Long before Director invented Perversity , Billy Wilder made that tender film The Apartment…not knowing that some day far away in that madness on the look-out for method called Bollywood Jagmohan Mundhra would use that title and little else from Wilder’s gentle movie.
Mundhra’s Apartment reads like a frighteningly disembodied episode, neither passionate nor bloody enough to qualify as a genuine slasher flick, of a television mini-series built around the theme of suburban loneliness. We’ve seen many films on the theme of what Mumbai does to the outsider. This one, by its own subverted logic, shows the outsider, a mentally disturbed girl from rural Maharashtra, creating havoc in a neatly-arrange spick-and-span apartment block somewhere in downtown Mumbai.
Neetu Chandra is the life and death of this surprisingly-relaxed almost inert suspense thriller. She acts strange and with reason. Her character suffers from acute insecurities. Neetu Chandra makes her home in chic air-hostess Tanushree Dutta’s home and resents the city girl’s debonair boyfriend (Rohit Roy, seeming to enjoy his part).
The build-up is a little too slow for a slasher-movie (apartment gone to the devil!). By the time the payback is on, we are much too distracted by the trivial atmospherics and incidental characters played by guys and women who seem to have been rejected in fashion shows in the first round itself. These are people probably pronounce ‘champagne’ with the gee.
The four principal characters hold together the unhurried plot. Anupam Kher as Tanushree’s poet neighbour is an engaging diversion. Other distractions like a tacky item song and intermittent song breaks choreographed like a high-school function are a huge impediment.
It’s Neetu’s show all the way. The girl knows how to hold an expression without looking like she was doing it for effect. Wish there was more to hold up her performance. Most of the time she performs in a vacuum.
Lately Jagmohan Mundhra made film like Provoked and Shoot On Sight which had a point to make. In Apartment he strolls back into the province of the pointless.