A visual treat that fails to be anything more than superficial, debutant writer-director Vikramjit Singh’s romantic thriller ‘Roy’ is a listless, sluggish film that can put an insomniac to sleep, despite boasting a ‘hot’ cast that includes Ranbir Kapoor.
But mercifully, ‘Roy’ is anything but a typical in-your-face Bollywood flick. The sound design is subtle, the background score unobtrusive, and the tenor of the onscreen performances refreshingly subdued. What ‘Roy’ lacks is soul and substance.
A temperamental Mumbai director, played by the suave Arjun Rampal, travels to Malaysia to shoot a film. There, he meets a woman from London (Jacqueline Fernandez), who is also a filmmaker.
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The Mumbai man changes girlfriends like jackets, but this time around he develops a serious crush on the pretty stranger. The lady becomes his muse and his incomplete screenplay begins to take shape.
In the fiction that he conjures up, a wily young art thief (Ranbir Kapoor) lands in Malaysia to rob a wealthy girl (Jacqueline in a double role) who lives alone on a sprawling estate.
‘Roy’ hinges on two parallel strands that overlap repeatedly. Real life, in which the two filmmakers explore each other’s feelings, and the imagined scenario, in which the conman launches a charm offensive to force his quarry to let her guard down, crisscross in a manner that is devoid of clarity and precision.
The film moves at a snail’s pace and is therefore unable to retain its grip on the audience beyond the first couple of sequences.
The psychological underpinning of the narrative is barely intelligible until a few minutes before the halfway mark, the point at which it emerges that the art heist is a figment of the fictional filmmaker’s imagination.
‘Roy’ fritters away the makings of an interesting plot premise. Had a little more thought gone into the film, it might have been a different story.
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The songs are hummable, the storytelling style is refreshingly free from Bollywood-style high drama, and the director allows the actors to underplay their characters. Rampal, as the writer-filmmaker running short of inspiration, is earnest in his effort to live the part.
Jacqueline Fernandez, who gets a great deal of footage, is unable to break free from the inchoate nature of the two roles that she plays.
As for Ranbir Kapoor, it is palpable that he is searching for more meat in the characterisation. Sadly, there just isn’t enough in the role for him to dig his teeth into.
Be that as it may, Vikramjit Singh seems to be a director definitely worth keeping an eye on.
– By Saibal Chatterjee