A relaxed pace is used to get into details of the protagonist's relationship with his lover and himself. Unfortunately, they forget that they are supposed to maintain the depth because of which the same pace now seems sluggish.
However, the twist is indeed worth the time because it's not 100% predictable. If nothing else Farhan Akhtar's ace performance is something you will relish for quite a while.
The good news is that the film doesn't suffer from the first half-second half syndrome. The bad news is that it follows a bell-curve. It starts out real bad, gets very interesting, peaks and ends not only in jiffy but rather sloppily. Fortunately, the film is sprinkled with dialogues that are witty and crisp.
The set-up is ordered with an over-dose of everything - an extra aggressive landlord who asks for extra rent for an extra small place; an extra-ordinarily hostile work environment that immediately reminds you of Rocket singh; an exceptionally mild protagonist Karthik (Farhan Akhtar) who everyone throws around. O-kay, got the point. So low and down is Karthik's life that the only way it can go is up. By now despite all the exaggeration, you begin to care for him. You want him to slap all the people around him - real hard. And he does. 40 minutes of this 140 minuter are done with.
This is when it gets interesting. Obviously, a thriller is a thriller if you can't tell why is the character going through this. But, I like the ones in which you can't tell despite it staring you in the face. Of course, anyone can guess 95% of what's happening, but the next 5% comes as a surprise. Unfortunately, though you should've gone through a "aaaah, like that" moment what you feel is "blah!" when the mystery unfolds.
However, the romantic relationship between Karthik and Shonali (Deepika Padukone) is explored in quite some detail and is extremely engaging. It touches upon girls wanting nice and safe guys to misbehave. :) The contrast between the two characters is set-up nicely too. One avoids mobile phones because for him they were invented to plague his health. The other smokes. One enters the office along with the cleaners, the other around lunch-time. Despite this the romance is believable and done in a jiffy compared to the pace of the rest of the film.
Farhan plays the simple man whose world revolves around his job and his love interest (no rhyming words for nokri aur chhokri in English) to perfection. In my mind, he's still a director, but you see this man act and want to see every project he's involved in. The best bit is when Karthik gets into the loop and falls into a self-fulfulling prophecy. What is confusing to the entire world is plain and clear to him.
Deepika too does a good job of playing out the hesitation Shonali goes through before getting into a relationship And that bit is consistent in the writing too, but then there is nothing more left to explore in the character. Except, at times, she shifts gear as if she's talking to a child. Even the "I love you"s!
The film has an exaggerated tone of gray in the gloomy situations, which makes the use of ambience a bit too in the face. So is the use of the Rubik's cube. True it has been used as a motif and a metaphor for what's happening with Karthik. But these things are supposed to be left to interpretation not shoved down the audience's throat. Let's not even get to the hurried way in which the technical aspects of the subject are handled - in a rush hoping the audience won't notice.
Like I said, I'd watch the film just for Farhan's performance. And don't forget the concept is more than half-interesting. It's just a bit too long and yet left unexplained.
- meetu, a part of the audience