Subhash K. Jha on Acid Factory

By Subhash K. Jha

Film: "Acid Factory"; Cast: Irrfan Khan, Manoj Bajpai, Fardeen Khan, Dino Morea, Aftab Shivdasani, Danny Denzongpa, Dia Mirza; Director: Suparn Varma; Rating: *1/2

By the time the chemically-zonked characters trapped in a padlocked factory realise who they are and what they are up to, we couldn't care less about the outcome of their violently vivacious life. Our disdainful indifference for the characters of "Acid Factory" comes from the enforced cool quotient. Everyone behaves he was born in a posh retreat and has spent the majority of their lives driving in swanky Porsches.

But the actors lack the charisma to carry off the posh characters with elan.

These, however, aren't the only reasons why we give up on these lost souls. Mainly, the game is up because the film turns out to be an almost frame-by-frame copy of a Colombian film, Simon Brand's "Unknown".

Like many of the films produced by Sanjay Gupta, "Acid Factory" seeks direct inspiration from a foreign source and adds a sheen of extra-ruggedness to the original proceedings. After a point, it doesn't matter what the original reference point is. These are people who've lost their bearings.

But director Suparn Varma remains pretty much in control, specially when the chase sequences take over. That's when the narrative really lets its hair down. The skidding wheels, exploding cars and crashing dreams of characters, who are as amoral as they are adventurous, signify the complete takeover of the film's universe by forces that rule the realm of video games.

Long before they became fashionable, Sanjay Gupta has been making video games on celluloid. The background music by Amar Mohile totally supports the vibrant rugged and macho visuals.

Women are objects of classy but lustful adoration in Gupta's scheme of things. Dia Mirza makes her athletic entry mid-way through the film when the characters locked up in an acid factory have just begun to figure out their raison d'etre. By then we've begun to lose our bearing vis-a-vis the askew plot.

To their credit the actors seem to exude an energy beyond that provided by the adrenaline-motivated visuals. Each characters comes across as an individual. Manoj Bajpayee is wacky, Aftab Shivdasani is restrained. Dino Morea is wry and Fardeen tries hard to come to terms with his amnesiac character.

Danny Denzongpa and Irrfan Khan remain peripheral, never quite entering the domain of the damned, remaining above the pyrotechnics even while indulging in them.

Technical qualities of "Acid Factory" deserve a special mention. Sahil Kapoor's camera captures the bends of Cape Town effectively.

"Acid Factory" is overall a stylish action film.

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