By the time the befuddled chemically-zonked characters trapped in a padlocked factory realize who they are and what they are up to, we couldn’t care less about the outcome of their violently vivacious life. Our disdainful indifference for the characters comes from the forced cool quotient. Everyone behaves as if they were born in a posh Tibetan retreat and spend the majority of their lives driving in swanky Porches. But the actors lack the charisma to carry off the posh postures with Ã©lan.
But these aren’t the only reasons why we give up on these lost souls. Mainly, the game is up because film turns out to be an almost frame-by-frame copy of a Columbian film, Simon Brand’s Unknown.
But shhh! That’s a fact ‘Unknown’ to our audience. Like many of the films produced by Sanjay Gupta, Acid Factory seeks direct inspiration from a foreign source and adds sheen of extra-ruggedness to the original proceedings. After a point it doesn’t matter what the original reference- point is. These are people who’ve lost their bearings. Providentially, the plot of this ode to muted mayhem doesn’t follow that fate.
Director Suparn Verma remains pretty much in control, especially when the chase sequences take place. That’s when the narrative really lets its hair down. The skidding wheels, exploding cars and crashing dreams of characters that are as amoral as they are adventurous, signifies the complete takeover of the film’s universe by forces that rule the realm of video games.
Long before they became fashionable, Sanjay Gupta has been making video games on celluloid. The slickness never becomes a sickness. The background music by Amar Mohile totally supports the vibrant rugged and macho visuals.
Women are objects of classy but lustful adoration in Gupta’s scheme of things. Dia Mirza makes her athletic entry mid-way through the film when the characters locked up in acid factory have just begun to figure out their raison d’etre. By then we’ve begun to lose our bearings vis-Ã -vis the askew plot.
To their credit, the actors seem to exude energy beyond the kind provided by the adrenaline-motivated visuals. Each character comes across as an individual. Manoj Bajpai is wacky, Aftab Shivdasani is restrained. Dino Morea is wry and Fardeen tries hard to come to terms with his amnesiac character. Danny Denzongpa and Irrfan Khan remain peripheral, never quite entering the domain of the damned, remaining above the pyrotechnics even while indulging in them.
Technical qualities in Acid Factory deserve a special mention. Sahil Kapoor’s camera captures the bends of Cape Town as effectively as the curves that peep tantalizing in the well-choreographed item song. Curiously, Shabana Raza (Manoj Bajpai’s wife ) makes a fleeting appearance in a flimsy nightie which captures her as the kind of wife Rita Hayworth played in the 1940s.
Her part is a slice of vanity in this film celebrating the violent vivacity of a lost generation.
Acid Factory is a stylish action film. Bunty Negi edits the matter without eating into the meat. But the meat of the matter is more about the heat than substance.