Missing Review

After “Total Siyappa,” “Missing” starring Tabu and Manoj Bajpayee is another black mark for presenters/producers Neeraj Pandey and Shital Bhatia. (photo provided)

Manoj Bajpayee Productions Pvt. Ltd., Abundantia Entertainment, Anand Pandit Motion Pictures, Shri Adhikari Bros. & A Friday Filmworks present “Missing”

Produced by: Shital Bhatia, Shabana Raza Bajpayee, Anand Pandit, Roopa Pandit, Vikram Malhotra & Shri Adhikari Bros.

Written & directed by: Mukul Abhyankar

Music: M.M. Kreem

Starring: Tabu, Manoj Bajpayee, Annu Kapoor, Rajesh Jais, Ashu Sharma, Priyanka Setia, Shruti Gupta, Navin Kaushik, Kali Prasad Mukherjee & others

MUMBAI—The base plot, as happens a zillion times, is interesting. The execution, of course in such cases, borders from the inane to the ridiculous. This, in short, is how a movie meant to be a 45 to 60-minute thriller for television is stretched into a two-hour-plus feature film!

Sample this: Santosh and Aparna Dubey with three-year-old daughter Titli (in a pram with fever!) check in at a Mauritian resort from a ship. As Mr. Dubey had planned a solo trip (there are frequent calls from or to a boss, all leading precisely nowhere) for official purposes, Aparna seems a last-minute add-on: because she is a suspicious wife. The single occupancy is upgraded to a suite.

A hungry Santosh goes on in search of food as this seemingly 5-star property does not have a 24-hour coffee shop (that is one of the stars for any star-rated hotel!) and Aparna is not hungry around the unearthly hour of 2 a.m.! (Did he think he was in Mumbai???) He even promises and gets a glass of hot milk for the tot (From the friendly neighborhood 24/7 dudhwaala, we presume!).

The two adults make love and fall off to sleep (the lovemaking scene, due to the constraints of the actors, is an exercise in ludicrous fakeness, but come on, let us pass that off as it is not the film’s weakest point!),

The next morning, Titli goes missing (we see a door half opening before that as if this was a paranormal thriller!). The hotel premises are huge, and all the search is fruitless. There is also a dark, sinister-looking man (Kali Prasad) who behaves oddly. Finally, it is time to call the cops, led by “Buddhu” (yes, that’s his name!) played by Annu Kapoor. And then slowly, with so many silly elements, the plot unravels.

M.M. Kreem scores high in the background music on occasion but is otherwise forced to give bars and riffs like in a supernatural film at many places. Sudeep Chaterjee’s camerawork is a dream, but the script is a nightmare. There are so many oddities and absurdities on the way and by the time the hurried revelation comes, meant to be a shocker, that we are not shocked.

Tabu tries her best to be convincing in a silly role, but Manoj Bajpayee shows his extreme limitations and is quite unconvincing in his glibness. The sequences showing how the couple go about looking for the lost daughter are again quite unintentionally funny.

The red herrings end up looking stupidly unconvincing, and the nice suspense generated by the dark man (who the husband reveals stays in the room below and the wife terms a neighbor!) is quickly dispensed. The supporting cast fails to elevate the film that is so badly written and directed.

Yes, something is truly missing in this film, and ultimately it will be the audience in the movie halls. After “Total Siyappa,” this is another black mark for presenters/producers Neeraj Pandey and Shital Bhatia.

Rating: *1/2

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