The legendary Himesh Reshammiya is back. He has lost a lot of weight, dresses up in long overcoats and black sunglasses, combs his hair back, sports an inconsistent moustache and woefully mouths corny one-liners which do induce a chuckle. Yet, what can you do about a wooden face? More on that later. The first trailer of his latest venture, The Xpose, was blustery and garish, with some raspy editing. It was highly prophetic of the film we were to see in the the theaters. I was bloody pumped for this one, though. Sometimes you expect and want the film to be so bad that you have a blast poking fun at it in the theaters. Vicarious pleasures of film analysts, believe me. All the days leading upto its release I took it upon myself to herald a promotional campaign for it amongst all my peers, near and dear ones. After all, it is Himesh bhai who is coming back with his magnum opus, produced by AA Films and HR Musik, his own production house. The promos unfolded with ridiculous songs like ‘Ice Cream Khaungi’ to bearable imitations like ‘Dard-E-Dilo’. All in all, The Xpose had caught the attention either for good or bad reasons.
In one of the recent interviews, I heard Himesh saying that he did not succeed as an actor in his earlier stunt because he was not committed enough. Portly much. But then The Xpose, directed by Ananth Narayan Mahadevan, is an incendiary visit to the theaters as well. Incidentally, Himesh is credited for the Story and Screenplay of the film as well, along with Jainesh Ejardar and Bunty Rathore (dialogues). Rathore, singularly, must be lauded for the most ludicrous writing in a while, the one which makes you pull wool over your eyes. The Xpose is mounted on a fairly large scale, with a lot of style, but most of its style is reprehensibly misplaced. The film begins with a murder and introduces all the prime suspects, aka the recurring characters of the film as they attend the funeral of the deceased. Short scenes from their past are juxtaposed to give a peep into their characters, with Irrfan Khan’s mundane voiceover. Thereafter, the film moves a year back when Ravi Kumar (Himesh), a famous South superstar, moved to the Bombay Film Industry. It follows Kumar’s journey as he wallows his way through Hindi films, while occasionally falling in love with a starlet, Chandni (Zoya Afroz). The incidents lead upto the murder of a rival actress, Zara (Sonali Raut). Despite some hacky direction, cringeworthy lines and indelible acting, the first half does set up a mild intrigue of a decent watch.
Post interval, The Xpose falls on its face as it plays out the details of the murder night in macabre detail, only to spur up one unintentionally hilarious moment after the other that become increasingly shocking to assimilate for normal human brains. The cat fight scene between two actresses at an awards party while the media clicked pictures had me stand up and clap at its chronic stupidity. The finale of the film belongs to some other world of filmmaking. As we are set up for a crackling trial of a high profile murder, Himesh bhai walks in in all black attire and solves the mystery over the wink of a eye. Why? Because he was an ex-cop. Facepalm activated. This courtroom trial scene has to go down in history as the most decrepit one ever. It is plain hilarious. Most of the build up in The Xpose is unreasonable as the story does not follow any structure, and the hollow desire to shock the audience actually leaves them flummoxed, shortchanged and angry. A special mention for the ending where two actors confess love to each other in front of the media. Why? Because Ravi Kumar was a man of principles and law, but he gives them all up for love. WTF! Oh and there is also a moment where a dude is holding a boom mike for a lipsync dance sequence, and that too on top of the camera. So much to treasure in this warped tale of brainlessness.
I had mentioned about The Xpose’s misplaced style earlier. The makers must understand that merely creating retro tunes and calling your film a period film does not make it one. The Xpose is set in 1960s but none of the frames look like any of the decades gone by. At best, it is a misinterpreted modern Production Design, passed off as 60s. The fancy is not the real fancy here, it is actually a muddle on screen, doubled by a million continuity errors in same scenes. Maneesh Chandra Bhatt’s cinematography is jarringly uneven, fluctuating between the sullen Paris and abroad locations to a eye-hurting pulpy Bollywood. Ashish Gaikar’s editing is a savior as the film ends in 113 minutes. The costume designers of this film need a crash course in styling. The clothes are definitely not retro and poor Himesh looks like a starved baby. While we are at Himesh, his music does produce some catchy tunes and you will not mind any of the songs in the film. Dard-e-Dilo and Catch Me are the best ones.
Himesh Reshammiya has the acting range of a waxwork, and this is no breaking news. He does try his best to get into the shoes of Ravi Kumar, but the character itself is etched inconsistently, who does not stick by what he says or knows what he wants. Eitherway, Reshammiya looks placid while delivering the one-liners. Zoya Afroz is nothing like a great discovery, with unusually broad shoulders. Sonali Raut is not a patch on Zeenat Aman as she does her take on the famous wet saree scene of Satyam Shivam Sundaram. Her exposure of assets may be aplenty, but her exposure to acting is minimal. Yo Yo Honey Singh is also acting in this film. One more to the party of the unintentionally funny. Director Anant Mahadevan casts himself in one of the lead roles and looks ditsy. Rajesh Sharma and Adil Hussain have vast reserves of talent which has barely been touched upon here. Irrfan Khan looks woefully out of place even in a special appearance. Nakul Vaid is allright.
On the whole, The Xpose may be a fanciful affair for the Reshammiyas but is barely palpable for the audience. Even if you would be able to sit put for the first half, the second half relinquishes to the God of Morons immediately. Once again, the climax trial sequence is highly capable of jeopardizing your intellect with urgent effect. But then, if not for anything, I can promise a laughable time at the cinemas. That is, if you engage in a sense of humor which is similar to mine. The film has taken an average start at the Box Office and I do not expect a huge turn of events in Himesh bhai’s luck with this one. The film may have an interesting premise but they have actually made something else than what they set out to and Mahadevan must quickly add this to the list of duds he has made all his life. If you are okay with a film trying too hard to be cool, do not miss this one!
Rating – 1.5/5