“Are you here for fun or peace?” asks a character to another in Mohit Suri’s Malang. It’s a question that pretty much sums up the central conflict of the film. In Suri’s dark and deceitful world everything comes at a price. And while a denizen can still hope to find moments of ephemeral pleasure, any long-term promise of happiness is like a chimera.  And so when two individuals decide to fall in love with each other the cosmos conspires to make their lives a living hell. Well, that’s more or less the story of Malang which stars Disha Patani, Aditya Roy Kapur, Anil Kapoor, Kunal Khemu in pivotal roles.

Now, in order to thicken the plot, Suri chooses to tell this story in a nonlinear fashion. But why complicate matters? Because that’s what you do when you have a wafer thin plot to deal with. You try and invent ways to keep the audience guessing. You misdirect the viewer with the hope of adding more weight to the narrative. And when nothing works you make your characters behave in unnatural ways. You purposefully introduce the real villain of the story as an honest looking person. You make the person act against character just to mislead the viewer. And when it suits your need you quickly reveal the truth. But in doing so you don’t startle but actually annoy the viewer. If that’s not enough you purposefully show a positive character in a bad light to keep the viewer confused. Now all these would have still served as decent elements of suspense had the plot carried enough weight to pull off these tricks in the first place.

Jean-Luc Godard once famously said, “All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun.” Mohit Suri seems to have taken it a little too seriously in Malang. All that stands out in the film is Disha Patani, who looks convincing in the role of a carefree girl, and various kinds of firearms. Aditya Roy Kapur can be seen a very different avatar in Malang. He seems to have worked really hard on his physique but his acting still needs a lot of work. Suri’s inability to use Anil Kapoor well is another major disappointment of Malang. As Inspector Agashe he never really looks bad whenever he is on the screen but his shoddy character arc causes a major hindrance. However, Kunal Khemu impresses yet again after Kalank. He steals almost every scene he is a part of. It’s really a bit disappointing that he is giving such good performances in films that don’t really do justice to his acting talents. Despite all these weaknesses, Malang is expected to benefit from its pacy editing, edgy music, and eye-catching shooting locations. Also, the romantic scenes/song sequences featuring Patani (flouting her hourglass figure draped in beautiful costumes) and Kapur (flashing his ripped physique) will most likely woo the youngsters.

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