By MovieTalkies.com, 08 July 2011
If there ever was a song that could make one murderous, it has to be bheege hont tere, from the original Murder. Given how popular the number became on its release and the way radio stations played it on loop then, the Kunal Ganjawala number could make anyone homicidal. It is appropriate, then, that in Murder 2, the insane serial killer at hand hums and sings the song each time he's going to his 'job'.
While the original Murder', helmed by Anurag Basu, was a taut thriller that remixed the plot of the Richard Gere-Diane Lane starrer Unfaithful for desi audiences, Mohit Suri's meandering sequel is a film so disconnected from anything of the original, that it could have been passed off under any other name. In fact, while the original kept its thrills and twists coming till the end, Murder 2 simply can't hold its secrets to its chest.
The plot here, penned by Mahesh Bhatt, seems mildly inspired by Ted Levine's 'Buffalo Bill' act from Jonathan Demme's Silence Of The Lambs. But where that one had a genius-level performance from Anthony Hopkins as the deadly Hannibal Lecter, Murder 2 just has a scowling Emraan Hashmi to fill in, as a vigilante ex-cop, Arjun, whose chief activity seems to be acting smug and scowling at churches. While he keeps talking about being somehow wronged by God, what wrong he has suffered, we'll never know. Fortunately, the film's few chills come from the brilliant Prashant Narayanan, who steps into the role of the menacing, transgender serial killer, Dheeraj Pandey, who gets off on viciously butchering call girls that he keeps hiring out, the last of whom, Reshma, is still alive and whom, Arjun is determined to save.
In the midst, there is also an angle with Priya, played by Jacqueline Fernandez, a model and complete hottie, who has been involved with Arjun physically for years, and is madly in love with, though he simply doesn't want to settle down. Apart from bringing in the 'erotic' in this 'erotic thriller', one has no idea what this story track is here for.
The problem with Murder 2 is that there is simply no suspense in this thriller, the titular 'murderer' being revealed within the first half itself. While Prashant plays up his deranged killer role to maximum gain, the frequent breaks in the narrative to accommodate the various angles of the story make Murder 2 a dragging affair, especially in the second half.
Emraan Hashmi, with all the acting skills of a whiteboard, plays Arjun with his standard smart Alec charm. Though he is effective in a few scenes, like the one where he rages at Dheeraj in the lock-up, for the most part, one simply can't shake off the feeling of déjà vu, having seen him carry on with the same act in quite a few of his other films. One has to wonder then, whether this is a problem with his characterisation or simply the way he plays it.
Prashant Narayanan, on the other hand, makes the most of his deadly turn as Dheeraj, playing up the insanity to a perfect degree, especially in scenes like his interrogation by the police, once he's caught. One hopes that this role brings the talented actor wider acclaim than he's used to.
Apart from Emraan and Prashant, most others here are bit players. Jacqueline Fernandez wallows in an ill-defined role, though, thankfully, she doesn't make quite a hash of it. The former beauty queen brings a superb level of oomph to the film, though there's little else there for her. Sudhanshu Pandey as Arjun's cop friend is okay. Sulagna Panigrahi plays Reshma, screaming her way through the role of Pandey's victim.
The film's cinematography, by Ravi Walia, shows a few interesting flashes, in heightening the scares in the initial moments of the film, but finds little more in terms of creativity for the rest of the film. The film's score is similar, with a few good turns from Mithoon and the Haldipur brothers, Sangeet and Siddharth, here and there, though this is hardly stuff that can match up to Anu Malik's soundtrack for the original Murder.
Murder 2 ultimately comes off as an attempt by the Bhatt camp to simply hold onto the Murder brand that they created. An ill-planned attempt, one might add. Add a few more thrills to this affair and it could have been a contender for the title, but as it stands now, Murder 2 is simply a hash of a good film from Mohit Suri, one that simply can't focus on what might hold the audiences' attention.