“You thought this was some cheesy 80s film,” Kunal Khemu asks the bad guys in the end. Oh boy, you missed the first scene, didn't you?
Blood Money begins as a ham-fest, the first ten minutes dedicated to character introductions that unfold somewhat like this. Literally.
Scene One: “I am *insert Villain name*. But my real name is *insert Villain's real name*. And I am going to make you pay for stealing from me,” says Villain, drilling a hole in his victim's knee and gleefully adding: “Superb”. They may have forgotten to add the laughter track but the scene still works.
Next: “I am *insert hero name*. I did my *insert education, more bits from the resume*,” says the Hero, as he walks into the office of Trinity Diamonds, his new workplace through a voiceover.
The introductions become literal as he begins meeting the other key characters from the film who work at the evil villain's place.
“I am *insert Villain's brother's name*”... “I am *insert investigating officer name*”... “I am *insert colleague name*” “Meet my wife *insert Heroine's name”. “And this is *insert colleague's wife's name*”
No kidding. Cut to the happy montage song that shows the lead pair do touristy, romantic things in South Africa. Oh, look, they are feeding a chipmunk.
“This is too good to be true,” says Heroine. “It's like a fairytale. Hansel and Gretel.”
Despite his college education, our ambitious Hero has never heard this story. So the next two minutes are dedicated to the adorable Amrita Puri narrating Hansel and Gretel to us. “So hang on, you are saying my boss is a witch?”
Aided by an ominous background score, we power through this first act that's further spiced up by the personification of materialistic lifestyle — the seductress. And workplace hottie and vamp Mia Uyeda kisses the hero with a drug at a party and makes him do Emraan Hashmi-ish things to her.
You chuckle scene after scene as one glorious cliche after another unfolds and the film's so bad that it's fun.
In between all this, there's one effective scene when Manish Chaudhary (who plays evil diamond businessman and smuggler Zaveri alias Zakaria) asks our hero what he really wants: “You can either relish and savour every bit of this fine lunch in front of you or find out the truth about it by peeking into the kitchen.”
And this scene reminds us of what a fantastic actor Manish can be. And what he was in Rocket Singh, superbly understated and not a “Superb”-spouting caricature of today.
But it's Kunal Khemu who deserves points for trying. You can tell he's worked hard for this role, by watching and re-watching Blood Diamond to channel his inner DiCaprio. And he's good too, mostly.
Like most heroes in Mahesh Bhatt's banner, this is a man who has sold his soul biding his time till the climax for his shot at redemption, especially since his corporate career move has resulted in bomb blasts in Mumbai and death of his best friend... And yes, after all this, Kunal asks: “You thought this was some cheesy 80s film?”
Well Kunal, hope you know that the money you got paid for doing this film, that people around the country are paying to watch... Now, that's BLOOD MONEY!
Director: Vishal Mahadkar
Cast: Kunal Khemu, Amrita Puri, Manish Chaudhary, Mia Uyeda
Storyline: An ambitious young man who relocates to Cape Town crosses over to the dark side of the diamond business
Bottomline: A sincere Kunal Khemu aside, this is a cheesy, predictable, over-the-top adult-rated modern-day adaptation of Hansel and Gretel