Since the day Murder 2 (2011) from the Bhatt camp of Bollywood got released, I had been reading in various reviews and articles that it’s based on a Korean movie – The Chaser (2008). Almost all the reviewers were echoing this fact in a single voice. However, quite coincidentally, just prior to the release of Murder 2, I happened to watch an almost forgotten thriller on the internet whose storyline is more or less the same as that of Murder 2 as well as The Chaser. It’s Shart (1986).Shart (bet) is the story of serial killings in the city. All the victims are found to be either call girls or the women of dubious character. Interestingly, the murderer deliberately leaves a specific clue near every victim after the crime as if he is interested in drawing some specific investigator towards him (who only can understand that clue correctly). The investigation of this intricate case which is actually a cluster of many murder cases, is assigned to inspector Arjun Dutt (Kanwaljeet Singh) who lives a happy life with his sweetheart-turned-wife – Kiran (Shabana Aazmi). His investigation leads him to Vikram (Nasiruddin Shah) who is none other than Devendra, the college buddy of him as well as Kiran. After the murder of a model – Roohi (Saarika), Arjun pounces upon Vikram alias Devendra but he could not be trapped by Arjun because of his clever planning and airtight alibi. Arjun’s superior officer removes him from the case but Kiran encourages him to go ahead with his investigation privately and catch the culprit red-handed. Arjun finally does so when Kiran herself is going to be the latest victim of the psycho-killer at large.
Shart is not a suspense movie because the identity of the killer as well as the reason behind his being so, is clarified by the narrator well-in-advance through flash backs. Quite naturally, the regular Bollywood movie viewers know the outcome of this cat and mouse game too in advance. Still the movie is interesting, mainly because of the brilliant performance of Nasiruddin Shah as well as the lovely portrayal of the college life of the trio (Kanwaljeet-Shabana-Nasiruddin) in flash back. There is no comedy in the movie but romance is there, emotions are there and the psyche of the killer has been explained properly through his background and life-events. The curiosity remains with the viewer as to how the investigator hero will catch the murderer. Overall the execution of the plot is not bad but it could have been a much better one. The director – Ketan Anand could not exploit the brilliant story idea properly.Shart is, by and large, the movie of Nasiruddin Shah whose underplay as the dangerous killer is simply outstanding. He does not resort to any mannerisms or theatricals. Still he is deadly like anything. He has not been portrayed as cruel as Prashant Narayanan in Murder 2 but his eyes and facial expressions are sufficient to send chills down your spine. Shabana is a great actress and she delivers again. Hers is a meaty role unlike that of Jacqueline Farnandez in Murder 2. Kanwaljeet is one of those talented and dashing heroes of Bollywood who did not get their due (finally he resorted to TV serials). He is very impressive and looks like the prince-charming romantic hero (and millions of times better than the monkey-faced Emraan Haashmi). The supporting cast including Saarika, Tom Alter, Mac Mohan, Dina Pathak etc. have done justice to the assigned roles.
Bappi Lahiri’s music is good. Zindagi Hai sung by Yesudas and the male-duet in the voices of Bappi Da himself and Shailendra Singh – Tera Mera Tera Mera Pehla Yaaraana deserve special mention. Technically, the movie is ok albeit with low production value. However neither there is any dose of sex in this movie (which seems to be under the copyright of the Bhatt Brothers), nor is there any brutal display of the murders taking place. Despite getting an ‘A’ certificate from the Censor Board, the moviemaker has kept this movie free from undue exhibition of sex and violence.
While recommending this movie to the thriller fans as well as the admirers of Nasiruddin Shah, let me put a question to all the reviewers of Murder 2, singing in chorus that it’s a lift from The Chaser – When the basic grains of Murder 2 as well as The Chaser are the same as Shart which was released more than two decades prior to The Chaser, why can’t we say that The Chaser was inspired from Shart ? Why are we always degrading the Indian minds ?
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