Movie Review: Red – The Dark Side

By Taran Adarsh, IndiaFMimageNever judge a book by its cover. That holds true for films as well. A stylish promo or a fascinating billboard could raise your expectations and compel you to rush to a nearby movieplex to watch the film. But, alas! All that glitters is not gold.

RED – THE DARK SIDE has generated tremendous hype over the weeks due to its eye-catching promotional teasers. Unfortunately, watching the film is akin to flying in an aircraft that’s run out of fuel midway. It starts off well, you are hooked to the goings-on, the game begins… But the fizz settles down sooner than expected.

What’s wrong with RED – THE DARK SIDE? Plenty of things! Most importantly, the writing [story-screenplay: Manoj Tyagi] is outright tacky. It vacillates between komsi-komsa to amateurish to confused.

But the reason why RED – THE DARK SIDE falls like a pack of cards is because you know that the lady is playing games. You know that she has a hidden agenda. You know that she’s out to use Mr. Millionaire. You realize all this because you’ve witnessed similar themes in the past.

So when the cat is out of the bag, you aren’t shocked. On the contrary, you break into a big yawn. Also, the way the writer rushes up things — demystifying the shadyantra — you wonder if he knows the basics of screenplay writing. The climax is the lifeline of any thriller, but in RED – THE DARK SIDE, the culmination to the story acts as a spoilsport.

Vikram Bhatt has attempted several thrillers in the past. Films like KASOOR and RAAZ and even JURM [in parts] were in a different league altogether. But RED – THE DARK SIDE is his weakest product so far. Sure, the film is stylishly shot, but style can never substitute for substance.

To cut a long story short, RED – THE DARK SIDE disappoints!

Neel [Aftab Shivdasani] is a billionaire. Diagnosed with a fatal heart ailment, Neel’s life comes to a screeching halt. Only a miracle [heart transplant] can save him. As luck would have it, the doctor [Kishori Shahane Vij] gets a donor. It’s Anahita’s [Celina Jaitley] husband, who has died in a road accident.

Anahita is a gorgeous lady. After her husband’s demise, she leads a lonely life. Neel is drawn into a passionate affair with Anahita. Suddenly, things take a turn…

Anahita informs Neel that her husband had been murdered. And Ria [Amrita Arora], Anahita’s best friend, is the culprit. She had an affair with Anahita’s husband and since she couldn’t marry him, she decided to eliminate him instead.

Neel murders Ria’s friend Rocky [Amin Hajee], who had murdered Anahita’s husband. But Neel loses his watch while committing the gruesome act. The investigation begins and the cop [Sushant Singh] is on the trail of those who had committed the heinous act.

Anahita now wants Ria out of her way. Neel is ready to commit the second murder…

Certain stories sound interesting on paper, but run out of steam as the reels unfold. RED – THE DARK SIDE shows promise as it takes off. The characters are well established at the very outset. Everything is going fine. Suddenly, the writer applies brakes. It gets into a predictable mode. Everything that happens thereafter only takes the graph of the film down.

Thrillers work for one vital reason. The moviegoer shouldn’t be able to guess the identity/motive of the killer till the penultimate reel. In this case, you know that someone’s playing games. The lead man doesn’t know, but the viewer senses it and that’s why the film falls off the cliff.

The climax is so silly, so juvenile that you actually want to ask Vikram Bhatt, how did he okay this kind of inept writing in the first place?

Vikram Bhatt tries hard to keep the show going, but the substandard writing proves a roadblock. Himesh Reshammiya’s music is interesting, but not at par with his earlier works. Without doubt, ‘Aafreen’ is the pick of the lot. The lip-locks in a couple of songs make the tracks appear steamy. Pravin Bhatt’s cinematography is eye-catching. The lighting deserves special mention.

RED – THE DARK SIDE belongs to Aftab Shivdasani, who’s matured into a dependable actor. Looking suave in formals, the actor has also worked on his physique by shedding unwanted fat. He handles his part extremely well. Celina Jaitley is better than her previous films. She looks alluring and plays a calculating woman with conviction, except for one particular sequence when she makes a call to Aftab from a phone booth.

Amrita Arora has no role whatsoever. She’s hardly there. Hello Ms. Arora, what did you see in this role? Sushant Singh is the atypical cop we’ve watched in hundreds of Hindi movies before. Kishori Shahane Vij and Amin Hajee are alright.

On the whole, RED – THE DARK SIDE stands on a weak script. At the box-office, it stands no chance!

BollywoodEntertainment.com.au Rating: 2

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