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

February 1, 2013

Name game

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:41 pm

January 01, 2013

Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vinay Virmani, Vikram, Monica Dogra, Isha Sharvani, Tabu, Lara Dutta, Milind Soman, Akarsh Khurana, Nassar, Saurabh Shukla

Director: Bejoy Nambiar

Three stories set in three different time periods, each with a protagonist bearing the same name, is the central idea of director Bejoy Nambiar’s David. The link between the three stories, revealed in the final ten minutes of the film, is a tenuous one, but Nambiar nevertheless throws up interesting ideas, and you can’t accuse the film of being predictable.

The first track, set in 1975 London, is shot in pristine black and white, and stars Neil Nitin Mukesh as David, right-hand man and adopted son of a famed Muslim gangster. Our hero’s loyalty to his boss is tested when he discovers the very foundation of their relationship is based on a lie.

David Number 2 is Vinay Virmani (last seen in Speedy Singhs), who plays a struggling musician in Mumbai in the film’s second track set in the year 1999. The son of a Christian priest, our happy-go-lucky hero finds his life turned upside down when the followers of a Hindu fundamentalist politician assault his innocent father, accusing him of encouraging religious conversions.

And finally in the third track, set in 2010 Goa, Tamil movie-star Vikram plays a loutish alcoholic named David, who falls for his best friend’s deaf-mute fiancée.

Oozing style and technical finesse reminiscent of his earlier film Shaitan, Nambiar’s latest has some genuinely tense moments, but suffers gravely on account of flabby writing. Each track feels unnecessarily stretched, and there are bizarre moments in each story that’ll have you scratching your head in bafflement.

Of the cast, Vikram leaves a big impression as the permanently inebriated fella with a weakness for punching women. He benefits considerably from sharing scenes with Tabu, who ups the game with a memorable cameo as a massage parlor owner and his best friend, committed to giving him romantic advice. Neil Nitin Mukesh, when he isn’t scowling, is nicely understated, and Dhobi Ghaat’s Monica Dogra does well as his convention-defying girlfriend.

David makes a subtle but well-taken point about the growing communal and religious tension of its times, and leaves you pondering your stand on morality and redemption. And yet, the film is never consistently engaging because of its formidable length and script holes.

I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for director Bejoy Nambiar’s David. There’s much to appreciate here, but you can’t help feeling it could have been so much more.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. mr. david (mr. nambiar) i think the name of creativity kuch bhi banaate ho? satku santa whatever. no co-ordination of 3 david.
    why DAVID?

    Comment by vijay — February 2, 2013 @ 1:18 am

  2. I want to disagree with you Rajiv but i feel that you are right in many ways. I guess the movie was never intended to be a dark realistic thriller with a subjective at the end (Which it did actually). The film tries to follow this very curious plot of three men who share the same name and are of different times, have similar and relevant -to-time conflicts. The conflict is simple. Can they go ahead and do something wrong so as make something else right? Though the scenes were stretchy at parts, they had a purpose. Vinay Virmani’s character was incomplete and lacked conviction because of too many senti dialogues. Neil Nitin’s character lacked clarity. VIkram’s was very commendable. Perhaps the movie is about 25 mins longer. But having said all this, the movie at the end of it leaves you engaged. One wouldn’t feel that their time has been wasted. It’s extremely satisfying to know that we have filmmakers who indulge in such ambitious projects. Certain errors are bound to be made when there is so much involved. Keep up the good work, Bejoy Nambiar .

    Comment by Swaroop Kodur — February 2, 2013 @ 1:40 am

  3. Watched it today.. I liked it personally… its a kind of movie you will like if you are not looking for dancing around the trees..2.5/5 is pretty good rating for the movie.. little stretched..many critics saying vikram’s part is unnecessary but that’s the only part which brings a smile on your face.. he is excellent as Neil Niteen mukesh.. Over all its a good pretty good movie offered by Bijoy Nambir .. I will definitely look forward to his future projects…

    Comment by mizan — February 3, 2013 @ 12:32 am

  4. rating is perfect.
    Actor Vikram acted very nice superb.just go and watch

    Comment by rohit — February 4, 2013 @ 7:45 am

  5. it was amazing movie. and must watch once. amazing tracks and gripping photography

    Comment by ronak — June 9, 2013 @ 4:58 pm

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