Director: Vishal Mahadkar
Cast: Kunal Khemu, Amrita Puri, Manish Choudhary
Synopsis: Blood Money is an emotional & coming of age journey of Kunal (Kunal Khemu) who lands his dream job in a foreign company. What starts off as a fairy tale soon turns into a nightmare as some uncomfortable truths about the company are discovered. A high octane emotional drama – a story set in the picturesque Cape Town, celebrating the elation of success, the trials of morality and eventually the triumph of human spirit with a touch of innocence / vulnerability and youthful energy. `BLOOD MONEY` is a film about that one latent hero in all of us. The one who wants to make it BIG in the big bad, competitive world. A big house, a big car and a great lifestyle are the indicators for a life well lived, a career well charted. It`s a representation of the middle class youth who constantly aspires to be uniquely successful…by making all the RIGHT choices.
Review: When you hear of a film from the Bhatt camp, two things spring into mind: Good music and fairly edgy cinema. However, with Blood Money they provide you with one of the biggest disappointments fathomable. Don’t be mislead by the title. Blood Money has virtually nothing in common with 2007’s Djmon Hounsou and Leo Dicaprio starrer, Blood Diamond. The analogies end at the similar titles and inspired themes. Fact be told, we’re comparing a classic and a crap-fest.
We start off with Kunal (Kunal Khemu) and Arzoo (Amrita Puri)- A newly wed couple that come to South Africa in search of the middle class dream. Kunal is a fresh MBA grad and is a go-getter, willing to stop at nothing to meet his aspirations. He joins the world renowned ‘Trinity Diamonds’ as a seemingly front line employee. However, I’d like to voice my own personal ambition of joining this fictional yet wondrous organization since I don’t know of any other organization in the world that provides a front line employee with a plushly furnished mansion. Regardless, Kunal soon gets sucked into the world of high heeled vixens, tailored suits and corporate revelry. He’s seen swooning around in a club or being roaring drunk in a jacuzzi almost as often as his wife is shown sitting alone at home. I must laud Amrita Puri’s excellence when it comes to throwing food into a dustbin. Her consistent accuracy is certainly astounding. It goes without saying that our happy couple’s relationship takes a turn for the worse. To make matters even more gnarly, Kunal finds out some spine chilling facts about the inner workings of his organization. Funding terrorism, child labor, smuggling et all. Will Kunal follow his conscience or continue his head-first dive into a sinful existence?
That is pretty much the premise of this very wannabe thriller. Now Director Vishal Mahadkar has put in an ernest effort to tell the story effectively. The cinematography is alright and the first half in all honesty, isn’t that bad. It’s the second half that’s a complete travesty. We have Kunal being stabbed in the stomach, then running for a good kilometer. If that’s not enough, he then beats up a bunch of beefy goons who were chasing after him. And if you’re still a sucker for Rajnikant-esque cinematic liberties, then he even goes on to sit on a chair till the end of the movie without bleeding to death. He’s in fact shown singing in mustard fields to his lady love in the very next sequence.
The dialogue is another major drawback in this so called thriller. In trying to explain why they’re luxurious life in South Africa might just be a fallacy, Arzoo actually goes on to narrate Hansel and Gratel. With the ending and everything. Never before have I heard a hindi film actress narrate a children’s fairytale on screen and sound so convincing with her already child-like voice. Other gems include ‘Tumhe mere saath Mumbai chalna hoga. Mein yahaan se vidhwaa ho ke nahi jaana chahati’. Blood Money certainly has more than it’s fair share of unintentionally comic moments.
Kunal Khemu is an actor that I’ve always thought had potential. Since Kalyug, he hasn’t actually been given a fair chance to showcase his abilities. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change with Blood Money. However, he does carry the movie on his shoulders with effortless panache. Amrita Puri is a charming face and won many accolades for her breakthrough and earthly performance in Aisha. In this film however, she struggles to portray the role of a troubled housewife. The audience will realize that her child-like mannerisms in Aisha didn’t involve much acting. As it turns out, she actually talks like that. Her bubbly persona is cute for a while but her acting requires a fair bit of polishing. The main antagonist, Zakkari portrayed by Manish Chaudhari is a throwback to one of the vintage villains with punchlines as cheesy as ‘superb’. I must admit, his portrayal was also ‘superb’-ly retarded. Mia Udeya is there simply to show skin and add the raunch factor which comes as no surprise since this is after all, a Bhatt film. Her love making scenes with Kunal are bound to make the teenage boys go crazy on YouTube.
Verdict: Blood Money will certainly make your blood boil with anger. Since you’ve been cheated of your money once you’re inside that theater. Recommend it to your friends. The annoyance it causes them would make for a memorable April Fool’s Day prank.
Jackie J. Thakkar