This one can’t go ‘Scot’ free. The Scottish locales shot with tender care by cinematographer Pravin Bhatt are in one word: breathtaking. In two words breathtaking and eloquent. And if you want a third word, here it is. Ominous! Often, thrillers about disturbances within the human heart are manifested in outdoors that mock the deceptive method behind the madness.
That theme is taken to quite a peek-a-boo peak of visual beauty in Three… As the title suggests, there are only three characters locked in a battle for property custody in a Scottish mansion that is as spacious as it is incriminating.
Akshay Kapoor (last seen as a chalky chum in a desi remake of Powder) is the embittered husband, pounding away on his laptop in search of virtual gratification. Once a television star, Nausheen Ali Sardar gets the tough role of a wife trapped in luckless (if not loveless) marriage. She tries to blend the guilt of Mala Sinha in Gumrah with the deceptive sensuality of Zeenat Aman in Dhund. This isn’t the occasion for high ambition.
Ashish Chowdhary gets the role of a lifetime as the house guest turned psychotic intruder who wants to take over the couple’s life and home. Rent-a-psycho, anyone?
Debutant director Vishal Pandya keeps the theme of adultery and deception going without getting his plot into a messy lather. There’s an uncluttered stripped-down quality to the narrative that helps us to get into the sordid triangle without much ado.
The narrative is elegantly paced. And the dialogues hint at a layer of eroticism without actually reaching for it. Come to think of it, there’s an absence of lovemaking sequences in a film that talks about infidelity. Not even a kiss, chaste or otherwise. Kya yaar!
To its credit, the film keeps us watching to the end, not necessarily because we care for these despicable characters caught in what one of the trio calls a ‘Kaminey contest’ but because we want to see how and if, the threesome pick up the broken pieces of the life.
Suspiciously, close to Ira Levin’s play Deathtrap, in the way the husband, wife and intruder cross each other’s prickly path, Three is carried forward by eye-catching locales and ear-catching background music by Raju Khan.
The three principal players go from over-the-top to the absent-minded without bringing the plot down. Akshay Kapoor as the weak embittered and violent husband has the toughest part. He gets some of the most ironical and hard-hitting lines.
Inebriated and driving back with his wife and her secret lover (secret to him, not to us), Kapoor mocks himself for being the ‘wife’ in the marriage.
“She wears the pants, I wear the skirt. In bed, there’s a Great Wall Of China between us,” hisses Kapoor while the wife Nausheen Ali Sardar tries to look embarrassed.
She barely succeeds. Just like the film.