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Blackmail

Released Date : Apr 6, 2018

Directed by : Abhinay Deo

Box Office : 16.92 Crores

Genre : Black Comedy Drama

FBO Critics Review

Dev Meher

Irrfan Khan as Dev Kaushal
Kirti Kulhari as Reena Kaushal
Divya Dutta as Dolly Verma
Arunoday Singh as Ranjit Arora
Omi Vaidya as Boss DK
Anuja Sathe as Prabha Ghatpande
Pradhuman Singh as Anand Tripathi
Gajraj Rao as Chawla
Urmila Matondkar as a special appearance in the item number: Bewafa Beauty

We have known Abhinay Deo for ‘Delhi Belly’. From next week, he will be known as the director of Blackmail fame.

The film mocks society, marriages and the shallowness of our ethics, the veneers of garments we put on our realities. If you have this wretched ability to see beyond the farce of social life, this film is an anarchist`s slogan that shakes you up from the core. Christopher Nolan, who is known to create insightful and logical movies, says that movies are never meant to deliver logic. What you find logical is an emotional continuity of scenes. And hey, how true, isn’t it?

The story is simple. It’s the revenge story of a man who doesn’t like violence. Irrfan Khan plays Dev is in a dull marriage with Reena played by Kirti Kulhari. One evening, he returns from office with a bouquet of flowers, lifted from a graveyard because the market is shut, and finds his wife in bed with another man.

Instead of killing either of them, which he considers separately, he decides to blackmail the lover. The lover, Ranjit Arora, played Arunoday Singh, turns out to be an idiot married for money with dim-witted Dolly played by Divya Dutta. He survives on the breadcrumbs thrown by his rich father-in-law who very well knows him and his intentions. The blackmail game goes completely out of hand when Dev tells his office colleague Anand Tripathi, played by Pradhuman Singh, about it over a drink. Anand tells Prabha, the new female employee played by Anuja Sathe, over another drink. The blackmailer ends up getting blackmailed, paying his own blackmail amount unintentionally. The circle of blackmails that involves scheming office colleagues, a sly private detective, a cheating wife, an idiot lover and his manic wife dominoes into a dangerous mess that our protagonist unscrambles beautifully.

It`s a better film that Delhi Belly and its real smartness lie in how it stops short of being complicated. What drove powerfully into my heart is the central message. The way we have been using marriages to conceal our lies, negotiations, the filth let in by fear and cowardice. Basically, marriages have been used as tombs to let the sleeping skeletons hidden. And our modern lives, as a result, have become graveyards, is the simile and constant motif used in the movie.

Irrfan and Arunoday shine. Irrfan gives us a character we like because he will do no harm when none is done to him. He invests Dev with fear and vulnerability. Arunoday is, for the first time after ‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’ gets a meaty role and measures up. Gajraj Rao as Chawla, who you have been seeing in TVF is hilarious. Omi Vaidya as Boss DK is hysterically amusing. Anuja Sathe is good and I would like to see more of her. For the rest of the cast, I did not feel as much.

The real winner here is the writing. Hurray! It is illuminating, hilarious, bright and dark, hopeful and hopeless, alternatively from sequence to sequence. In such craft of manipulating the audience lies the joy creating movies.

In last 30 minutes, the film gets murkily dark and disturbing. The root of all problems in the planet, as the film suggests, is the unquenchable desire for sex and money whose first victim is human principles. Dark Humor layers well on Colourful night lights, a characteristic of Deo`s movies. The backgrounds are pieces of art. I particularly remember the Chappal Signage under which Dev does his reflections. It is like another character. Sometimes the references are direct for such a layered film. The scenes are magic. Many many of them will end up in the Bollywood book of urban classics.

It is a small film that I hope holds up against the mammoth Baaghi 2 in theatre. We need this film to succeed because it is brilliant cinema, the year’s best till now. But, this film could have been an astounding piece of art, only if they exchanged some convenient plotting for a braver storytelling. And, Urmila Matondkar`s item number is forgettable. Plus, maybe, this one needs its negatives overlooked.

