Review: Table No 21
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Cast: Paresh Rawal, Rajeev Khandelwal, Tena Desae
Director: Aditya Datt
Indian Express Rating:* 1/5
Towards the end of the film, there's an extended sequence which explains why one of the protagonists behaves the way he has. I watched that expository bit in quite a different frame from the stuff that had gone ahead, because it was done with feeling, and an awareness that had been missing from the film till then. If Table No 21 had been executed in the same fashion, it would have been a film worth looking at, even if it feels it has been "inspired" from several sources.
What we get, instead, is an amateurish stab of a film around the broad theme of wrong-doing and revenge. The plot had potential, but the execution lets it down. Vivaan and Sia (Khandelwal and Desae), are marking a wedding anniversary in exotic Fiji, when they get sucked into playing a game: if they win, it will mean getting their hands on multiples of crores. The rules seem fairly simple, and it starts off like a harmless truth or dare. And then, of course, it turns dark and sinister. Khandelwal looks as if he is reprising his Sach Ka Saamna role ( the TV gameshow he's hosted where participants are coaxed into telling the truth, the murkier the better, for TRPs) especially when the game-master in the movie (Rawal) tells him that it is all being beamed live onto the screens of the people who have logged on to his game website. "I want a million hits," he gloats, just in case we miss the point. There are some horrible things that the couple is made to do, but you don't really feel any of it is real. Everyone is play-acting to the hilt: the clean-cut Khandelwal whose neat spikes on the forehead stay intact all the way through, the red-lipped Desae, and even the experienced Rawal, who makes the most of his hair-style (sort of bald, sort of mohawk) and a dark-framed pair of glasses, without really bothering to get into the character.