Table No. 21

Table No. 21
Release date: January 4, 2013
Directed by: Aditya Datt
Cast: Rajeev Khandelwal, Tena Desae, Paresh Rawal, Hanif Hilal

Table No. 21 starts with a disclaimer about the Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. That is the only spoiler that I’m letting out in this review, and you better not Google it if you want to keep the underlying plot hidden. Aditya Datt presents a semblance of a psychological thriller with this film.

Vivaan (Rajeev Khandelwal) and his wife Seeya (Tena Desae) have won a contest and are on their way to an all expense paid trip to Fiji. They have their moments and a few twitches in their relationship along the way. As their tour package is about to get over, their marriage anniversary approaches and they plan on celebrating it.

They receive an anonymous gift and are invited to another exotic island in honour of their anniversary. The couple willingly accepts them both and are accosted to Abdul Rasheed Khan’s (played by Paresh Rawal) luxury resort. He charms them and lures them into participating in an truth-based reality show. AND THE PRIZE IS 10 MILLION FIJI DOLLARS! The plot gets murky when the rules of the game prove to be life-risking and eventually fatal.

Rajeev Khandelwal’s character is shown to be very sensitive and makes him a boring drag in the flashback sequences, while the end reveals a much contradicting side to his role’s persona making it hard to be believable; but at the end that’s what this film pretty much sums up. There are corny lines and a few witty ones as well, but the resounding piece of dialogue that keeps resurfacing is “If you lie, you die.” The game format of ‘truth-and-dare’ gets ludicrous at certain points.

The imagery is pleasant and a lot of voyeuristic cameras are used, given the format of the reality show. The climax of the film gives a message but at times appears to be very long. Music is limited and tolerable and the background score creates intrigue and suspense. The impending suspense isn’t a “Did the butler kill the mistress?” but interesting and entertaining. There aren’t any loose ends and there are hints all along to place the pieces in the jigsaw puzzle slowly as the story proceeds.

For a film that primarily revolves around three characters, Khandelwal and Rawal keep evolving gradually, hence keeping the viewers interested. Tena Desae is fairly good (can’t blame her for she’s shown to be incessantly weeping) Table No. 21 tries to cover a few social messages along the narrative and that makes the entire film more relevant. But the ultimate motif of the film may seem bit out of place as India is enraged with a whole bunch of other issues, which could ultimately make this film lost in the shuffle.

At the end, Table No. 21 is entertaining and smartly ropes in the societal shtick.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

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