Admit it or not but Bollywood thrillers bring out the hidden Sherlock in all of us.
Observing the tiniest details and trying to solve the mystery even before the protagonist, watching a filmy whodunit is almost like playing a real-life detective. And considering we live in the era of social media where spoilers are rampant, we have to go out of our way to ensure that nothing comes in the way of our guessing game. Not even Twitter!
While we’re a nation that is obsessed with love stories, there’s no denying the excitement of a well-made thriller. The thrill of all the drama coupled with the shock of the big reveal is a joy like no other.
Speaking of thrillers in Bollywood, while Gupt has always got its due recognition, somehow, Abbas-Mustan’s Humraaz has never been duly appreciated.
You have to admit that it’s quite an effective film that leaves on the edge of your seat!
Though it did great business at the box-office when it released in 2002, it’s a film most of us have discovered over repeated viewings on television.
Looking back now, yes, the fashion choices appear cringe-worthy and you’re left questioning Amisha Patel’s questionable acting credentials.
But there is no way you can discredit the film’s superb twists and turns.
The story begins with Karan & Priya (Akshaye Khanna & Ameesha Patel) as two struggling artists in a dance troupe, trying to make it big. Had India’s Got Talent existed back in the day, the two could have easily contested on the show.
However, they have to take the obvious work-hard-or-die-trying route.
But Karan wants to get rich overnight so a couple of murders here and there don’t really bother his conscience.
Enter Raj Singhania (Bobby Deol). With a surname like Singhania in a Hindi film, you know the man’s loaded and also a good guy. He falls in love with Priya and they get married even before the interval.
That’s when comes the first twist in the plot!
Basically, the shaadi was a con.
She plans to divorce him, get his money and get back with her ex, Karan.
And from thereon, the twists keep appearing every 15 minutes.
First, Priya turns sanskari after the wedding & becomes a pati-vrata patni. Naturally then, the jealous ex won’t have any of it. Therefore, more men are killed. And chaos ensues.
Husband learns of wife’s deceit and the only way to find revenge is to kill her. And he contracts the killing to the notorious ex. However, the ex is smarter than we know and passes the buck to a random man who gets killed in the struggle.
The film ends in the good guys winning and the bad guy dying but we finally know who to side with.
While the film has the good guy turning bad and bad guy turning even more bad, it delivers its plot points just at the right time to keep you engrossed.
Director duo Abbas-Mustan surely deserve a lot of credit for rejuvenating the lost genre of noir in Bollywood.
Bollywood had seen its fair share of noir films in the ’60s with Vijay Anand but as the era of angry young man and the subsequent love stories saw a rise, the thriller genre somehow got lost in the mayhem.
Abbas-Mustan might have adapted most of their films from the West but you can’t take away from the fact that they did a damn good job with it.
This was also the era when Himesh Reshammiya was known for his music. He hadn’t discovered his ‘singing abilities’ until then and delivered tracks that held the film together. Even Abbas-Mustan were at their A-game with films like Ajnabee & Aitraaz during this time.
Humraaz might not go down in history for its stellar performances or nuanced dialogues but it surely holds its ground for its edge-of-the-seat plot twists.