One of the biggest surprise hits of 2019 was the suspense thriller BADLA, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Taapsee Pannu. It was a remake of the 2017 Spanish film THE INVISIBLE GUEST, directed by Oriol Paulo. Now another film of this master director, THE BODY, has been remade and also carries the same title. So does the Hindi remake of THE BODY manage to grip and shock viewers, just like the original version? Or does it fail to engage? Let’s analyse.
THE BODY is the story of a corpse that vanishes from a morgue under mysterious circumstances. Ajay Puri (Emraan Hashmi) is married to a rich businesswoman Maya Verma (Sobhita Dhulipalia) and both reside in Port Louis, Mauritius. Ajay has married Maya for her wealth. Moreover he is fed up of the way she ill treats him. Ajay runs her pharmaceutical business and is also a guest professor. During one of the lectures, he gets introduced to a student, Ritu (Vedhika Kumar). Soon they start a romantic relationship. Ajay is aware that if he asks for a divorce from Maya, he’ll be stripped of all wealth. Hence he decides to murder her and devises a great plan. Maya gets anxious while taking flights. The day she is going to be back from a long flight from Los Angeles, Ajay pours small amount of poison in her wine. It produces same kind of symptoms that one gets while suffering a heart attack. The doctors would hence conclude that she suffered the attack due to her anxiety over taking the flight. As per the plan, Maya consumes the poisoned wine and in the evening, she dies. Her body is taken to the morgue for autopsy. Trouble arises when the body disappears from the morgue. The caretaker, Tara Singh, claims that he saw dead Maya herself walking out! SP Jairaj Rawal (Rishi Kapoor) is brought to investigate the case. Jairaj himself is not able to recover from a personal tragedy. What happens next forms the rest of the film.
Oriol Paulo's original story has loose ends but could have made for a great suspense thriller. The adapted screenplay is faulty and very weak. The film needed some really nail biting scenes. Instead the writer added clichéd and run of the mill scenes which hamper the impact. Dialogues are also nothing exciting.
Jeethu Joseph's direction is quite disappointing. It is shocking that the director who made the original version of DRISHYAM has made this flick. The execution seems amateur and fails to really captivate the audiences. Despite the 103 minutes run-time, the film is riddled with 4 songs further adding to the disappointment. Also the shocking climax instead of impressing viewers will leave them bewildered as the whole idea of the body disappearing from the morgue seems too farfetched and unnecessary for what was the intention.
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THE BODY has a non-linear narrative and that keeps the interest going to an extent. However the first 10 minutes prove that the execution is not upto the mark. The film has some interesting moments but are not helmed well. A few sequences that stand out are Ajay being interrogated by Jairaj. The intermission point arrests attention as a horror angle is introduced. Post interval, the film remains dry with only few moments here and there that impress. The finale is unpredictable but not very logical.
Emraan Hashmi is fine but could have done better. His best scenes are with Rishi Kapoor and especially when he gets irritated with the investigation. Rishi Kapoor is a bit theatrical which wasn’t the requirement of the character. He gets the sarcasm bit right. Sobhita Dhulipalia emerges as the best performer of the film. Her role is quite badass and he does total justice. Vedhika Kumar looks glamorous and is decent. Rukhsar Ahmed (Dr Tanya) and Anupam Bhattacharya (Pavan) are passable.
Songs are a big letdown and are forced. All songs of the film – 'Main Janta Hoon', 'Khuda Hafiz', 'Aaina' and 'Rom Rom' are forgettable. 'Jhalak Dikhla Jaa Reloaded' is missing from the film. Clinton Cerejo's background score fails to make any impact.
Satheesh Kurup's cinematography is neat. Prem Navas's production design is rich. Dipika Lal and Anirudh Singh's costumes are glamorous especially the clothes worn by Sobhita Dhulipalia and Vedhika Kumar. Ayoob Khan's editing is nothing special.
On the whole, THE BODY is a dry and boring thriller. At the box office, it will turn out to be a flop.