Director: Behzad Khambata
Cast: Sunny Deol, Karan Kapadia and Karanvir Sharma
Blank, an action thriller is the story of a young Muslim boy Hanif (Karan Kapadia) who serves as a human bomb for Jihadis of unclear provenance. Suffice to say that he’s a pawn in their religious business that aims at no specific purpose other than to pull off a series of bomb blasts in India. The opening shot of the young brought Hanif down on his knees amidst arid saltpans, waiting to be shot by the ATS chief (Sunny Deol) and his team, is perhaps an attempt at a symbolic portrayal of the good Muslim brought to heel both by the so-called protectors of the faith and the protectors of the law.
Unfortunately what follows, does little to elucidate the point well enough. Behzad Khambata’s film and its uniquely placed protagonist fails to make the larger point –about the precarious social positioning and perception of the Indian Muslim. Mulk, which released last year, made the point strongly and effectively. Blank falters in doing so.
The screenplay by Pranav Adarsh and Pradeep Atluri while it does provide a degree of suspense, is quite a stretch for most part. The plot is wafer thin and allows very little room for performance. Debutant Karan Kapadia—former actress and costume designer Simple Kapadia’s (Dimple Kapadia’s sister) son and the leading man of the film --although he does not have much to sink his teeth into, does have a strong screen presence. Kapadia falls in the category of unconventional actors and could make a mark if he picks his films carefully although he may have to work some more on the emotion and drama department. While it is encouraging to see industry kids like Kapadia choose unconventional scripts, it is hardly enough to impress the auds, who have increasingly high expectations of homegrown films.
Sunny Deol as the ATS chief Diwan is understated and far more subdued than one is accustomed to perhaps in keeping with the new -age tenor of the film but alas, even his presence does little to lift the film. Jameel Khan as the evil terrorist is such a stereotype that there is nothing even remotely intriguing about him.
An annoying soundtrack persists through the duration of the film but does precious little in adding to the necessary atmospherics that Blank desperately needs.
Khambata’s direction is choppy and at best gives us a film that resembles the television show CID rather than a riveting high octane thriller. Given the movie choices for the weekend, it was telling that there were more takers for Avengers: Endgame in its second weekend than for the locally made Hindi films.
Given the odds, this one is likely to draw a blank.
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