Ashok Mehta Visuals P. Ltd.'s MOKSHA, cinematographed-directed by Ashok Mehta, is a confusing film. For, the maker has no clue as to what he actually wants to convey. At best, one can describe it as a highly complicated, two-and-a-half hour ad film showcasing the talent of actor Arjun Rampal.
The film tells the story of Vikram (Arjun Rampal), who dreams of starting an institution where the poor and needy can get justice for free. But Vikram faces an uphill task of collecting funds for an institution like this.
Together with Ritika (Manisha Koirala), his sweetheart, he hatches the plot to rob a bank. But soon after, Ritika develops cold feet and dissuades Vikram from carrying out the robbery. On the day of the bank robbery, a lady informs the bank authorities about the burglary and the officials get on a high alert.
Thereafter, Ritika is found dead and all fingers point towards Vikram. A courtroom battle ensues. What happens next?
There are several problems with the film. To start with, the plot of the film is so absurd that it is hard to digest. What complicate things are the half-a-dozen flashbacks in the narrative, which could've easily been evaded.
Besides, the screenplay has several abstract scenes, like Manisha's dream sequence, which, though stylishly shot, will not be enjoyed by a regular cinegoer.
In an effort to make a 'different' film, director Ashok Mehta has opted for a screenplay that makes you wonder whether you are watching an art film or a commercial flick.
Moreover, the narrative is devoid of tender moments between the lovers and even comedy is conspicuous by its absence. What dilutes the impact further is the lethargic pace the story moves ahead. Even the music (Rajesh Roshan) is a terrible letdown. The outcome is a dry, heavy film.
On the plus side, Ashok Mehta's cinematography is awesome. The film has been stylishly shot and every frame looks awe-inspiring. The sets (Pramod Guruji and Vinod Guruji) are also attractive. The background score (Sulaiman & Salim Merchant) is first-rate. But as a director, Mehta's work is handicapped by a weak script.
Arjun Rampal excels in a role that was difficult to portray. He takes giant strides as a performer and proves that he's an actor with an amazing range. Manisha Koirala is just about okay, although her non-glamorous look (minus make-up) at several places is too glaring to be ignored.
Naseeruddin Shah, Danny Denzongpa, Suresh Oberoi, Kiran Kumar and Gulshan Grover enact their parts with effortless ease. Farida Jalal shines in a small role.
On the whole, MOKSHA is a dry and dull film that won't find flavour with the audience. Besides, the pirated VCDs have been in circulation much before the film's theatrical release, which will hamper its box-office prospects greatly.