I am going with 4 out of 5 for Blackmail. I am not complaining because I will watch this again.

Other Site Expert Review

Site: Filmcompanion     Review By- Anupama Chopra

The story gets repetitive as one blackmail plays over another and soon enough, the energy deflates. Blackmail is about controlled chaos but to pull that off, you need much sharper writing and a faster pace. Blackmail is twenty minutes too long and unnecessarily bloated. At one point, Urmila Matondkar shows up in a nightclub. It’s nice to see her on screen again but it adds little to the film. I also wish the talented Kirti Kulhari had more to do. Abhinay clearly has a keen eye for the darkness and absurdity of daily life but Blackmail isn’t sparkling enough to sustain interest. Source : Visit site for more

Site: News18     Review By- Rajeev Masand

It’s the film’s unique brand of humor – some of it pitch black and Coen-esque – that makes Blackmail worth your time, despite its shortcomings. Be warned that it’s too long by at least 20 minutes, and requires patience. But give it a chance. A lot of it flies.I’m going with three out of five. Source : Visit site for more

Site: Indian Express     Review By- Shubhra

Wrong. Blackmail begins promisingly but descends pretty quickly into flatness and sluggishness, a classic problem of not knowing quite how to play out a perky idea: a cuckold’s plan to extract revenge gets taken over by the old saying about mice and men, and, in this instance, women.A couple of surprises do leap out at us, especially featuring Gokhale and Irrfan, she throwing off her nice girl garb, revealing her claws, and he backing off, and maneuvering. The rest of it, even in the blessedly quicker second half, is tiresome. Source : Visit site for more

Site: NDTV     Review By- Saibal

Feckless men on the back foot, wily and strong-willed women with transgressive tricks up their sleeves and a set of nondescript lives hurtling towards hell in an irreversible tailspin: Blackmail has them all. Sadly, in the end, they do not add up neatly enough to yield a genuine cinematic corker. Source : Visit site for more

Site: Economic Times     Review By- IANS

"Blackmail" is a virgin territory in the comedy genre. It is heady and hedonistic, cocky and compelling in the way the comedies of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee used to be. If only these veterans could see the sexiness that underlines all gender wars. "Blackmail" is a closeted Hrishikesh Mukherjee comedy with oodles of extra voluptuousness. Source : Visit site for more

Site: Bollywood Hungama     Review By- Hungama

On the whole, BLACKMAIL is quite an unconventional entertainer and a good black comedy. It may not have a pan India appeal but the target multiplex audience are sure to enjoy this flick. The costs of this film are reasonable and as a result, it’ll turn out to be a profitable venture for its producers. Source : Visit site for more

Site: DNA     Review By- Meena

Of course, do not take the film's message to heart. The movie simply recommends that when you discover that everyday situations are threatening to defeat you – like your wife having an affair or a bank harrowing you for EMIs -- just resort to pure, simple blackmail. Now, this should not be followed in real life, but in the film this works because the context is bang on. And it is done with more humour than bad intent. Source : Visit site for more

Site: Times Of India     Review By- Rachit

The plot of Blackmail is its hero and it manages to strike a good balance between dark and funny. Characters are bumped off, sometimes in most gory detail and strange events unfold, but the film never loses its vein of easy, black humour. This is one of the most wickedly funny films that we’ve seen in a long time. Source : Visit site for more

Site: Twitter     Review By- Taran Adarsh

Expect the unexpected... Twist after twist... Blackmail after blackmail... #Blackमेल charters an unexplored path and draws you into the world of adultery, deceit, double crossing and betrayal... Smart writing... Superb execution by #DelhiBelly director Abhinay Deo...One of those brave attempts that defy the stereotypes... Also, one of the best wild-wacky-quirky comedies to come out of the Hindi film industry... Strongly recommended! Source : Visit site for more

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