Vikram Bhatt’s Mr. X is an irredeemably bad film, and proof of its irredeemable badness arrives very early. We are with Raghu (Emraan Hashmi) and Sia (Amyra Dastur) in their bedroom. They’ve just made love – at least we think they’ve made love. We don’t actually see anything. This coyness is a little puzzling in an Emraan Hashmi movie, but then, remember, this is in 3D. Imagine him approaching the camera, mouth wide open, leaning in for one of his patented kisses… Better yet, don’t imagine it. So we cut to the aftermath. She’s in his shirt. He asks her why. She replies, “Agar tum meri tasveer apne zehan mein rakh sakte ho to main tumhara shirt apne jism pe nahin rakh sakti?” Translation: If you can have my picture in your mind, can’t I have your shirt on my body? The logic is terrible – still, you feel sorry for her. She thought Raghu had her picture in his head while making love. She doesn’t know a lot about the kind of men Hashmi plays, does she?
Mr. X is ostensibly an Emraan Hashmi movie, but he turns invisible fairly early and we’re left with Sia. When I saw Dastur in the Tamil film Anegan, I thought her terrible performance was the result of not knowing the language. I was wrong. She’s equally capable of belting out a bad performance in a language she knows. For a while, you think her awkwardness is due to the cards life has dealt her. Her father was in jail. He was responsible for her mother’s death. And now, she’s got an invisible boyfriend – and given that this boyfriend is played by Hashmi, she cannot even take a shower in peace. That’s more baggage than you’d find at the American Tourister warehouse. But slowly, you realise you have to stop making excuses for her. Dastur is shrill till the end. You wish she’d turned invisible.
This is the dullest, most generic action-adventure you’re likely to see. Raghu survives a bomb blast, but is exposed to the ensuing radiation. A friend takes him to a lab, where he is dunked in a tub of ice-cold water and fed the contents of a glowing test tube. His flesh peels off. He turns invisible. But there’s a catch. You can see him in sunlight. And so the film keeps darting between light and dark, as the special-effects guys make Hashmi appear and disappear with soundtrack whooshes that make it seem that Rajinikanth’s tossing a cigarette somewhere in the vicinity. Will Raghu get his revenge on the men who reduced him to this state? That’s the question we’re supposed to chew on, but there’s a more interesting one: When Raghu vanishes, why do his clothes vanish too? But again, we have to remember that this is a 3D film. You do not want a nude Emraan Hashmi charging towards your glasses.
Copyright ©2015 Baradwaj Rangan. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.