Planet Bollywood
Producer: Mukesh Bhatt
Director: Anurag Basu
Starring: Mallika Sherawat, Emraan Hashmi, Ashmit Patel
Music: Anu Malik
Lyrics: Sayeed Quadri, Rahat Indori
Genre: Suspense
Recommended Audience: Adult
Film Released on: 02 April 2004
Reviewed by: Narbir Gosal  - Rating: 7.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.09 / 10 (rated by 412 viewers)
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The Hollywood hit Unfaithful earned it´s lead actress Diane Lane an Oscar nomination. On the other side of the Atlantic it´s has already spawned two Hindi remakes. The first, Hawas, released a week before the second, Murder. While Hawas was a disaster, Murder cashed in on some really hot sex scenes and set the cash registers on fire, making it the first universal hit of the year and another success for the Bhatt´s. Murder is no way near as entertaining as the original, but it is well shot with taut direction (Anurag Basu) and good performances by the three lead actors. As far as Hindi films go, it´s pushing the envelope with some bold sex scenes, but it´s worth a watch at least once.

Simran (a sexy and confident Mallika Sherawat) is in an unhappy marriage to Sudhir (Ashmit Patel). They have a young son Kabir and live in Bangkok. Sudhir is always busy with work and irritated when around his wife which constantly makes Simran feels isolated. One rainy day she runs into an ex-flame Sunny (Emraan Hashmi) who also lives in Bangkok and works professionally as a disc jockey at a club. Soon we learn that Sunny and Simran shared a passionate relationship in college and it led to Sunny going to jail over Simran. Now re-united, Simran begins to have an affair with Sunny as the unhappiness in her own marriage continues to increase. But the affair is going too far, even for Simran, who begins to feel guilty over it, however this doesn’t change the outcome which is ultimately due to Sunny’s aggressiveness and the outcome of the film which is resonated in its title.

Murder is definitely not a family film, its theme is bold and that is amplified by the numerous love scenes which make Jism look like a walk in the park. Director Anurag Basu has crafted a well shot film which is seen in the opening sequences with the police chase which accurately set the tone for the film. The subsequent interrogation scenes open the story quickly and keep the viewers attention. A majority of the story is told in flashback and they unfold quickly as well. The story packs small punches as we go and results in an above average thriller. In addition, the story is well told and complete, and all loose ends are tied up. Editing is first rate; the pace is even throughout the film, with that the cinematography is also good; it complements the director’s vision properly. The climax in the garden maze is nicely shot and the sex scenes, while a little on the adult side are well picturised.

In other technical aspects, dialogue and music are ok. Of the four songs Kaho Na Kaho is nicely done but the picturisation is only average. The cabaret number

Dil Ko Hazaar Baar is well shot and the perfect ode to the soft and sexy numbers of the 60´s. While keeping all this in consideration, Murder still doesn´t make a powerful impact. If you have seen the original or even Hawas, this movie won´t hold your interest. That is due to the fact that once the secret twist(s) unfold in this film, you´ve already predicted them. As a result this movie won´t have any repeat value except for the front benchers who will get their share of sex.

Murder does score on strong performances from a relatively new cast. The film revolves around Mallika Sherawat and she is aware that she must do a good job. Lucky for her she has the chops to pull off a role like this one. She´s confident and sexy as Simran and handles her emotional scenes with dignity. However dignity goes right out the window with the sex scenes, but Mallika is obviously not a shy girl (Her film Khwahish was also somewhat bold). The combination of decent acting skills and willingness to expose make Mallika perfect for Simran´s role (not to mention qualified to be a Bhatt banner heroine, like Bipasha Basu). Emraan Hashmi gives a better account of himself the second time around. In his debut,

Footpath, he was still raw, but as Sunny he gets the brooding playboy thing down. Several of his scenes with Mallika are well executed, but the sequence where he taunts Ashmit stands out. Sunny is such a volatile character that it allows Emraan to play with his acting range and capabilities, Emraan does a good job.

Ashmit Patel kind of fades into the background for the first half. In the second half he does a decent job, but his role isn´t as well etched as Simran or Sunny. This role is very different from Inteha, and Ashmit is equally comfortable in a more sober role. He also excels in the sequence where he is taunted by Sunny; the point where he boils over requires restraint. Ashmit will go far if he signs some good projects, he has what it takes. The supporting cast is functional, since the film revolves around these three principal characters, the supporting cast is really peripheral. Kashmira Shah´s special appearance in Dil Ko Hazaar Baar is hot. She has obviously been working out and looks great, however I still suffers nightmarish visions of her portions in Janasheen.

On the whole Murder is a movie which deserves at least one watch from those who haven´t seen Hawas or Unfaithful. However, like most of the Bhatt films it´s not a classic and who knows, by the end of the year you may even forget about it. While it is annoying to see yet another Hollywood adaptation, Anurag Basu´s direction makes up for it. His handle over story telling and his use of camera angles and lighting deserves a mention. A capable cast of relative newcomers puts a nice spin on things. Not only do the three leads come up with good performances, it´s nice to see three fresh faces onscreen. One word of caution though, please leave all kids at home; Murder is not a family movie, but it is an entertaining one.

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