Missing: A slogfest of lies and lameness

It is unwise to show all your cards in the beginning. Even worse is when you don’t have any. Suspense thrives on intrigue. But the so-called mystery in Missing is too barefaced to generate any impact or thrill.

Mukul Abhyankar’s directorial debut unfolds in Mauritius after a husband (Manoj Bajpayee) and wife (Tabu) duo check into a fancy resort with their sick three-year old daughter. The husband is a smarmy chap with a roving eye while his spouse keeps busy playing mommy to the sickly child. Not too long after, their girl disappears and a pushy cop pops up to investigate the mess.

Everyone overdoses on secrecy and nothing is what it seems. And yet, Missing is in a tearing rush to reveal why and stuff in another round of red herrings. The monotony is awfully exhausting and drab in the absence of script, craft and nerve-racking unpredictability.

Between Sudeep Chaterjee’s groovy camerawork offering a virtual tour of the hotel property and M M Kreem’s ominous background score working overtime to render Missing the bearing of a nasty albeit non-existent horror, the film is just an excuse to misuse Tabu’s exceptional talent and awaken Manoj Bajpayee’s dormant ham.

Perhaps its true intent is to highlight Annu Kapoor’s French accent and prowess in unintended hilarity. It is so painstaking and peculiar and oblivious, I may have laughed at his sincerity.

Missing stretches a 15-minutes premise into a slogfest of lies and lameness. What would still pass muster had it shown the slightest bit of smarts or slyness winds up somewhere between odd and awkward.

At the end of its 120 minutes, I felt as old and weary as the guy emerging from the jeep inquiring if they found anything. The answer is directly proportional to the contents of this movie.

Rating: 1

This review was first published on rediff.com.

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