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Blackout Review: Dumb Charade

June 07, 2024 12:09 IST
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Vikrant Massey is a man of undeniable talent. But he too can't rise above Blackout's derailed script that reduces the likes of Jisshu Sengupta, Chhaya Kadam and Mouni Roy to chumps, observes Sukanya Verma.

You know how an air of flippancy envelopes kids rehearsing a school play where the silliest of ideas are construed as adventure and the slightest of bungle sets off a room full of nervous giggles?

Or imagine a game of dots and boxes where you just keep drawing lines between the dots anywhere in the grid and corner the opponent into letting you capture a box.

Or how about Rachel Green's Thanksgiving trifle, where a little mixing up of sweet and savoury recipes created a bizarre combination of custardy dessert and shepherd's pie.

What's the point behind these utterly disconnected thoughts?

Watching Devang Shashin Bhavsar's directorial debut Blackout brought to mind these utterly random analogies but with none of the camaraderie, intelligence or hilarity of the above.

Trippy black comedies fuelled by freewheeling plots or ones that make something up as they go along make for a wacky joyride in subversion and dark humour. But Blackout's daffy aspirations refuse to up the ante of a potentially devious premise beyond a puerile practical joke.

What follows is a night long misadventure against the backdrop of Anil Kapoor's vigorous voice-over, Pune's moody rains and a host of kooky characters engaged in crime and comedy.


It all begins when Vikrant Massey's spirited crime reporter and sting operation specialist (as one of its many, MANY flashbacks makes sure to remind us) steps out of home in the middle of a widespread power cut, to run an errand and comes across an overturned van full of dead guys and copious loot.

Surprisingly the moral compass of this corruption-busting journo is easily skewed as he doesn't bat an eyelid before taking off with the booty until a road accident decides to play party pooper.

With writer-film-maker Bhavsar in no mood to offer bare minimum context to Massey's wicked impulses beyond good old greed, the focus shifts on the multiple characters that become a part of this trip to nowhere.

A sozzled tramp spewing cheesy poetry at the drop of a hat (a comfortably numb Sunil Grover), a pair of thuggish influencers (real life digital creators Karan Sudhakar Sonawane and Saurabh Dilip Ghadge), a damsel in distress (Mouni Roy), a shady politician (Chhaya Kadam) once part of Massey's sting operation, a sleuth (Jisshu Sengupta) saved for the third act...

And some more -- a bribe accepting cop, a deadpan repairs uncle with a gift for testing people's patience, a gangster straight out of a Snoop Dogg's fashionable music video, a wife waiting to satiate her anda pav craving and a best friend lying through his teeth, characters like traffic signals pop up every few seconds

That Blackout isn't done with its introductions until interval point tells how chaotic the storytelling is. Truly though it's the lack of wit and bonhomie that puts a spoke in its wheel.

'I don't feel good about this,' a character whines. 'Do you need Pudin Hara?' retorts his companion. The level of humour can be judged by this exchange alone or the makers wanting us to feel mightily amused by the slogan on Massey's tee, technically his wife's -- B**ch please, I'm a unicorn.

Save for Sonawane and Ghatge's rascally influencers and their devil-may-care quips around a shrill setup, Blackout's mindless game of dumb charade has little excitement in its bag of pea brained tricks and stereotypical betrayals.

Vikrant Massey is a man of undeniable talent. But he too cannot rise above Blackout's derailed script that reduces the likes of Jisshu Sengupta, Chhaya Kadam and Mouni Roy to chumps. Rather it's the first dialogue -- The End -- uttered by Massey you recall the most while waiting for the moment to finally arrive in this hokum whose clumsy film-making is as glaring as its sloppy attempts to camouflage a Japanese car logo.

Blackout streams on Jio Cinema.

Blackout Review Rediff Rating:

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