Beware. Irrfan Khan and Adil Hussain make special appearances. Extended cameos. Almost plugged in to lend this otherwise campy film some credibility and seriousness.
Whodunits rely on intricate characterisation backed up with top-notch poker-faced performances that intrigue you further, solid motives that keep you guessing, compelling alibis that throw you off guard and deceptive red herrings that tease your mind.
The-curiously spelt-Xpose has none of it.
It has the poor man’s Emraan Hashmi - Himesh Reshammiya - who tries hard to look like a real actor, pitching his performance between Hashmi’s performances in The Dirty Picture and Once Upon A Time in Mumbai.
He’s also given the responsibility of delivering dialoguebaazi including a blasphemous attempt at the Superstar’s epic Baasha line that’s actually been said a 100 times in other movies by now. While he does okay sometimes, this is a clearly a role that required a more charismatic star.
It doesn’t help the film that the rest of the usual suspects are raw as well. While the plot hinges on the rivalry between two heroines of yore, Sonali Raut and Zoya Afroz are let down by costume and period detailing.
The girls surely have presence and potential but just don’t look like they belong to that era in their Forever New dresses. While the production design of the scene of crime borrows too much from The Great Gatsby (a Hollywood theme party as it’s justified), the catchy songs serve as the only convincing tribute to that era.
Yo Yo Honey Singh springs a surprise, not half bad in this role of a music director who gets away with cheating. Casting and period-detailing challenges aside, the bigger letdown is how this pulpy setup is squandered away in its final act with convenient twists, simplified plotting and ridiculously executed stunts.
Suspense films should never be about the obvious motives, unless the obvious is well-hidden in plain sight.
The director Ananth Narayan Mahadevan here plays a Tamil-speaking director desperate for a hit, who hires an unconventional star with a mass following, tells his heroines to “Xpose” because he wants sex symbols and ultimately suffers because of the poor casting.
Basically, he’s playing himself. The director himself shouldn’t have been exposed like this.
P.S: Time is the killer. Go for it only if you don’t mind killing it.
Director: Ananth Narayan Mahadevan
Cast: Himesh Reshammiya, Sonali Raut, Zoya Afroz, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Ananth Mahadevan, Jesse Randhawa, Rajesh Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain
Storyline: A sex symbol mysteriously falls to her death during an awards night after-party. Whodunit in the 60s
Bottomline: Entertaining pulp fiction that turns spoof-ish, thanks to the convenient twists
Keywords: The Xpose. The Xpose review