Blackmail movie review: Irrfan Khan is terrific!

Blackmail movie cast: Irrfan, Kirti Kulhari, Arunoday Singh, Divya Dutta, Pradhuman Singh, Anuja Sathe Gokhale, Omi Vaidya
Blackmail movie director: Abhinay Deo
Blackmail movie rating: 2 stars

It is late, well past office leaving time. We see a man doodling on a computer. He is clearly reluctant to leave. The watchman makes go home noises. Finally, the man fishes out a phone, and we see him type ‘leaving now’ in a long line of similar words. The exact phrase, no response below, with just a change in date.

In one glance, we know this man’s domestic history is dry, loveless, and uninviting. This smart shorthand gets us revved up, and we are off, for the ride. With the wonderful Irrfan in the driving seat, it can only be good, right?

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.

Revenge is never a one-way street. Human error and unbridled desire come in the way of neat plans, and we see Dev (Irrfan) and his bored wife (Kulhari), Ranjit (Arunoday) and his lush of a wife (Dutta), Dev’s colleagues who are his inadvertent partners in crime– a guy who can’t zip it up, a girl whose greed comes before a mighty fall, and a boss who is too clever by half (Pradhuman, Gokhale, and Vaidya, respectively) — circling around each other, dipping in to pick up their crumbs, scooting off, and circling back again.

The idea that no one’s a ‘doodh-ka-dhula’ innocent, and that everyone has a grey streak or quirk is what can make well-done black comedies so much fun. 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.

The one man who keeps us watching, regardless, is Irrfan, who plays a jerk-off artist and blackmailer as essentially a decent guy making the best of a bad job. He is one actor who can, with subtle shifts, reveal an interior life; he can show without telling.

He is terrific. The film doesn’t match up.

As the chilly weather conditions begin to creep in, treat yourself and your loved ones to some out of the world indoors entertainment with Bollywood films at Ster-Kinekor. This April Ster-Kinekor is showing a hot blazing black Bollywood comic drama; Black Mail.

To enjoy of this humorous Bollywood title Black Mail, visit The Zone, Rosebank or Forest Hill, Centurion to indulge in this witty movie!

Find out more by visiting or download the SK App on your smartphone. You can also book at the box office.  For news and updates, go to Facebook: Ster-Kinekor Theatres | follow Ster-Kinekor on Twitter: @Ster-Kinekor. For all queries, call Ticketline on 0861-Movies (668 437).


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One comment

  1. 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.

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