Director: Rumi Jafry
Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Emraan Hashmi, Krystal D’Souza, Anu Kapoor, Rheak Chakraborty
Stars: 1.5 out of 5
Somewhere towards the end of the film, Emraan Hashmi’s suave character Sameer loses his cool and furiously snarls: ‘I am tired and bored of this game, just give the verdict already’.
Our thoughts exactly bro, as we watch this bloated and long-winded thriller about four wizened old men – led by Amitabh Bachchan in colourful berets and swanky eye-glasses -- who lure their unsuspecting guest into playing an infantile game with them.
Sameer, a well-heeled corporate stooge in a swish BMW, is stuck in a blizzard and takes refuge in a pensioners’ home filled with a retired judge, a couple of lawyers, and some creepy house helps. The residents are mighty bored, but they find their middling existence get a fresh lease of life when Sameer stumbles into their man-cave. They goad him to play a mock trial where he’s the prime suspect of a fictitious crime. It all starts off on an innocent note, but their ominous looks and glances indicate that their game isn’t as toothless as they are making it out to be.
Amitabh Bachchan is quick to lawyer up and is keen to prove that Sameer isn’t as straightforward and affable as he seems. Behind Sameer’s expensive winter coat and designer shoes lies an unscrupulous and morally bankrupt man who needs to be punished, believes this smooth-talking lawyer spearheading this kangaroo court.
For the next two hours, Bachchan and Hashmi embark on a cat-and-mouse game where the towering lawyer tries to break Sameer’s resolve and prove that he’s a sinner of the worst kind. While Sameer may have something sinister to hide and his wealth may be ill-gotten, it’s the viewers’ who feel penalised and traumatised for his perceived crimes.
The pace of ‘Chehre’ is incredibly slow and the dialogues are impossibly clunky, wordy, and staged. All the character in this film appear tinny. Despite having seasoned actors such as Raghubir Yadav, Bachchan, Kapoor, and Hashmi in the forefront, this experienced cast appear as if they are a part of an ill-conceived and amateur stage play at school.
Krystal D’Souza as the wealthy and foxy femme fatale leaves no impression, while Rhea Chakraborty as the house help Anne to her geriatric bosses is borderline creepy. The film touches upon infidelity, greed, and moral decay with such broad strokes that you feel like the makers lost the plot midway.
Even Bachchan’s rich baritone, silver fox looks, and his passionate closing argument where he talks about justice being denied to women who have been raped and the loopholes in the judicial process feels misplaced.
There’s very little that’s redeeming about this confusing and convoluted thriller. Hashmi and the actors are earnest, but this tiring film filled with boring tropes is no game changer. There are no winners in this film, just a bunch of losers who seem to have lost the game called entertaining their viewers from the word go. Forget justice being denied or delayed, it’s the viewers who feel the burden of this tedious trial and error game called ‘Chehre’.