Watching MUSKAAN is akin to watching four films at one time. The film starts off as a love story, gets into the groove of a love triangle, turns into a whodunit and of course, with a music company backing a project, there's an abundant supply of songs [musical] as well.
But, like they say, too many cooks spoil the broth, similarly too many sub-plots tarnishes the efforts that have gone into the making of this enterprise.
Samir [Aftab Shivdasani] is a successful fashion designer. He has three close friends in Sharad [Parvin Dabas], Satin [Vrajesh Hirjee] and Shikha [Anjala Zaveri], who work with him as well.
Janvi [Neha] is in love with Samir, while Samir treats her as a mere friend.
Samir becomes 'phone friends' with a girl named Muskaan [Gracy Singh]. Their conversations, which begin with a wrong number, leads to a friendship and gradually, the two fall in love.
Since both Samir and Muskaan are heading for Shimla [both are unaware of the other's location], they decide to talk again after fifteen days.
Samir and Muskaan meet in Shimla, oblivious of each other's identity and sparks fly. They get attracted to each other, but before they could profess love, Janvi is murdered. Who is the killer?
Directors Rohit-Manish and writer Atul Sharma have compartmentalized the film. The first half-an-hour, when two strangers communicate with each other without knowing what the other person looks like, reminds you of SIRF TUM [Sanjay Kapoor, Priya Gill] and NA TUM JAANO NA HUM [Hrithik Roshan, Esha Deol].
In fact, in the first half-an-hour, as many as five songs flow one after the other, also making it look like a musical.
While all this seems to be happening, there's a mysterious man who's out to assassinate Aftab. The story shifts to Shimla and a new love story begins. And when Neha arrives on the scene, the scene is set for a love triangle, of two women [Gracy, Neha] loving the same guy [Aftab].
Again, the story changes gears when Neha is found murdered and the fingers of suspicion point towards her four friends - Aftab, Anjali, Parvin and Vrajesh. And as soon as the murder mystery is solved, the directors and writer start work on culminating the love story.
Watching MUSKAAN makes you feel as if the directors and writer have no clue about internet and webchats. A story like the one presented in MUSKAAN looks completely outdated in today's electronic age. Such stories might've been palatable in the 1980s, but in today's times and age, it is simply difficult to absorb.
The pre-climax, when the identity of the killer is revealed, may catch the viewer unaware, but the reason that prompts the killer to commit the murder looks outright ridiculous.
Directors Rohit-Manish are not only saddled with an outdated and unimaginative story, even the execution of the subject is plain mediocre. Cinematography [K. Dattu] is quite captivating and the outdoor locales of Switzerland, South Africa and Dubai enhance the visual impact considerably.
Music [Nikhil-Vinay] sounds pleasing, but loses its impact when viewed with the narrative. In fact, a couple of songs lose their charm partly because they come up without valid situations. Yet, the best song of the lot is 'Jaaneman Chupke Chupke', which is repeated thrice in the film.
Aftab Shivdasani does make a sincere attempt to rise above the ordinary and he does succeed in a few sequences. Also, the outfits worn by him are very trendy. Gracy Singh is strictly okay, though she needs to keep a vigil on her weight.
Neha does quite well. Parvin Dabas and Anjala Zaveri have inconsequential roles. Vrajesh Hirjee is loud. Gulshan Grover and Sharat Saxena are monotonous. Rajeev Verma and Razzak Khan are as usual.
On the whole, MUSKAAN will bring no muskaan on the faces of either the cinegoers or the makers or even its distributors. A non-starter.