Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

February 13, 2009


Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 6:47 pm

February 13, 2009

Cast: Kay Kay Menon, Arbaaz Khan

Director: Manish Gupta

The Stoneman Murders is an engaging thriller based on the unsolved serial killings of pavement dwellers in Mumbai in 1983. Taking its premise from those incidents and referring to media coverage of the case, writer-director Manish Gupta constructs a screenplay that is derived from hard facts where available, and imagination to fill in the gaps.

When night after night pavement dwellers are found clobbered to death, a suspended police officer (played by Kay Kay Menon) takes it upon himself to trace the killer so he can impress his superiors into re-admitting him into the force. Combing the streets in the wee hours of the night, he gets closer to uncovering the identity of the killer, until he clashes with the investigating officer on the case (played by Arbaaz Khan).

Filmed on location instead of sets, and doused in the eeriness that comes from knowing that these gruesome killings did indeed take place, the film keeps you hooked during its best bits. Like those nail-biting scenes involving Kay Kay’s pursuit of the shrouded killer, and a handful of terrific moments in which you see the killer lurking about in dark alleys.

But it’s when the film compromises its intentions by resorting to a tacky item song and unnecessary titillation that it veers off course. There is also the problem of a hurried, ill-conceived ending, and pointless portions in the early half that slacken its pace. Lapses like these hurt what could have been a truly taut thriller.

As it is, The Stoneman Murders is not entirely a waste of time, and it’s helped enormously by an inspired performance from Kay Kay Menon. I’ll go with two out of five, and a recommendation to catch it at a late evening show with a bucket of popcorn. At an hour and forty minutes in running time, it’s a pretty painless watch.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

1 Comment »

  1. Few days ago I saw this film on DVD. really a good film. Review is good but it should get atleast 3

    Comment by Biman Saha — February 3, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

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