Sandip Sikand, looks comically angry the entire time. Zaveri Sir could also be keen on pronouncements reminiscent of “Imaandari aadmi ko mahal mein nahin, footpath pe le jaati hai.”
Blood Money finds some traction within the climax but it’s too little, too late. By then, you might be disengaged and debating dinner choices.