Murder mystery that killed interest : The Tribune India

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Murder mystery that killed interest

Murder mystery  that killed interest

Film: House of Lies

Director: Saumitra Singh

Cast: Sanjay Kapoor, Rituraj K Singh, Ssmilly Suri, Ajitesh Gupta, Hiten Paintal, Simran Kaur Suri

Vikrant Parmar

Interest is piqued as the title House of Lies appears on screen first, a Hindi film with an English title (albeit xeroxed from a 2012 American television series)…hmmm maybe it’s a fare to savour. Quite the opposite, it all goes bitter within the first few scenes, only to be salvaged towards the end; a little too late, a little too less.

Streaming on ZEE5, this movie spawns a feeling of déjà vu. An exotic locale, a palatial house, a rich paranoid man, surrounded by kin who eye his wealth; a murder, suspects, investigation…has it not been done to death? What’s new then, perhaps the crypto-currency angle. Albert Pinto (Rituraj Singh), who goes by the philosophy jab tak pair nahi failaoge tab tak badi chadar kaise khareedoge, gains a fortune, Rs 35 crore to be precise, via the digital medium (read crypto-currency), but is skeptical to share any of the details with his family or friends for fear of his life. On predictable lines, his body is found the morning after he celebrates his birthday with family and friends.

Enter Rajveer Singh Chaudhary (Sanjay Kapoor), from the Crime Branch, Mumbai, jo hafte bhar main case solve kar dete hai, after Pinto’s wife Ragini (Ssmilley Suri) summons the local sub-inspector Abhay Mathur (Hiten Paintal). One wonders how the case reaches Mumbai in a flash of an eye and an officer is deputed faster than that?

Rajveer finds opposition in a shouting-shrieking, plastic-faced Enforcement Directorate officer Shashi Grewal (Simran Kaur Suri), who is there to handle the money laundering angle to the killing. Overnight…? Anyway, her attempts to take over the reins of the case are thwarted by Rajveer in interactions that are more noise than meaning.

Then there is the gay house help Zaid (Ajitesh Gupta), who becomes a pawn in the whole plot. In between, there are two women who are having rollicking affairs within the family tree; mere caricatures than characters.

Clues fly about aimlessly, as one Doctor Fernandis (Mir Sarwar) is introduced to inject the drug poisoning angle to the case, lest that be left out! When all threads are supposedly gathered, Rajveer, a la Hercule Poirot, the amiable detective of Agatha Christie’s books, sits everyone down in the parlour to expose the whys and hows. But by that time, tedium has already set in and yawns of ennui have scattered attention. The ending does some damage control. Only if, just about. Sanjay Kapoor, with his hands akimbo and a forced smile in all exchanges, tries hard to adapt the charm of bade bhaiya Anil Kapoor, but falls way short. The late Rituraj has nothing much to showcase through this act, while the other actors seem more like a collection of amateur artistes who have gathered to make sure the film is doomed.

At 82 minutes, thankfully, the film is devoid of sub-plots!