Saturday, March 16, 2013

3G is more ludicrous than scary

The third release of this weekend was 3G, starring Neil Nitin Mukesh and Sonal Chauhan. If any of you saw the small little film Table No 21 that came out at the start of this year, you would know that Shantanu and Sheershak who wrote it, have taken over the director's seat in 3G apart from scripting it. One step that they should not have taken. If you have seen Table No 21, you may be able to imagine that they have a penchant for relevant social evils in the modern world in a horror format and their latest offering is not detached from it. The problem here is, and much aligned with the problem in the former, a potentially great idea suffering from brain curdling execution. 

The film interestingly begins with a comment on unknown callers on cellphones how some people believe it may be a way for the dead people to contact the living world. Next up, you are clumsily assaulted by a barrage of crummy make-out and bikini scenes of the lead couple laced around eye-soothing sightseeing of Fiji. Yes, the director duo seem to like the place quite a lot considering Table No 21 was set in Fiji too. Or maybe it was an ingenious cost-cutting exercise to shoot 3G while the crew of Table No 21 was taking a break. Once they are done with love and lust, horror takes over. Neil buys a second hand phone that seems to be receiving video calls from an unknown number that plays out the brutal murder of an unknown girl. Next up, he goes a trifle schizoid as he occasionally gets captured by a spirit that makes his original self fragile and his girlfriend confused. You are intrigued, no doubt and you want to know whats happening. But the road to solution offered by Shantanu and Sheershak is long, winding and befuddling enough to make you lose your patience. Every film in the horror genre comes in with a heavy dosage of fiction and leaps of faith, but there is chance that you may come out of the theater not even understanding what exactly happened in the murky narrative. 

The director duo have gulped down the fundamentals of this genre. While there are no creaking doors or screeches, they furtively throw in a host of tried-and-tested motifs - the church, priests, graveyards, mental patients, psychotic killers, tacky ghosts and many other mysterious characters. While one can live with all of them, you sincerely hope that the film doesnt provide unintentional hilarity. Sadly, 3G produces copious amounts of it. Neil's alter ego is mostly unconvincing as much as the reason why Sonal's character hangs around with him. A devastatingly lazy convenience often remnant in Indian movies is that all characters in foreign locations are Indians and speak in Hindi, even with names like Mong Haywards or something. As the tension builds up and the cellphone refuses to leave its new owner, the film does stir up an interesting climax that is well rooted in a rampant social evil and its effects on the society. The only problem is the aimless wandering that precurs it in the narrative leaving you disinterested in the finale, let alone the hatchet execution that may not even explain the real thing to you, gathering from the reactions of my fellow audience. 

Shot on location in Fiji, 3G offers some breathtaking locales which are captured well by Keiko Nakahara while Amar Mohile and Mithoon serve up some chilling background score and melodies respectively. But Sanjay Sharma's editing is pathetically hotch-potch stripping the film of many edge of the seat moments it could have had. Neil Nitin Mukesh hams up his act with a middling performance that doesnt quite serve the purpose. Sonal Chauhan shows more skin than candor as the ardent girlfriend helping to solve this inexplicable mystery without much reason. Mrinalini Sharma doesnt quite generate the pathos for the character she is playing while Ashish Kapoor looks exasperated with a senseless character arc. 

Much like Table No 21, this is a climax in search of a film where everything is planned around a riveting finale without much attention to character sense or narrative coherence. And one does feel the sheer wastage of an innovative idea. With Jolly LLB and Mere Dad Ki Maruti as its competition, 3G is bound to sink at the Box Office unless the champions of cheap erotica save it, or if people just want to go to the theaters to feel the chills of a horror movie. Neil Nitin Mukesh has undoubtedly affirmed his position as the upcoming Vivek Oberoi and his upcoming slate of films show no hope. As for Shantanu and Sheershak, they need to learn their way up to efficient scripting from good climaxes. Here is a generous rating of the film purely for its idea!

Rating - 1.5/5

Originally published at Mad About Moviez here

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