By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Film: "Rog"; Cast: Irrfan Khan, Ilene Hamann, Suhel Seth, Shyamoli Verma, Himanshu Malik, Munish Mukhija; Director: Himanshu Brahmabhatt
So whodunit? Not me! Not the other members of the audience who seemed to have gone dead in their seats.
Producer Pooja Bhatt seems addicted to the psychology of erotica. Her last two films, the hazy "Jism" in 2003 and the elegiac "Paap" in 2004, propagated a woman's right to flaunt her sexuality.
But "Rog" plummets to an all-new low in the pseudo-psycho-erotica genre of cinema. For sure, it's bound to create a new virus in the theatres, provided it lasts long enough to trigger off a chain reaction.
Chances of the film going anywhere beyond anonymity seem unlikely.
"Rog" begins with the death of a supermodel, who looks anything but super on celluloid.
If we must have white-skinned flesh-trade in our cinema, then please let's at least ensure the imported flesh can flash more than mere skin onscreen, a little expression maybe.
Like Bipasha Basu in "Jism", Ilene too has a strange impact on the men around her.
While one of them, a veteran journalist (Suhel Seth) goes into convulsions of passion, another man, a playboy (Himanshu Malik) looks as distracted as someone who has seen a ghost.
Can't blame him because the supermodel, Maya, is supposedly dead.
The third man, who is the hero, is a burnt-out cop who has been advised to take pills and electric shocks. Some jolts would do nicely for this frigid-going-on-turgid drama.
And the shock comes in waves of boredom, when halfway through the blessedly brief two-hour narration, Maya returns from the dead to give corny come-hither looks to our cop-hero, who stops listening to dreamy reflective M.M. Kreem melodies (the saving grace in this graceless production), and starts looking intently at Maya.
The lyrics and the music go a long way in creating an aura of desolation around the protagonist though the character is no more than an extension of what John Abraham played in "Jism" (why are Pooja Bhatt's men always self-destructive maniacs?).
Irrfan Khan gives a wry raw edge to the cop's role. This would have made the character appealing if Irrfan hadn't been doing the same act in all his recent films.
Also, the character comes with too much excess baggage -- like a wise cracking subordinate (Munish Makhija) who keeps referring to his deceased grandfather all the time.
The cop-hero must constantly grapple with the demons within him, and those around him to make the whodunit look deep enough.
Specially ludicrous is Shyamoli Varma, as an over-the-hill decadent socialite with way-out expressions.
So garbled is the film's erotic thesis that you repeatedly wonder whom "Rog" is targeted at. It's a film that doesn't know its mind and therefore cannot capture the audiences' hearts.
A pity, since Pooja Bhatt's last film "Paap" was perky, inviting and set in a liberating vista.
All in all, "Rog" is confined to half-lit interiors filled with furniture, which are more expressive than most of the actors.