It seems to be the season of damaged heroes in Bollywood. After the autistic Rizwan Khan in My Name is Khan and the schizophrenic Karthik in Karthik Calling Karthik, we?ve got Purab Kholi as Om in Hide and Seek.
I couldn?t figure out Om?s diagnoses but we know that he?s just spent 12 years in an asylum. He was committed after a Christmas party laced with alcohol and drugs ended in rape and murder.
Now Om and five of his friends have been kidnapped, drugged, locked inside an empty mall and asked to finish a game of hide and seek that they started on that fateful Christmas night.
The story, written by producer Apoorva Lakhia, is your standard-issue B-grade slasher film that Hollywood churns out by the dozens.
Think of I Know What You Did Last Summer or Valentine. All blood-soaked stories about attractive young people.
The plot isn?t half bad and debutant director Shawn Arranha works hard to create suspense and a sense of claustrophobia in the darkened mall.
It?s interesting to see a consumer kingdom turned into a haunted house.
The characters keep ducking under shelves of goodies and at one point, a girl hides in an eerie, empty movie theatre. This could have been more fun if the writing wasn?t so limp.
Slasher films aren?t about sparkling scripts but you need a semblance of characterisation if the viewers are to care about the leads before they are unceremoniously disposed of.
But the characters in Hide and Seek are uniformly bland. Each one, except Om, is a successful, high profile personality ? one is a leading star, another a big politician?s son, and a third a beauty queen ? but they seem too low IQ to have accomplished anything.
Of course the brain-dead dialogue doesn?t help. At one point, Om tells his brother, who is dying of a bullet wound ? Bhai mein bandage kar doonga. Maine asylum mein seekha tha.
The final nail in the coffin is the amateurish acting. Everyone shrieks and shakes a lot. And even otherwise reliable actors like Purab Kholi and Arjan Bajwa move into full blown hysterical mode.
Hide and Seek could have been mildly diverting entertainment but it doesn?t make you scream or shiver.