Vikramjit Singh, the director of Roy, took 12 years to finally make his debut. His close connections with the film industry notwithstanding (Yash Chopra's wife is his father's sister), the young filmmaker had his own share of struggles when it came to actor dates and other trivialities. Once Bhushan Kumar and Tips Films gave him the go-ahead as producer, Singh finally burst into the scene with a movie that may be difficult to understand, but is very obviously a labour of love.
Kabir Grewal (Arjun Rampal) is a director, and has spent most of his life womanising. In fact, he is better known for his girlfriends than for his films. He has to write the third part of the franchise Guns, and is at a loss for inspiration. Deciding that he needs a change of scene, he pushes off to Malaysia.
Only to find himself in yet another relationship. Ayesha (Jacqueline Fernandez) is also a filmmaker, who is in the process of directing her film in Malaysia. Sparks fly, and before they know what hit them, Kabir and Ayesha are a couple. What about Kabir's writing, though?
Kabir needs a new lease of life, and that comes from Roy (Ranbir Kapoor), a professional thief, who specialises in artwork. The love of Roy's life is Tia (Jacqueline Fernandez), and she proves to be both an inspiration and a distraction. Where is Roy headed, and is he happy with his chosen way of life? Kabir needs to figure that out, but his personal life is hardly helping.
Confused? Well, that is what Roy is. A story within a story, and both overlap in the most bizarre ways. Simply put, the movie is about a filmmaker who has to get a grip on his life while he decides the fate of his movie. Still confused? Well, do not expect clarity by watching the film. An innovative script need not necessarily translate into a comprehensible movie. The biggest problem with Roy is, therefore, the execution of what seemed to have the potential to be a gripping romantic thriller.
Indeed, you never know when it is romantic and when it is thrilling. The screenplay written by Vikramjit Singh is unpredictable, and you can choose to either (a) recognise it as a new style of filmmaking, or (b) reject it as too pretentious. There is a thin line between the two options, true, but the truth lies in your perception alone. The story has romance, it has thrills, and it has some intellect, but how the three are married into one smooth narration is another ball game altogether.
The dialogues do not help much - given the intensity of the narration, the spoken words seem somewhat silly. The movie does not give you time to get invested in any of the characters, yet you are supposed to empathize with them and the situations they find themselves in. The character of Kabir may get on to your nerves, given that he is more self-indulgent than actually talented, or so it seems.
That may have a lot to do with the fact that Arjun Rampal plays Kabir. He does not try at all to become the intense filmmaker that the script demands. His nonchalance seems very put-on, as do his bouts of genius. Casting him for a role that demands talent and perfection is Vikramjit Singh's big mistake in his debut film.
Jacqueline Fernandez is eye candy for most of the movie, but she does try hard to play out both roles with as much élan as possible. She has zero chemistry with Arjun Rampal, but fares better with Ranbir Kapoor. The latter has limited screen time in the movie, but he does make an impact, despite his obvious distracted state of mind. Anupam Kher is his usual self, as is Rajit Kapoor. Neither of the senior actors tries hard to get into his character, and the indifference shows.
Since the movie is all about looks and intense longing and all of that, the settings provide an apt background. Malaysia is a beautiful country, and the cinematographer goes berserk with the need to document it. In fact, you may find yourself concentrating more on the scenery than on the dialogues. The songs are mostly average, though a couple of them are now popular. The editing is effective, but it does not seem like that, especially when you find yourself watching countless sequences in which nothing much happens. It is a lengthy movie, and you may find your attention wavering.
Vikramjit Singh said, in a recent interview, that he hoped to write a book someday. Maybe he can begin with his experiences as a struggling filmmaker. Something tells us that his writing skills would be better than his filmmaking ones, though for a first time director Roy is not such a bad effort. It is technically sound, almost. He just needs to tell the story better, cinematically.