Missing On A Weekend Is A Surprise Thriller” – Subhash K Jha

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Missing On A WeekendMissing On A Weekend
Starring Pawan Malhotra, Introducing Karan Hariharan
Written & Directed by Abhishek Jawkar

It takes guts to make a songless (well, almost) thriller with newcomers (well,almost).

Except for the powerful Pawan Malhotra who helms and nails the thriller and astutely anchors the action, Missing On A Weekend is bolstered by a bunch of over-enthusiastic newcomers, eager to please and  even more eager to prove they can act.

If only….

Debutant Karan Hariharan is the stand-out debutant. He plays Laksh, a confused confounded 20-something orphaned-at-childhood,  financially challenged go-getter who gets trapped in a situation with his rich friends while vacationing in Goa. The friends are all parasitical hedonists sponging on a spoilt rich arrogant friend called Prince who should have been slapped by his parents when he was a child.

Though some of the performances by newcomers who play dead Goan vacationers could do with a lot more polishing the overall portrait of a generation high on hedonism comes across effectively in the pub brawls and the backroom scuffles showing the sexual tension that oozes out of the young when  they are given the freedom for  unlimited ‘Fun’.

Writer-director Abhishek Jawker, in an unintended tribute to Naseeruddin Shah’s interactive energy with Om Puri in Govind Nihalani’s Aakrosh pitches cop Pawan Malhotra against the prime suspect played by newcomer Karan Hariharan who is quite a find. With his angst-laden frowning look of  disorientation and incriminating body language, Hariharan brings to his part of  the anguished reveler a certain dignity that other newcomers in the film find difficult to muster.

Pawan Malhotra’s scenes with Hariharan are implosive, clenched, and redolent with a sense power and doom. There is a particularly emphatic sequence in a prison cell where the cop Malhotra goes soft on the prime suspect Hariharan while the latter eats a simple daal-chawal meal nervously.

The narrative  should have focused  more on this duo’s interactive energy but chooses to go all over the place. There are two unnecessary item songs (clumsily choreographed and in dire need of suitable placement) and an unnecessarily melodramatic  back story for Malhotra’s cop character where in one hastily-done sequence, we are told his little daughter was raped and the tragedy destroyed his marriage.

Missing On A Weekend is a film in a hurry. Writer-director Abhishek Jawkar keeps the weekender plot moving at a brisk, if not breathless, trot. The sense of time running out on the characters is well maintained. Refreshingly the jigsaw-like plot seems to borrow from nowhere, and is, on the whole, fresh in its whodunit appeal.

If you like dark intricate thrillers with over-saturated frames which poke savage fun at moneyed lifestyles Missing On Weekend, with Pawan Malhotra’s wry cop act and Karan Hariharan’s persuasive victim/suspect masquerade could be your entertainer this weekend.

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