(An edited version of this was published in The New Indian Express)
Last week we had Shashank Khaitan offering corrections to the bad habits of 90s Hindi films. While Khaitan’s film (Badrinath Ki Dulhania) took some bold and bad decisions in doing so, to be fair to the makers, it was at least self-aware. This week we have Abbas-Mustan’s Machine, continuing with bad habits of the duo’s most successful decade but behaving like nothing and no one has evolved since.
It’s called Machine but curiously begins with animated tour of human anatomy. Talking of anatomy, Mustafa – Abbas’s son making his debut here – looks like Himesh Reshammiya had Reshammiya not refused to grow up. It’s 2017 and he’s the sixteenth edition of tailor-a-debut-like-Hrithik-Roshan-what-can-go-wrong. In fact, every line of this review can begin with “It’s 2017 and”.
Machine is difficult to bracket in this era of evolved criticism. There is bad. There is awful. And then there is a film where your eyeballs are behind your eyebrows threatening to launch from top of your head like it’s Cape Canaveral. There were scenes when I had to look away from the screen as if Machine is the most difficult to watch horror experiment from an avant-garde filmmaker. It’s always problematic when you’re watching a film and you start thinking about what to write. No answers. Watching paint dry would have more life. A bundle of clichés would have made a better film.