Bollywood has had a dearth of mystery thriller, but in the past couple of years we saw several films which have nuance, intriguing storylines and that touch of noir. Blank, is a terror drama based on sleeper cells, it doesn’t rise about the Good Muslim Bad Muslim tropes and is sold on the wave of the hyper nationalism that we get to see around us these days. The film’s plus point is that it is narrated in a non-linear manner which adds to the intensity of the film. A surma-kohl eyed Muslim out there to carry on terror attacks and blasts in Bharat are narratives which we have seen before. We have lost the count of movies which have plots of terrorists planning to carry out terror attacks in Mumbai, funded by tukde-tukde gang, and finally the man who saves all is a patriotic police officer, has been done to death. The movie will remind you of Baby in more than one ways, but the movie which has done so much research really falls short on an erratic screenplay. The blatant Islamophobia is hard to ignore in the film, but what else do you expect from the film, where one lead is contesting elections from Gurdaspur on a BJP ticket?
Storyline And Execution: This is the story of the suicide bomber, the canvas appears to be that of the investigating Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) Officer Siddhu Dewan (Sunny Deol), who is torn between his work and personal turmoil. Karan Kapadia plays Hanif, who is found by the Anti-Terrorism Squad with a bomb drilled into his chest. Yes, a bomb inserted in his heart. You read that right. If it goes off, so will 24 other bombs in Mumbai. This compels ATS chief Diwan (Deol) to huff and puff through the city’s slums and streets and turn the sleeper cells upside downn. Inspite of being asked to execute the boy, they still keep him alive. Diwan’s mens, including characters played by Karanvir Sharma and Ishita Dutta, similarly are in pursuit of a mean-eyed terrorist with a huge fake beard and a penchant for blurting out vague monologues. How the ATS finds the bombs and defeats the terrorists forms the crux of the film.
Direction: Directed by Behzad Khambata with a screenplay by Pranav Adarsh, Blank will remind you of a terror backed episode on the long-running show CID. The run-time of 111 minutes is too much for this half-baked terror drama, and the filmmaker tries hard to make his characters seem important by making them scream into their walkie-talkies. The film falters not just on the execution but on the technical aspect as well. Be its production design, editing or cinematography, everything leaves much to be desired. The sound design is unnecessarily loud. The only good aspect is the action. The hand-to-hand combat sequences, or the gun battle sequence towards the end have been choreographed to the T.
Performances: Well, the good part of the film is that Sunny Deol still has got it. We have seen him play a tough cop several times and his dhai-kilo ka haath packs a punch as always. Karan Kapadia, who debuts with this film is good in the action sequences, however, it is Deol with his charisma and machismo who overshadows Kapadia. Kapadia, could have emoted better in few scenes we feel, but since this is his launch vehicle, we can let him go for that. But there is no denying that Karan has put his heart and soul into the character he portrays. He is convincing and does a brilliant job of essaying the unassuming Hanif. He also displays his flair for action, with natural ease.
Amongst the supporting cast, Jameel Khan as the leader of the terrorists, Karanvir Sharma and Ishita Dutta, as part of the ATS team, are attractive to look at. But their roles are stereotypical and bland. The major twist at the end in Ishita’s characters goes off-balance and becomes an object of ridicule. Visually, the film still does not appear to be realistic, as there are way too many loopholes in the script. However, we also enjoyed the top-angle shots capturing the vehicle chase which is reminiscent of several Hollywood films.
In the end, this is an out and out Sunny Deol film. This is a treat for Sunny Deol fans who wanted to see their favourite actor back on screen playing a tough cop. Psst, Along with being a Sunny Deol fan, if you are also a fan of Akshay Kumar, there is a certain surprise for you when the end-credits start rolling out. We give 1.5 chirps to this film.