Rather Snail-Paced Mail
While Blackmail is predominantly a black-comedy, it is, given the nature of the story itself, very much also a suspense thriller. In that sense, the film checks the most important box (for the genre): unpredictability. You simply can't tell what's likely to happen next. Really, anything can.
And yet, sadly, the sluggish, snail-mail pace with which the turns and twists take place, an equally essential question to ask is: Would you even care beyond a point, about what happens next? At several portions, I simply didn't - can't speak for you, of course.
As the title suggests, this pic concerns a husband, an adulterous wife, and blackmail. Earlier, there were apprehensions over possible similarities with the Coen Brothers' The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), about a husband who blackmails his boss, for having an extra-marital affair with his own wife. The husband here does the same, with his wife's ex-lover, though.
What follows thereafter is a series of extortion texts, money passing hands, almost like a round-robin, where everyone ends up blackmailing the other - the plot descending (or ascending, if you may) into a chaos of sorts - but a full-on farce, where every character is so overtly caricaturised, that it becomes hard to empathise with any, after all.
The husband (Irrfan Khan), in a loveless relationship (with Kirti Kulhari) works in a toilet paper company. His boss (3 Idiots' Omi Vaidya) is a complete crackpot. The wife's lover (Arunoday Singh) is a jobless hunk, bumming off his own wealthy wife (Divya Dutta). Some of the ridiculous scenes, to be fair, do earn cult-cred. As did director Abhinay Deo's previous, Delhi Belly (2011) - totally!
I loved the lead character's office colleagues, for instance - particularly, the feisty, but docile-looking, female moocher, who blasts in Marathi, and can drink the men under the table (can't find her name on the Internet). But these phenomenal moments are too few and far between - most of them test your patience, instead.
At the centre of it, of course, is Irrfan, looking haggard enough for the part, simultaneously dealing with his money issues, and a wife cheating on him - and who he continues to live with, and financially support, nonetheless.
You want to feel more for this character. I ended up feeling more for the actor Irrfan, on the other hand. As we speak, he is undergoing treatment for a serious health issue. If anything, this movie tells us, he needs to get better soon, and come back with much, much better stuff. The audiences, like me, are praying, patiently waiting.