“404’ is a psychological thriller with director turned
actor Nishikant Kamath playing one of the important leads. The film
project a medical condition , bi-polar disorder, as the basis for it’s
psychological thrills- and that gambit works well for most of the
film’s runtime. It’s only the last fifteen-twenty minutes that
bring forth questions that remain unanswered and therefore put the
entire run of story in jeopardy.
Director Prawal Raman ( Darna Mana Hai, Darna Zaroori Hai, Gayab)
whohas also written the story and screenplay, seems to be making
this genre his main forte. His previous films have been well received
and the only reason why this one may not achieve that distinction is
because it has complex content and lacks clarity due to an
inconsistent form. Despite that, the film manages to grab your
attention and it provide a fair bit of tension-but not of the
nail-biting variety. The tension obtained here is developed from a
sense of curiosity due to the sly narrative spiel and twisted
intentions of the principal characters.
Abhimanyu (Rajvvir Arora) is one of the first year medical
students being ragged mercilessly by the seniors but he is alone
when he stands up fearlessly and complains to Professor of
Psychiatric medicine, holder of numerous degrees, Dr. Aniruddh
(Nishikant Kamat) .Of course he has to pay a price. Those who ragged
him step up the pressure and invariably the braveheart begins to
succumb to it. Abhi insists on a transfer to a hostel room which has
remained closed for the past three years (because of a suicide
committed by Gaurav Gupte, a past student subjected to ragging).
Following sustained pressure engineered by non-repentant seniors, he
begins to hallucinate, believing in ghosts and tries to convince his
seemingly rationalist professor of their existence.
Prawal Raman’s story idea is complex and complicated. It’s
basically a case of biting off more than he could chew. The depiction
of the bipolar condition is suspect and the hinging of the predicative
twist towards the end on that weighs down the entire effort and raises
serious questions about loopholes in the screenplay itself. Though slow
and unenergetic, his narrative is absorbing
because it is concentrated on characters and their motivations. But not
everyone stands tall on closer scrutiny. The good doctor’s wife (Tisca
Chopra) who is also a psychiatry practitioner in the same med
not come across strongly. Her character is never developed fully.
Even Abhi the protagonist/victim appears too even tempered and his
behaviour ungoverned by moods to support the end-play that the
director/writer has engineered. Nishikant Kamat appears to have the
talent to hold his own as an actor. Rajvvir Arora, a Ranbir lookalike
has presence, Imaad is noticeable, while Satish Kaushik and Tisca
Chopra do their best to prop-up ill-defined roles. At best this
would be an interesting outing-certainly not as cerebral as it’s been
made out to be.
Rating: * * *