By Subhash K. Jha, Indo-Asian News Service
Film: "Rain"; Starring: Himanshu Malik, Meghna Naidu; Direction: Amol Shetge; Rating: *
An utterly romantic title like "Rain" does scant justice to a film that flickers luridly across the screen, creating images vandalised from a thousand Hollywood thrillers.
Amol Shetge had earlier directed a film called "Gunah", which is what he should have called this film, too. "Rain" generates as many thrills as two cats making out in the back alley of a decidedly seedy locality.
If you are a fan of the film's female lewd, er, lead, then you'd expect Meghna Naidu to thrust her bosom into the camera at any given pretext. Inexcusably, director Shetge has pretensions to deeper narrative thrusts.
The sex in "Rain" is mostly simulated through screams and grunts, suggesting a deep though distant relation between physical handicap and psychological insurgency.
In what looks like an unpardonable travesty of Rani Mukherjee's character in "Black", Naidu invites a stranger posing as a journalist into the close vicinity of her heaving bosom.
Remember that gloriously heart-stopping moment in "Black" when Rani pleads with her mentor for a kiss?
You can kiss all aesthetics goodbye when Himanshu Malik - as wooden as the teak interiors in "Black" that this film can never hope to replicate - responds to his blind screen-mate's moaning overtures with surreptitious looks at her bosom like a naughty child who's about to put his hands in the cookie jar.
Jarring background effects underline this film's terrible efforts to create sensuality and suspense. Alas, the film is as denuded of those qualities as the principal lead actors are of acting talent.
Meghna does the blind girl act with a mock-tremulousness that seems to ridicule every physically impaired soul on this earth. She also mocks our intelligence by repeatedly shunting from shallow to voluptuous. Her bosom is more expressive than any other part of her.
Himanshu can't even make that claim to frame. He stands there, more chilled than chilling, waiting for his hyper-strung co-star to make her next hysterical move.
By the time he gets hysterical in the shower with his doubly hysterical co-star, it's time to write an epitaph for all the architects of this sloping, spiralling, grotesque mimicry of Alfred Hitchcock, Brian da Palma and Ram Gopal Varma.
The two Hindi efforts "Rain" most closely replicates are Varma's "Kaun" and Yash Chopra's "Ittefaq". Without the finely tuned central performances of the two earlier works, "Rain" has no history, mystery or chemistry.
Just one question: what's cinematographer Ishwar Bidri who shot many of J.P. Dutta's best works doing here?
"Rain" just makes you long for a season of drought.
Bollywood.com Rating: 1