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'Mirror Game: Ab Khel Shuru': Surprisingly engaging (IANS Review, Rating: ***)

IANS 

Film: "Mirror Game: Ab Khel Shuru"; Director: Vijit Sharma; Cast: Parvin Dabas, Dhruv Bali, Sneha Ramchander, Pooja Batra, Omi Vaidya and Shanti Akkineni; Rating: ***

With a weird name like "Mirror Game: Ab Khel Shuru", one's expectations from this film are rather very low.

As the film initially plunges into a tackily projected "perfect murder" thriller with a professor of psychology, his disgruntled, "divorce-seeking" wife and an obliging student, some viewers may feel they have seen it all before. But director Vijit Sharma has such a unique approach to the familiar material that the cliches are irrelevant and the film takes you by surprise.

Narrated in a non-linear manner, the story set in a small town in the US is told in a formulaic manner, solely from Professor Jai Verma's point of view. It begins on a dramatic note. He attempts to take away his life and thence gets into the last ten days revealing as to what drives him to do so. This initial start, though unwarranted, helps build the character and then further delves into solving the mystery.

The plot unravels at a slow pace and the first few scenes seem rather tacky, when Jai ropes in his ever-obliging student Ronnie to eliminate his wife Tanya Verma. The plot gets murky with Ronnie kidnapping Tanya and double-crossing Jai. While the police are investigating the case, Jai is thrown into a web of his own psychological and emotional challenges.

The writing is simple and unpretentious and that's what works for this complex narrative. It makes the screenplay extremely effective and the characters along with the situation convincing.

On the performance front; Parvin Dabas as the schizophrenic Jai Verma, Dhruv Bali as Ronnie, Shanti Akkineni as Tanya Verma, Sneha Ramchander as Detective Shenoy and Pooja Batra as Jai Verma's friend and police psychologist Shonali, deliver nothing outstanding as actors and are thus perfunctory.

Mounted with moderate production values, the production designs, which include the on-location shoots are accurate. Cinematographer Joshua Echevarria's camera work is steady and his frames are realistic. The background score by Kasturi Nath Singh and Vishal Singh elevate the viewing experience.

The fine layering of the sound and visuals by Shakti Hasija and Abhishek Seth is also worth a mention.

Overall, "Mirror Game: Ab Khel Shuru" is a well-packaged film that will take you by surprise.

--IANS

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 01 2017. 13:42 IST
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