K’Scope Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. Presents “Vodka Diaries”
Produced by: Vishal Karkera
Directed by: Kushal Shrivastava
Written by: Kushal Shrivastava, Vaibhav Bajpai & Manisha Korde
Music: Sandesh Shandilya & Harry Anand
Starring: Kay Kay Menon, Mandira Bedi, Raima Sen, Rishi Bhutani, Sharib Hashmi, Herry Tangiri, Swati Rajput, Vaishnavi Dhanraj, Rahul Kapoor, Antara Srivastava , Suraj Thapar, Vikram Sakhalkar & others
MUMBAI—Here are the uncanny resemblances between “My Birthday Song” – which I watched just before “Vodka Diaries.”
In both cases, the new production banners begin with the letter “K.”
In both cases, the titles are English phrases and have NOTHING actually to do with the core of the plot! Having said that, one can stretch and devise extremely far-fetched, tenuous links between the film titles and storyline in both movies.
In both cases, the beleaguered hero drives a Toyota Fortuner car.
In both cases, the hero is caught between reality and strange and gory hallucinations.
In both cases, the hero lives in a palatial residence.
In both cases, the hero sees his woman (this time it is his wife) lying dead through an accident that kills her with a fatal blow on her head, with blood spreading around.
In both cases, there is a shrink, and she is a woman.
In both cases, there is at one point a degree of marital discord.
In both cases, at one point, the husband protagonist wrongly suspects and accuses his wife of infidelity!
Uncanny to have so many congruencies in films releasing the same week, right? Imagine watching them back-to-back within six hours (including travel to the theatre in a different suburb)? Imagine the dashed hopes of this congenital thriller addict as he hopelessly yearns for a smart thriller at least the second time, with a flicker of hope shining on despite the overwhelming similarities and piling absurdities!
Suffice to say that if you are a hardcore film buff of Hollywood and Indian fare, you will find the denouement in “Vodka Diaries” quite familiar, even if absurd as presented! The film is shot largely in snow-capped Manali, we are told even in sub-zero temperatures, and at face value, it is the story of intrepid and workaholic ACP Ashwini Dixit (Kay Kay Menon) investigating gruesome deaths connected with a nearby pub, Vodka Diaries.
He has a poet wife Shikha (Mandira Bedi) who goes missing. And we also have a mysterious woman (Raima Sen) who hounds him mostly on phone as a voice. There is, of course, the loyal deputy cop (Sharib Hashmi, impressive).
And then we find the death victims coming alive one by one, their corpses disappearing from the morgue, and Shikha is still missing, while Dixit is unable to trace her with the clues given by the woman. So what is the truth?
Manali has been scrumptiously projected, but the plot is one of those that seem very impressive on paper but cannot be remotely as effective or impressive audio-visually. The camerawork (Maneesh Chandra Bhatt) is impressive, but everything else is technically average. The music...Er, was there any music really?
But for in some rare sequences. Kay Kay Menon does not impress at all – he is best in his domestic sequences with his wife. Mandira Bedi is alright but too talkative. The rest do not make any mark.
The film drags on 30 minutes more than the earlier film, with even less material to go by. In both cases, we end up wondering if we had not been better off watching even “1921,” if not some other really good film.