A film lavished with dollops of visual style and aural sophistication, Roy would have been a runaway cinematic delight if only its makers had coupled its impressive surface gloss with a modicum of substance.
Let alone a meaningful core to weave its inanities around, Vikramjit Singh's directorial debut does not even have a coherent story that could make the two-and-a-half hour movie passably tolerable.
Roy is a painful trudge through acres of pretentious hollowness. Neither the two dapper leading actors nor an eager-to-please heroine in a double role can rescue the film from its inexorable downhill trundle.
It deals with writing and painting on one level, and with philandering and thievery on the other. The two strands of the narrative run parallel. Each 'outpaces' the other in deliberate sluggishness.
Roy is purported to be a romantic thriller. But it unfolds in such excruciatingly slow motion that the somnolent screenplay quickly takes a backseat to the film's external packaging.
In the bargain, the film mutates into an overlong Tourism Malaysia promotion video, given the stunningly beautiful backdrops that pop up on the screen every so often.
The story of the film is a blur that assumes clarity only very rarely and momentarily. Grasp it with alacrity or it slips out.
A top Mumbai filmmaker Kabir Grewal (Arjun Rampal) is so earnest about his creative calling that the director's hat never seems to leave his head.
Although a maker of smash hit actioners, he is more in the news for his notoriously short-lived flings. The media remembers his girlfriends not by their names, but by the sequence in which they sashayed in and out of his life.
Kabir's professional fame rests on tales of a mysterious art thief Roy (Ranbir Kapoor, whole role is billed as "dynamic", whatever that means), who strikes at will in places as diverse as the Louvre in Paris, the Royal Palace in Doha and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
Kabir types his script on an old typewriter and sports a V-neck vest paired with a jacket both at work and at play. He is the epitome of casual chic. He clearly works far more on his looks than on his screenplays.
Roy opens at the point when Grewal is in the midst of the third part of a series of film titled 'Guns'. But his imagination has run dry.
So he heads to Malaysia to shoot with an incomplete screenplay, hoping to stumble upon some prerna (inspiration) in a new country.
Sure enough, he does find what he is looking for. A pretty London filmmaker Ayesha Aamir (Jacqueline Fernandez), who is in Malaysia to film her new work, checks into the same hotel as Kabir.
Over his favourite drink, a peg of The Macallan with three ice cubes, Kabir woos the lady in the hotel lobby and the swimming pool. She soon becomes his Girlfriend #23.
While negotiating his own rising passion for the Londoner, he pushes his screenplay forward. Roy lands in Malaysia for another art heist, this time on the sprawling estate of the wealthy Tia (Jacqueline again).
The director of Roy tries very hard to inform the lightweight material with some degree solemnity. His attempts come across as exceedingly laboured.
His characters, too, strive to attain profundity by talking of things such as life being trapped in its silences, of "tabahi ka shor" being visible in people's eyes, of increasing "khamoshi ka shor" burying the lovelorn hero in its depths...
Roy has many moments of silence and that is one of the few saving graces of the film.
It eschews melodrama, does not let the characters hyperventilate their emotions, and opts for a soothing, restrained background score that supplements the film's languid pace.
The performances, on the other hand, aren't spectacular but are adequate.
Ranbir Kapoor can light up the screen with his expressive eyes and impish grin even when nothing else seems to be happening.
The director, who is also the co-writer of the dialogue, knows the primacy of a kahani, if the lines his characters spout are any indication. He does not, however, follow it up with tangible action.
One character puts it unambiguously: if a story is not going anywhere it is best to cut it short.
But where, pray, is the story in Roy?
Recommended only if you want to use the auditorium for a relaxing catnap. Roy will not wake you up.