Film: “Machine”; Director: Abbas-Mustan; Cast: Mustafa Burmawala, Kiara Advani, Ronit Roy, Eshan Shanker, Dalip Tahil; Rating:*1/2
This is a convoluted love story. A car enthusiast and an all-rounder Sara Thapar (Kiara Advani) is the most popular girl at a school somewhere in North India.
She is friends with Aditya, Lucky, Sid, Vicky and Aeisha, her besties and it is obvious that Aditya and Vicky are vying for her attention.
One fine day, Sara — on her way back from a convent where she goes to offer charity — is interrupted by a mysterious young man Ransh (Mustafa). He apparently is a new entrant to the school. And soon they realise they share similar interests.
Meanwhile, Sara starts receiving mysterious gifts. Thinking it is Ransh who is sending them to her, Sara inadvertently falls in love with him.
The writing lacks depth and novelty. The script starts off as a romance flick. In the first half, the narrative breaks into numerous song sequences that make the film seem like a musical and there is Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” thrown in for good measure.
And then, the track quickly changes gear to an intriguing thriller only to later disintegrate into a confused cauldron of genres, which includes a full-blown revenge drama with cliches galore.
The film is replete with Abbas-Mustan’s trademarks of shock value and mystery. But unfortunately, as they unravel, one gets the feel of deja-vu. All of it seems to be oft seen in their earlier films.
The film is a stylishly mounted and is purported to be the launch pad into the big league for Abbas’s son Mustafa.
He has earlier appeared in cameos in films like “Coffee Shop” (2008) and “Players” (2012). But alas! Mustafa’s personality is devoid of charisma and he lacks screen presence.
His performance on screen is low on energy and lacks the requisite intensity. Also, his diction, especially in English, leaves a lot to be desired and his two left feet are obvious in the dance sequences.
Some unintentional lines spoken with intense sincerity induce chuckles aplenty.
Kiara Advani as Sara is competent and she delivers with sincerity. Eshan Shankar is competent in a dual role as Aditya and his look-alike brother Raj. Ronit Roy as Sara’s father and Dalip Tahil as Kris Alter are perfunctory in supporting roles befitting their personality.
Visually, the film is glossy and the director duo have exploited virgin foreign locales to give the film a fresh look, but passing these off as India, is one of their follies.
The background score, with its adrenaline packed beats, is haunting and is used to create a frenzied tempo. The songs like “Chatur Naar”, “Tera Junoon” and “Tu Cheez Badi” are the latest remixes of old numbers.
They resemble a music album, well-choreographed and picturised, but they are not memorable. Also, they do not add to the progression of the tale.
Overall, the film which had the potential to be engrossing peters off as an insipid fare.