A still from film 'Blank'.
A still from film 'Blank'.

Film review: ‘Blank’ is sadly well-named

  • Behzad Khambata’s ‘Blank’ is about the race to foil a terrorist plot
  • Sunny Deol and Karan Kapadia star in this hackneyed thriller

In Blank, Sunny Deol plays SS Diwan, chief of the Anti-Terrorist Squad, who is trying to beat the clock when a man is found with a ticking bomb sutured into his chest. The young man (Karan Kapadia) claims to have no memory of his past, or how and why he is walking around with high grade explosives attached to his body.

Gradually the ATS team, headed by Diwan and assisted by two zealous officers (Karanvir Sharma and Ishita Dutta), discovers a plot to detonate 24 bombs across the country. The 24 sleeper cells all answer to a new terrorist organisation led by a cliché of a preacher (Jameel Khan) with a bushy beard, checkered head scarf and brainwashing ideology that promises a one-way ticket to paradise.

But what is the blank young man’s connection to this organisation? And will the ATS be able to solve the case and save the country from this attack?

Pranav Adarsh’s story works in some twists to keep you mildly interested, but this incoherent thriller succumbs to hackneyed speeches about fundamentalism and leans heavily on a revenge motive. Writer-director Behzad Khambata turns up the volume on the background music to a piercing decibel and the actors dial down their range of expressions. Deol is stoic or grimacing or growling while Kapadia is either shown teary-eyed or throwing punches in the action scenes. Jameel Khan is the only actor who brings some swell to a stereotypical character.

Even at 111 minutes, the film does not run at a good clip, with redundant conversations, especially in the police headquarters, numerous replays of one flashback scene and a side-plot about how the righteous officer Diwan does not bend rules even when his own child is in custody.

The production design, camerawork and lensing transport you into caverns of conspiracy and some of the action scenes are indeed well-choreographed. No doubt unintended, but the title of this film could be referring to the expressions of its lead actors or the feeling one has after watching this thriller.