If there is a competition to hold your ear in multiple ways, Mahesh Bhatt will win it hands down. For years he is offering us the infidelity theme in different forms and is not done with it yet. This week he lets his nephew Vishesh Bhatt take charge of Murder which is increasingly becoming mundane. Gone is the furtive passion that Mallika Sherawat ignited in the first part or the carnal artifice of Prashant Narayan in the second instalment.

A remake of the South American film The Hidden Face, this one is a usual Bhatt contraption which has very little ‘hidden’ about it. Vikram (Randeep Hooda), a hot-shot photographer shifts to India with his beloved Roshni (Aditi Rao Hydari), who chucks her thriving career in South Africa to be with her love. All is well till Roshni starts feeling that Vikram is philandering. How much do you believe your love and how far you can go to keep a tab on your partner forms the crux of the storyline, which is peppered with some vintage Mahesh Bhatt gems, questioning the voyeuristic times between the lines. Sayeed Quadri’s lines backed by Pritam’s tunes lend him a few ounces to hold our attention.

On the surface, though it is all ‘fleshed out’ in the typical Murder tradition. Since it is Valentine’s week, the makers have taken care not to go overboard with the language and when it comes to ‘scenes’, the screenplay seems like a hide and seek game played between glistening bodies indulging in faux emotions. A U/A censor certificate precedes the film but the ‘soft core’ intentions of the makers can be easily deciphered. The costume designer has it easy because many shots require either just a white bed sheet or a towel.

We miss Emraan Hashmi here and his absence makes us realise his role in nourishing the Murder franchise for Randeep Hooda lacks the required killer instinct to sustain the first half, which is essentially vapid. A hideous hair style doesn’t help his cause either.

The big reveal in the second half perks up the proceedings as Bhatt shows us the other side of the mirror. The trick that Roshni employs to test Vikram looks far-fetched but is in fact a metaphor that reflects lack of faith in modern-day relationships. The saving grace is Aditi Rao Hydari who makes even silly situations sound persuasive. Newcomer Sara Loren delivers the goods, mumbling her way through.

As for Vishesh, he hasn’t delivered anything special but has assembled enough to create ground for another Murder!