Director: Kushal Srivastava
Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Mandira Bedi, Raima Sen, Sharib Hashmi
A hotel-cum-bar named Vodka Diaries in Manali is the centre of attraction in Kushal Shrivastava's directorial debut, owing to 5 suspicious murders that take place in one night. ACP Ashwini Dixit (Kay Kay Menon) sets out to solve the murder mystery, rather mysteries, and the whodunit film soon turns into a psychological thriller.
Accompanying Ashwini is his assistant Ankit (Sharib Hashmi), who it seems was taken in just to throw random cringe-worthy jokes. Like after finding a corpse tucked away in snow, he says, "isko toh mai freeze bhi nahi bol sakta" or at another point in the film he says, "laash man standing" without batting an eyelid.
Apart from an unfunny assistant, there's also the ACP's wife Shikha (Mandira Bedi), who is a key part of his life. She is unbelievably impressed with her own poetry skills and tries to talk poems at every chance she gets. The makers have tried to develop their relationship and show it as "cute" but alas; you don't get to know them enough to actually care for them. Not the protagonists, not the dead people. Not anyone.
The search for the murderer comes to a halt when Shikha goes missing and dead bodies start coming back to life. Did they die at all? Was there any murder? Is Ashwini hallucinating? Where is Shikha? Questions begin to rise but you never really want to find an answer to them because after a point, it becomes too repetitive and tedious.
Roshni Banerjee (Raima Sen) enters as a suspect and tries to maintain some mystery as she flirts with a man who is putting in equal efforts to sound charming. The two indulge in a seductive conversation and we get to hear cheesy lines like "Girls, I kill girls."
But as predicted, the mystery soon blows up due to Raima's unconvincing lashes and equally flat lines. Each actor, it seems, is trying to outdo the other with unrealistic acting and forced expressions. There are certain scenes in this film which completely cross the barriers of logical foundations- like at a book launch, a fan actually shouts "I love you" throwing away a flying kiss and the writer, standing at the podium, responds with an "I love you too."
But what's truly sad is how and why a talent like Kay Kay Menon is wasted in a film like this. The idea might have looked great on paper and but the end product isn't even half as good.
The makers have tried to incorporate a twist of sorts towards the end but given its lousy buildup combined with a loud background score, it's more tedious than intriguing to survive till the end. And the only reason why someone would stay till the end is to actually try and solve the mystery as to why Menon signed this film.
The end only makes you feel as there's not enough Vodka that'll help you survive this film, which it seems, is also the result of a bad Vodka hangover.