Film: London Confidential: The Chinese Conspiracy
Director: Kanwal Sethi
Cast: Mouni Roy, Purab Kohli, Kulraj Randhawa
London Confidential: The Chinese Conspiracy, streaming on ZEE5, is an absorbing story set in the home of Big Ben. A world soon after Covid-19, another impending pandemic and tension at the borders; it has facts merged with fiction. Kudos to S Hussain Zaidi for creating the film so soon, and director Kanwal Sethi for shooting the story in such a short time (it is the first major film to be shot through the pandemic). But does this early bird catch the worm?
The story takes place between RAW (Research and Analysis Wing of India) and MMS (The Ministry of State Security — Chinese equivalent of RAW) trying to catch hold of a source who can stop another pandemic. The plot holds you for 1 hour 17 minutes, but is rather slow. Some kills, other leads and short chases keep the momentum going, but if you like chills and thrills, this one will not impress.
However, it’s the subplots — human relationships in all their complexities — that keep the film engaging. Adultery, divorce, custody, homosexuality and long-distance marriages — one can see the whole range in the unfortunate times when everyone is seemingly alone. Sadly, the film it doesn’t pan out well as an investigative thriller.
While one enjoys the cinematography by Ewan Mulligan, muted shades that grey London is shown in, keep the focus on the main characters — Uma (Mouni Roy) and Arjun (Purab Kohli). Then there is Kulraj Randhawa as the Indian ambassador. While most of the cast fits the bill just fine, doing their job in the frameworks provided, Purab taking on two big burly men is a little unconvincing. The hastily put script has many loopholes. On the sunny side, the investigation officer doles out some real tips on pregnancy fashion!
The agents, a painting, Tai Chi and all the masala is there, but one is left wanting a degree of intrigue and pace. One’s expectations are rather high from the ‘fastest’ crime writer Zaidi, whose previous screen outing was Class of 83. Still, the movie is a decent watch on the sheer power of it being set in today’s milieu and time.