Half Baked Effort
By MovieTalkies.com, 29 August 2008
The premise of director Mani Shankar' s Mukhbiir, or informer as it means, is quite interesting. It is the story of an informer, who infiltrates gangs, thus putting himself at risk for the sake of justice and truth. But director Shanker is unable to pull it off creditably and make a film which is thrilling enough. The agony of a man, trapped between so many identities, struggling to find his own, just never comes across clearly. What does come across is the manner in which the informer is exploited by the state to serve their ends. The film has its moments, but again too few and far in between. What could have been a really fast paced thriller, actually turns out to be a film which lacks the edge. Some sharper editing and writing could have helped iron out those defects. Hence, even the presence of actors like Om Puri, Sushant Singh and Alok Nath does little to help the movie' s prospects.
The infomer or Mukhbiir in the movie is an orphaned lad (Sammir Dattani), who is mentored and used by the state intelligence agencies and the cops to infiltrate dreaded gangs and help bust them. His main mentor and guide is an intelligence officer played by Om Puri, who send him on a series of assignments, beginning with infiltrating the Naxalites in some remote part of the country or a dreaded ganglord to bust a drug trade. And then the big assignment, where he infiltrates the gang of an Islamic terrorist, played by Rahul Dev, by converting to Islam. The setting is before the Mumbai bomb blasts of 1993. The Home Ministry wants him to help prevent the blasts.
The film' s weakness lies in its writing. It lacks depth and focus. The characters and the plot do not seem very original. The stable of characters consist of Jackie Shroff playing the Home Minister, Suniel Shetty, an undercover intelligence agent, Sushant Singh is the don (Alok Nath)' s over ambitious second in command. But the action is so scattered that the film fails to have the desired impact. Also the romantic angle between Dattani' s character and that of Raima Sen' s character seems more of a forced job.
Actor Samir Dattani probably gets a role of a lifetime here, but is not able to do full justice to it. The problem lies in his inexperience as an actor. He is unable to bring out the various shades and hues of his character and its compulsions. His limitations show up in certain places. But he does make a great effort.
As for the rest of the cast, Om Puri is a natural and deivers an effortless performance. Sushant is impressive too, and so is Alok Nath. Raima Sen and Jackie Shriff are entirely wasted as they hardly have anything to do in the movie. Suniel Shetty and Kelly Dorjee are just about okay.
Mani Shankar' s previous, 16 December was a much more thrilling watch and one went to the film with a few more expectations. But he seems to lose the plot somewhere despite making a fair start. He had a very novel concept but is unable to develop it systemantically, thus making it, at best, a half baked effort.