Hindi cinema is slowly waking up to hardcore thrillers. Earlier this year, Abbas-Mustan's RACE chartered a totally novel path. The twists-n-turns in the plot moved in a serpentine manner, with the viewer finding it difficult to guess what the outcome would be. WOODSTOCK VILLA, directed by Hansal Mehta, also leaves the viewer guessing what's in store next. The twists in this 12 reeler may not catch you by complete surprise, but have ample shock value at times.
WOODSTOCK VILLA is treated more like a Hollywood flick. The plotline, the sequence of events, the execution of the subject, the hand-held/jerky camera movements, the grainy look -- this is no been-there-seen-that kind of a movie experience [at least for Indian audiences]. But a film molded on the lines of an English film should start and end without any diversion. In this case, the obstacles are the songs. Frankly, WOODSTOCK VILLA would've made a stronger impact had it been a songless fare, since the songs are like unwanted guests.
Overall, a decent fare that appeals more to those with an appetite for hardcore thrillers.
A successful businessman's [Arbaaz Khan] wife [Neha Uberoi] disappears one night. She has been kidnapped. The captor [Sikandar] demands a heavy ransom, but things go wrong as the wife is murdered. The captor buries the body at a secluded spot. But the mystery only deepens.
Director Hansal Mehta is in form after a long time [CHHAL ranks as his finest work so far]. The USP of the film is its plotline, which grabs your attention from the very outset. A few situations may seem predictable, but a number of scenes do catch you unaware.
But, as mentioned earlier, every time something dramatic is about to occur or occurs, a new song pops up from nowhere and the story comes to a grinding halt. On one hand, the makers have had the courage to choose an offbeat theme, but why contradict oneself by bowing to market dictates? Were the songs really required?
From the writing point of view, the climax should've been stronger. There had to be a scene or two that justified Neha's volte-face towards the end. Also, the climax could've been more forceful. Somehow, you can guess what the culmination would be!
Hansal Mehta has treated the subject well. He seems to be almost there this time. The screenplay [Sanjay Gupta, Rajiv Gopal and S. Farhan] have no glaring flaws as such. Milap Zaveri's dialogues have punch at places. Vikash Nowlakha's cinematography is topnotch. Amar Mohile's background score is outstanding.
Sikandar makes an excellent debut. WOODSTOCK VILLA is no song-n-dance routine and demands a powerful actor who could carry off this complex role. Sikandar is an actor to watch! Sure, he has screen presence, but those who watch the film will applaud his performance before they notice his looks.
Neha Uberoi is another talented actor. Oh yes, she looks alluring, but beneath that attractive face lies a gifted actor. Another newcomer with potential! Arbaaz Khan is alright. Sachin Khedekar and Dayashanker Pandey are wasted. Shakti Kapoor is passable.
On the whole, WOODSTOCK VILLA has decent merits and holds appeal for those with an appetite for hardcore thrillers. But its release has coincided with the climax of the IPL matches and that would really hit the business of this film hard.