The glare of rich, recipe easy and comfortable life that blurs the lines between morality and crime (while the protagonist’s lover looks on helplessly) has been an oft explored theme in Hindi cinema. Right from Shri 420 to Naam to Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman to Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hai, several Rajus have been blown away by the easy money tainted with blood, urged to mud mud ke na dekh to the middle class but tough and morally high life they have just disparagingly discarded. One more addition to such morally corrupted protagonist list is Kunal Kadam ( Kunal Kemmu, with his surname spelling changed, mind it!).
Only problem, while the previous movies have had depth and grit, Blood Money is a wishy-washy half-baked hastily put together project. Sample: A scene where Kunal’s friend’s funeral is happening looks as if the director was in a tearing hurry to finish the shoot to handover back the location; they couldn’t even gather a proper burial ground.
The difference between Kunal and his screen-predecessors, is that Kunal never really leaves his morality (even when he sells his soul) to unabashedly enjoy his new-found lavishness. Which could also be the problem with the script, which doesn’t allow for too much breadth. Or any wit. The scene where Kunal comes to limelight in his boss’s eyes has as much fizz as a two-day old opened cola bottle!
Also, the film jerks at odd places; it’s like reading a novel with some pages missing. Example: the same friend’s death sequence is inexplicable and comes about suddenly. Similarly, in the opening sequence (and again, repeated in the climax), the villain menacingly states that ‘My real name is Zakaria’. Really? Are we supposed to get scared? Should that name ring any bell? Is Zakaria = Osama? The entire pomposity falls funnily flat on its ridiculous face.
Blood Money (or Blood diamonds) is the illegal monies earned via rogue African mines, which also are conduits to arms-smuggling and terrorism. All this masked in supposedly legit diamond companies. Or so the film informs us in the film’s most compelling sequence. Wish they had explored that deeply rather than have repeated scenes of the haplessly waiting wife throwing off food in the trash.
But question – why would such a company recruit management trainees from MBA institutes, that too from India, when it is based in South Africa? It seems very incongruous. Oh well, let’s not bother about all that.
However, it’s not all a lost cause. To give the devil it’s due, the film doesn’t bore or make you itch for it to get over and done with. It’s mild, but that can’t be a crime, right? And it does give you a few inadvertent/unintended laughs ( The hero screams – ‘you thought this was some eighties film?’ to the villain in the end. I hope his tongue didn’t hurt in his cheek!)
The lead performances are very sincere, which also adds immense value. The film’s short length (12 reels!) is its asset.
I am told the film’s music has done well, though it sounded like an assembly line product from various other Bhatt films.
Overall, it’s not a bad time-pass. But I guess people will stay away from it as it is, irrespective of the review: the near-empty hall on its opening Saturday night speaks a lot about its fate