Movie Review: Main Aur Charles

October 30, 2015

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

If you grew up in Goa in the 80s (as I did), then there was no escaping O’Coqueiro. It was almost a ritual to take visiting friends and family to the restaurant and say, “This is where Charles Sobhraj was caught, you know!”

Sobhraj was part of urban folklore – a suave criminal accused of murder and fraud who also evoked curiosity and sometimes even faint admiration. But the character in Prawaal Raman’s “Main Aur Charles” (Me and Charles) inspires none of these emotions.

Randeep Hooda plays Charles, a character obviously based on Sobhraj, but never identified explicitly as him. The 123-minute film chronicles his escape from Tihar prison in India, his capture in Goa and the trial that followed. What it fails to capture, though, is the personality of a man who has been accused of more than 20 murders and was wanted in three countries.

A man who could kill so many people and was able to amble out of jail after drugging every single guard has to be some sort of a genius and a psychopath, but Raman’s narrative never quite hits the high note, unlike the background music in the film. Instead, “Main Aur Charles” is a disjointed effort that chooses to focus on the trimmings while neglecting the actual story.

The Charles in this film has a French accent (which makes his dialogue difficult to decipher), is always smiling mysteriously and surrounded by women. He finds himself pitted against police officer Amod Kant (played by Adil Hussain), a grumpy man who spends all his time ranting against Charles rather than expending any energy in gathering evidence against him.

Raman’s narrative, especially in the first half-hour, is hyperactive with dizzying camera angles and rushed shots. The background music is high-pitched, telling us to expect some action. But there is none.

The dialogue is stilted and often farcical, like Richa Chadha’s character of a law student who keeps repeating the words “dysfunctional family” to justify Charles’ actions. Hooda plays the role of Charles with the required panache and an air of mystery but is hampered by an uneven script and Raman’s haphazard direction.

This could have been an attempt to get under the skin of a famous psychopathic criminal, but it falls flat because the film-makers choose style over substance.

(Editing by David Lalmalsawma; follow Shilpa on Twitter @shilpajay, and David @davidlms25. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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i have not seen a single review for a movie that has satisfied yourself. No offence.

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