The hallmark of any thriller is that it should build the suspense beautifully, hold the attention to the point that the viewer starts pointing the finger of suspicion on the assorted characters in the narrative and hit the viewer like a ton of bricks when the mystery is solved.
Unfortunately, MANORAMA - SIX FEET UNDER doesn't make that kind of an impact. It's well shot, with stunning visuals to back it up, but, hello, isn't cinema all about narrating interesting stories in the most simplistic fashion? What value is the ambience or dÃ©cor if the food served on the table is anything but delicious?
Let's get more specific! MANORAMA - SIX FEET UNDER takes off well, but faces turbulent weather in between and never gets it right thereafter. Instead of narrating an uncomplicated story, debutante director Navdeep Singh makes the goings-on so confusing that the viewer fails to decipher what's going on.
The story jumps from one track to another, adding to the confusion. Actually, the film fails on the script level since the sequence of events that lead to the finale are so confusing that it's difficult to fathom what exactly the problem was and how it got solved.
To sum up, MANORAMA - SIX FEET UNDER is a classic case of a film gone wrong due to a poor script penned by an amateur.
SV [Abhay Deol] is a government engineer, but his real ambition has always been writing detective fiction. Unfortunately, his maiden attempt, a novel called Manorama, sank without a trace and he has been reduced to writing for cheap magazines.
Stifled by the dreariness of small town existence and frustrated by his failure, SV's life takes a turn when the wife [Sarika] of a powerful local politician [Kulbhushan Kharbanda] arrives at his doorstep with an irresistible offer; the chance for SV to play a real-life detective by spying on her husband. Intrigued and tempted by the opportunity to redeem his self worth, SV accepts the offer.
Upon completion of his assignment, things take a turn when SV discovers that the woman is not who she claims to be. The situation gets further complicated when she is killed in a mysterious accident. Sensing foul play, SV begins investigating her death only to discover that nothing is what it seems to be...
Debutante director Navdeep Singh knows the technicalities well and aided by cinematographer Arvind Kannabiran, Singh comes up with visually enticing frames. But the writing is the cause for worry here.
What were the reasons that led to Sarika getting murdered? What was so important in those photographs that the powerful politician and his cronies wanted to lay their hands on? How relevant was the medical report of the politician with the main plot? How and when do Abhay and Raima get attracted towards each other? And was the politician a paedophile? Besides, how does everything gets solved in the end, with the politician getting his answers and Abhay walking away smiling? Question, questions and more questions. Confusion, confusion and more confusion!
The only departments that merit a strong mention are cinematography and dialogues, which cater to the intelligentsia mainly.
Abhay Deol pitches in a natural performance, but the performance is not as striking as his earlier works like AHISTA AHISTA and EK CHALIS KI LAST LOCAL. Vinay Pathak gets it right yet again. He's first-rate. Gul Panag is a fine actor, but what is she doing in this film? The role has no potential, except nagging her husband. Raima Sen is alright; her role should've been better defined. Kulbhushan Kharbanda does well. Sarika is hardly there.
On the whole, MANORAMA - SIX FEET UNDER disappoints. At the box-office, the lack of buzz as also the weak content will result in the effort going unnoticed.