The premier production house, Vishesh Films, has the maximum number of film franchisees to its credit. The super success of RAAZ, MURDER and JANNAT spurred the Bhatts -- Mahesh and Mukesh -- to make hi-concept movies that merged erotica and thrill dexterously. The defining success of MURDER [Anurag Basu; 2004] and MURDER 2 [Mohit Suri; 2011], therefore, has led to monumental expectations from MURDER 3. But unlike the first two parts, which had a high quotient of erotica, the focus is less on erotica, more on emotions in MURDER 3. Yes, you read it right! Vishesh Bhatt, who makes his directorial debut with MURDER 3, reinvents the brand 'Murder', focusing more on the emotional drama. Also, the spotlight is on the two women protagonists this time.
Over the past few years, the Bhatts were often accused of sidetracking the emotional quotient -- the USP of their previous movies -- in their recent endeavors. The success of their new films notwithstanding, the emotional quotient had descended to an all-time low, the skeptics felt. I am sure, the Bhatts would've taken the criticism on their chin, for MURDER 3 is akin to a resurgence, a new beginning for the Bhatts, who have adapted to the changing times proficiently. In fact, post RAAZ 3, MURDER 2 and JANNAT 2, any other production house would've felt the vacuum, but not the Bhatts. With MURDER 3, they transform themselves into a new persona, rediscover their strengths [emotional quotient], but at the same time, garnish the proceedings with the tried and tested ingredient [erotica] to create a scrumptious dish that's delectable and delightful.
A quick clarification before I proceed further! MURDER 3 is the *official adaptation* of the Spanish thriller THE HIDDEN FACE [LA CARA OCULTA], but the Bhatts are known for their strong ingenious sensibilities when it comes to adapting foreign films for the pan-Indian market. Vishesh, the scion of Vishesh Films, seems to have imbibed this thought. For, as the reels of MURDER 3 unfold, you realize, MURDER 3 may have sourced from the Spanish movie, but Vishesh has Indianized it so damn well. It is *not* a cut and paste job!
A hot-shot fashion and wildlife photographer Vikram [Randeep Hooda] gets into a relationship with a waitress from a lounge, Nisha [Sara Loren]. She moves in with him in his palatial house outside the city. The old world house, made decades ago, is stunning as well as terrifying. It holds a vital secret which Nisha soon unearths: The mysterious disappearance of his former girlfriend Roshni [Aditi Rao Hydari].
One is uncertain about the genre of MURDER 3 in the first hour. There are spooky moments and you question yourself, is it about a haunted house? Is it a horror movie? Is there a ghost staring at the new woman in the house? Also, the plot relies on the usual twists in this hour... a lovey-dovey couple shifts to an isolated location outside the metropolis, the girl goes missing under mysterious circumstances, the guy is heart-broken, the cops suspect the guy, the guy falls in love with a new woman and gets her home... Just when you're about to give up, the variation happens at the onset of the second hour as the chunks begin to fall into place skillfully. What starts off as a ghost story that flaunts the depleted cliches soon transforms into an exhilarating fare, with several nail-biting and claustrophobic moments and a stunning conclusion that leaves you spellbound. The real twist comes to the fore towards the middle of the second hour, while the culmination leaves scope for carrying the franchise forward.
MURDER 3 is a thriller that offers thrills and chills aplenty. The beauty of the film lies in the fact that it's so damn unpredictable, so unforeseeable in its second hour. It's nothing like you've seen in a Hindi movie thus far. Also, it's a plot-driven movie, with Vishesh not borrowing anything from the previous two MURDERs. It goes without saying that MURDER 3 stands tall for its substance and most significantly, for the sparkling implementation of the written material [Mahesh Bhatt]. Like I pointed out earlier, Vishesh and the Sr. Bhatt metabolize the source completely to create a product that's nothing short of brilliant.
A film-maker is only as good as the story he tells and Vishesh seems to have done his homework well. What he creates in MURDER 3 is creditable, contemporary, besides working on the look and sound of the film as much as its content. It rides on the new energy of a young mind and the level of maturity in his very first endeavor surprises you completely. There's no stopping this guy. Music [Pritam, Roxen band] has always been an integral part of Vishesh Films and the soundtrack of MURDER 3 does boast of a couple of lilting tracks that fit so well in the narrative. I'd like to make a special mention of Raju Singh's background score, which is of international standards. There are several silent moments in the narrative and the background score elevates those sequences to an extraordinary altitude altogether. Sunil Patel's cinematography is top notch. He captures the stunning locales of South Africa with finesse. Sanjay Masoomm's dialogue are natural and fit beautifully into the narrative.
Randeep does complete justice to the character he illustrates. Sure, one does miss Emraan Hashmi initially, but once the narrative seizes your attention, Randeep brings alive his character and you don't draw parallels subsequently. Both Aditi and Sara are show-stoppers and deliver knockout performances. Aditi excels in the post-interval portions, while Sara gets a platform to prove her talent in several sequences. Both score and how!
Rajesh Shringarpure makes his presence felt. Shekhar Shukla is decent. Bugs Bhargava is efficient.
On the whole, MURDER 3 is one of the finest thrillers to come out of Vishesh Films. An outstanding story narrated with ferocious enthusiasm. Vishesh Bhatt hits a boundary in his very first attempt!