Review: "If you lie, you die." The tag line of the movie and the first terrifying rule of the game. A game that begins with a couple winning a trip to Figi island in a lucky draw and ends in a race through the city to save each other from certain death. A game that pushes this seemingly happy couple to the limits. A game that makes them realize-how much do they really know about each other? Like an onion, each layer of their character is peeled off, one by one.
So, resort owner Khan (Paresh Rawal), also runs a game show called Table No. 21 that is broadcast live on the internet. Vivan (Rajeev Khandelwal) and Sia (Tena Desae) have been invited to play the game for a sum of unbelievable amounts. Greed gets the better of them and they agree to play this seemingly innocent game of truth and dare. As the game progresses they begin to realize that Khan knows a lot about them, their present, their past, their personalities, their flaws. Soon greed is replaced by worry, worry by panic and panic by a desperate attempt to save themselves from this lunatic (Khan) who is hell bent of testing the very fiber of their desire to stay alive.
Who is this man? What does he want? Why is he torturing Vivaan and Sia? How many couples has he done this to before? How does he know so much about them? The first half may seem slightly devoid of logic for the intellectual souls but be patient, the second half makes up for it. Thumbs up for a unique concept. Thumbs up for clever casting. Khandelwal shows glimpses of his performance from his Aamir days. Vulnerable when required and macho/angry when required. Tena shows promise as well. Paresh Rawal breezes though this one. He has done this a million times before. He does shine bright in the climax though. The movie could have definitely done with a bigger dose of thrills and chills, but all that is forgiven. Ask why? The last 15 minutes makes up for all of that.
Table No. 21 would not have been a 3 star movie had it not been for the climax. It all comes together neatly in the end. All your doubts are cleared, all the flaws you pointed out will be forgiven, and anything else you disliked will be forgotten. Just to get you to buy a ticket I will reveal this much about the climax – the hero becomes the villain and the villain melts your heart.
Verdict: A concept driven film disguised as a game show thriller. Works on both levels.
Release date: Jan 4, 2013
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller
Cast & Crew: Tena Desae, Paresh Rawal, Rajeev Khandelwal, Asheesh Kapur
Director: Aaditya Datt
Length: 1 hr 49 mins
Writer: Aaditya Datt , Sheershak Anand, Shantanu Ray Chhib