There's something about Vikram Bhatt, a kinetic energy that makes him come up with interesting projects one after the other every year. Mind you, it's the manic pace at which he directs that I am pointing towards. The interesting ideas all come from his ever-growing DVD collection. With Red: The Dark Side, looks like he's been watching 21 Grams a lot.
And this is a major gripe with the film. While Bhatt fancies himself to be an auteur, and tries to infuse a 'new' visual language in the film, the fact that this is not his work but someone else's that he is inspired from, jars (the treatment he lifts from Euro noir films). Even that works, sometimes (as evidenced by the fun Bluffmaster
, clearly borrowing from multiple sources), but not when the plot machinations are reduced to being silly and the screenplay is as hackneyed as this.
Neil (Aaftab Shivdasani) is a well-to-do businessman, who has a fatal heart disease, and a timely heart transplant from an accident victim saves him. Since he wants to thank the family, he follows his donor's address to his widow, Anahita (Celina Jaitley). Sparks fly, Himesh Reshammiya sings, cleavage pops, and there is lust... er, love in the air.
Ah, but not all is well in the red paradise. Anahita lets Neil in on her husband's relationship with Ria (Amrita Arora), who she claims killed her husband. Thus follows a grisly series of murders, bad dialog, worse songs, tepid sex scenes, and a lot of red.
The biggest problem with the film is the deviations it makes from the basic themes and plot of 21 Grams. If it stole straight from it and remained steadfastly a drama about three people, the various lives they lead, and how one event impacts their existence, this would have been a decent film. But no, Bhatt wants to make Euro noir thrillers with oodles of Bollywood machinations and skin show.
By treating the story in this way, he basically makes a mockery of the whole plot, as it becomes redundant the moment the first murder unravels. What doesn't help is that the 'suspense' can be figured out if you've watched upwards of 5 Bollywood films. Truly wretched dialog and a screenplay that lags and runs in alternate spurts, with no idea what to do, are the icing on the cake.
Everything here is sendback to the source film, but in a weird, romantic thriller angle. This makes it more of a parody of 21 Grams than anything else. While Shivdasani shows that he has the presence and the acting chops enough for a substandard thriller, Jaitley doesn't even convince you of that. Arora's role might be missed by most people who decide to take a quick ciggie break, really.
Bhatt's treatment of the film makes it look like a campy independent schlock film, but his Grindhouse, this ain't. The cinematography is deliberately cheesy, and it looks like that if I swapped the script of the film with a copy of Wizard of Oz, Bhatt wouldn't have noticed. So busy is he trying to accomplish the look of the film, neglecting the plot entirely for stretches.
It's not that the plot is anything worth talking about though. The dialog, as I mentioned, is pretty hammy, and the pacing is totally off-target. There are plot contrivances that serve no purpose, and others which are simply to shoehorn more random style treatments. The climax is the one big stinker here, though, and you will shudder at the inconsistency by the time you walk out.
Ah, but that implies you will actually go watch it. Oh no, you shouldn't. This film is a waste of good blank reels, this review is a waste of server space, reading it is a waste of your time, and writing it was a waste of mine. Avoid this and go watch 1971
instead. Maybe even Water
, but oh no, not this.