Hacker movies are a novelty for the Indian spectators. Although the subject matter is serious, integrating intermittent cackles and guffaws within a thriller format could prove to be the perfect escapist fare for the Gen X that identifies with such subject matter. In the West, a number of films have made a social statement on the issue, but a film based entirely on hacking is indeed a unique experience on the Hindi screen.
Although the plotline and genre bear no semblance to VICKY DONOR, you somehow connect MICKEY VIRUS with Shoojit Sircar's vastly admired movie simply because of the backdrop [Delhi] and the protagonist who's looking for shortcuts to get hold of some effortless cash. These similarities apart, VICKY DONOR and MICKEY VIRUS are as dissimilar as apples and peaches in terms of matter and material.
Mickey [Manish Paul] sits in his mother's grocery store in the day and creates viruses and quirky softwares in the night with his pal Chutney [Puja Gupta]. The story takes a turn when ACP Siddhanth [Manish Chaudhari], who's on the look out for a street-smart hacker, hires Mickey to bust a colossal plan that can shake up the national capital.
While much of the first half of MICKEY VIRUS is committed to Mickey, his friends and the romantic liaison with Kamayani [Elli Avram], the story gathers momentum towards the post-interval portions. Besides, a few portions do move at a sluggish pace in this hour and one wonders why debutant director Saurabh Varma has devoted so much time and footage to Mickey and his sweetheart. Of course, it's only towards the subsequent half that Saurabh opens the cards and one realizes that the first-time director was only creating the base for the turn of events that are due in the latter half.
Saurabh sets aside the best for the second hour as MICKEY VIRUS gathers pace and alters tracks [it gets into the thriller mode], with several unanticipated twists thrown in the sequence of events. The murder, the ambiguity behind the murder, the cat and mouse gameâ€¦ Saurabh ensures there's no dreary or yawn-inducing moment now. The build up to the culmination is nerve-racking, with the identity of the actual perpetrators catching you completely unaware. However, once the identity of the killers is out in the open, MICKEY VIRUS loses steam, partly because the way the villains go about divulging their game plan looks amateurish and slipshod. The penultimate moments, frankly, could've been innovative like the rest of the film.
Despite being his first attempt at directing a film, Saurabh Varma's proficiency is appreciable in a number of sequences. Besides, the triumph of the film lies in the fact that it does manage to keep the viewer hooked for most parts. Music is functional, while the DoP [Anshuman Mahalay] does a commendable job of capturing Saurabh's vision on celluloid. Dialogue do elicit a few laughs at times.
Manish Paul, who's a reputed name in television circles, gets a character that's far removed from the comic parts he's synonymous with. He does a swell job of adopting the mannerisms of geeky college brats and even manages to pull off the emotional sequences rather well. Elli Avram, on the other hand, is self-assured for her debut film, but is vaguely underutilized. Puja Gupta is alright. Manish Chaudhari impresses a great deal, but Varun Badola is the real scene stealer actually. He's sure to walk away with laurels!
Raghav Kakkar [as Floppy], Vikesh Kumar [as Pancho] and Nitesh Pandey [as Professor Utpal Acharya] are appropriate.
On the whole, MICKEY VIRUS is a well-made, engrossing thriller that should be liked by the youngsters.