Table No. 21 – Film Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on January 4, 2013 | No Comments
PRODUCER – Vicky Rajani, Sunil Lulla
DIRECTOR – Aditya Datt
WRITER – Sheershak Anand, Shantanu Ray Chhibber, Aditya Datt, Abhijit Deshpande
CAST – Paresh Rawal, Tena Desae, Rajeev Khandelwal
A suspense thriller with a social theme – that is Table No 21. Vivaan (Rajeev Khandelwal) and Siya (Teena Desae), a young couple, win a holiday to Fiji and once there, are drawn into a game-cum-reality show that isn’t all it seems like. The prize money is 21 crores, too red a carrot to say no, even when the game gets deadlier and deadlier, task after task.
Skeletons begin to roll out of the cupboard and tension mounts as Mr. Khan (Paresh Rawal) locks them in the creepy game with threats. It is soon evident that this is no game they are playing and Khan knows much more than he is revealing. When the climax is revealed though, it doesn’t really come across as shocking as must have been intended. However, it’s realism and gradual build-up effectively sees us through.
The film relies heavily on backstories and flashbacks at every point feeding us information about Vivaan and Siya we really don’t know what to do with. Neither does it help the climactic revelation, so removed is the twist from the main chunk of the film.
A large part of the film is taken up by the game show tasks, which are bizarre and while hinting at different motivations brings out the worst in the actor duo and the film. It is confounding why the couple behaves the way it does, jumping from template reactions of fear and frustrations to merry moods the next. The writing is simply not able to keep it together even though the tasks assigned have some sort of an intrigue attached to them.
The writing and over-wrought treatment apart, Rajeev Khandelwal and Teena Desae appear completely clueless themselves. Khandelwal who gave a solid debut in Aamir and a decent performance in Shaitaan, seems almost incapable of handling something that isn’t as edgy. Teena Desae is equally incapable of handling both her glam avatar and the weepy one, because that is all she oscillates between.
Something has got to be said about Paresh Rawal’s sense of conviction in anything he appears, be it Priyadarshan’s bawdiness, hard-hitting films like Firaaq or the recent dramatic caper Oh My God. Among all the banality here, his is the only performance that is mildly gripping and engaging and one that compels us to take the film seriously despite everything else.
Located and shot at Fiji, the film brings us fresh locales captured scenically at every point yet without much ado. The setting gives that ‘removed from reality’ feeling to the film and so does Paresh Rawal’s menacing act. Although, there was much scope to milk the dark and claustrophobic undertones of the set-up, something the film ignores so blithely it seems it doesn’t know about its own potential. It could have been a much better film had it.