As a genre (of late), the action thriller never made a huge impact at the box-office in Bollywood, with the exception of the Dhoom franchise, the super-success of Race (2008) and the moderate success of Anubhav Sinha’s Dus (2005). All other movies falling in the genre lately have fallen off the box-office records like a pack of cards, the latest in memory being the very odd Luck (2009), and a confusingly executed Cash (2007). The added speculation that only Tamilised action a la Ghajini (2008) or Wanted (2009) work in the Indian film industry has made most action lovers stay away from such movies of late.
And then, in the midst of all this so-called ‘boycott’ come the killer promos of Acid Factory, directed by Suparn Verma of Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena (2005) fame. And from one promo to another, the producers paved up a fantastic marketing strategy for the movie, hence making action-crazy fans sit up and notice. The soundtrack perked up further interest with urban dance tracks such as Yeh Jism, Raftaar and Kone Kone Mein making the biggest impact of the lot.
A lot of radio airplays, interviews (both audiovisual and print), promo watches and song unveilings later, the time has finally come for the movie to reveal it’s magic (or perhaps the lack of it) to the audience. And with such an ambitious tagline – "Some thrillers go too far… this one starts from here" – the director is left with no choice but to fulfill the expectations of the viewers. So, does it impress? Is it fit to be called ‘the mother of all thrillers’? Or does it fall, yet again, in the category of ‘stale Bollywood action thrillers’? Read on to know more!
What happens when one fine day, you wake up to find no trace of your past? What happens when an innocent man wakes up to find his memory erased? Will that change his perception of reality? What happens when a killer wakes up one fine day to find his memory erased? Will that change his record of the past crimes he has committed? Acid Factory traces the lives of five such people who wake up in an acid factory to find out that they don’t have an inkling of their past lives. Sometime later, a phone call from the leader of the gang makes them know that they have been kidnapped and the better half will be gotten rid of after ‘the work is done’. After some treachery and a few failed survival attempts, the leader arrives unveiling a shocker and turning a lot of tables by way of revealing the shocking past of the lives of the people.
Some stories may sound like blockbuster material on paper, but it is the execution that decides the fate of the movie. As a respite, the execution of the story (Milind Gadagkar) and screenplay (Sanjay Gupta, Suparn Verma) of the movie is terrific, and to be very honest and frank, this is the first action thriller after ages that has managed to provide the audience the thrill-a-minute factor, with each character and each story having a layer of its own. Every character in the acid factory is given some time to develop, such that the audience manages to get an overview of what the character does. But the real fun lies in the narration of the movie, which constantly moves back and forth between the past and present, thereby keeping the viewer uptight and – literally – on the edge of the seat. Characters have been sketched out really well, and not a single character has been ‘left out’ metaphorically, and this is where the storywriter and the screenplay writers score highly. Dialogues (Saurabh Shukla) are very well-penned, which gives the movie an overall edge. And to top it all, Suparn Verma as a director is top-notch, and it is due to him that the movie has delivered so well, he certainly appears to be in total control of the proceedings this time. Hats off to Suparn!
Technically, the movie is brilliant, and has scored on many aspects. The movie boasts of some amazing camerawork, which deserves brownie points. Cinematography (Sahil Kapoor) also hits the bullseye, where the locales of Cape Town are well captured. The editing (Hemal Kothari) is amazing and in fact, it is this very aspect of the movie that supports its execution to the T. The sound mixing (Nimish Chheda, Harjeet Singh) is eclectic and at times, mind-blowing. Action choreographer Tinu Verma takes away all the accolades for executing some breathtakingly choreographed stunts from the stars, and gives us just the thrills that action lovers want. The music (more like the background score) of the movie (with the exception of Khatti Meethi by Manasi Scott), supports the movie and gives it a stylish feel. It is interesting to note that part from Khatti Meethi and the remix of Jab Andhera Hota Hai which appears in the end credits, no other song has been lip-synced, which is good to see, considering even the oddest of sequences in some films have a lip-synced song squeezed into it! Thankfully, the music here doesn’t act as a dampner, and, with its urban techno sounds, adds to the overall mood and gives the movie a style of its own.
There aren’t many flaws and weaknesses but if you look closely you may notice some jump cuts in editing. Also, the movie has a very slight resemblance to the 2006 movie Unknown, though it has many different aspects.
Overall, the movie is a winner all the way; a high-octane suspense-action thriller that delivers a punch to the audience in terms of execution, thrills and suspense. At long last we get to watch a thriller that differs from the ‘been-there-done-that’ spin-offs. This one has an edge, and on some levels, turns out to be a mind-blowing piece of work particularly due to it’s tight script and even tighter execution. As a result this one comes highly recommended. Go watch it, you will not regret a second!