The foremost inkling you get on watching the promos of BLOOD MONEY is that it is reminiscent of Vishesh Films' former endeavors. An aspiring middle class guy who dreams of attaining the luxuries and extravagance that life has to tender, but abruptly locates himself in the midst of notorious people indulging in nefarious deeds -- a formula the Bhatts have lucratively mastered over the years. Conversely, a minuscule fragment of the media is of the opinion that it's a rehash of the Hollywood biggie BLOOD DIAMOND. Is it? Let's explore...
In actuality, BLOOD MONEY is reminiscent of one of Mahesh Bhatt's premium endeavors, NAAM, which brought a turnaround in Sanjay Dutt's career. A non-U entity dreams of a ritzy abode, a bountiful life, but treads the erroneous path in his pursuit to get affluent. But the resemblance between NAAM and BLOOD MONEY concludes there. As a matter of fact, BLOOD MONEY and NAAM are as different as chalk and cheese. In terms of plot, the narrative and the sequence of events.
Debutant director Vishal Mahadkar had a gripping premise on hand, but what comes across on screen is a potpourri. A few absorbing, attention grabbing moments… a few hackneyed, tried and tested formulaic material. Resultantly, BLOOD MONEY is neither riveting, nor absolutely undistinguished. It floats somewhere in between!
BLOOD MONEY narrates the story of Kunal [Kunal Kemmu] and his wife Arzoo [Amrita Puri], who move to Cape Town after Kunal procures a job with a leading diamond export firm run by Zaveri [Manish Chaudhuri] and his brother [Sandiip Sikcand]. The perks of the job includes a plush mansion, a swanky car and of course, all the opulence that money can procure. Gradually, Kunal finds himself trapped in the midst of a structured white collar crime conglomerate. How he struggles to get out of it forms the remainder of this story.
The protagonist and his emotions in BLOOD MONEY are very relevant and relatable. He imagines life like every other man. In fact, anyone who aspires to make his/her life superior would be able to relate to the passion of this guy. However, after an extremely absorbing initiation, after establishing the plot so well in the first hour, the film falters towards its post-interval portions. The typical middle class guy, all of a sudden, starts punching the villain's brawny henchmen, after giving them a good chase. Despite being viciously stabbed. Unexpectedly, from a credible, plausible zone, the film deviates into a hard-to-absorb masala-ridden fare that relies on heroism and intrepidness to prove a point. A persuasive culmination, in keeping with the quintessence of the film, would've only enhanced the impact of the second hour. Wish the writer was consistent in keeping the viewer absorbed in the subsequent hour as well.
Having said that, I'd like to add that Vishal Mahadkar has executed a number of sequences dexterously. The manner in which the relationship between Kunal and Amrita builds and steadily goes through turbulent phases is remarkably depicted, while the anxiety-filled moments between Kunal and Sandiip in particular and also the one filmed in Angola [in the midst of terrorists] are significant. But how one wishes the film in entirety had recall value, instead of a few scattered moments. The writing [Upendra Sidhaye] is evidently not satisfactorily cohesive.
Like all Bhatt movies, the music of BLOOD MONEY is easy on the lips and has staying power. 'Chahat' is harmonious, but its inapt placement raises a query, while 'Jo Tere Sang' is an exceptional track [both composed by Jeet Gannguli]. Nigam Bomzan's cinematography is top notch. The stunning locales of Cape Town are filmed exquisitely.
Kunal Kemmu is super-confident and believable. The actor carries the movie on his shoulders, notwithstanding the discrepancies in the narrative. This should be a fresh beginning for this talented young man. Amrita Puri, who stood out with a fine performance in AISHA, is natural to the core. She delivers a power-packed performance and elevates even an ordinary scene with her splendid act. Manish Chaudhuri proves his abilities yet again with a luminous performance. This actor deserves to be seen more on the big screen. Sandiip Sikcand sinks his teeth into the character and delivers yet another first-rate act. Mia Uyeda doesn't get the scope or the opportunity to prove her acting skills, but sizzles in the portions she appears in. Karan Mehra is wasted in an insignificant role. Teeshay, who plays Kunal's colleague Sean, makes his presence felt.
On the whole, BLOOD MONEY is old wine with a brand new label. A decent and absorbing first hour coupled with soulful music are its aces, although the mediocre, outmoded writing in the post-interval portions leave you a little miffed. At best, a fair attempt!
External Hindi Movie Review with Ratings of Blood Money (2012) from all the popular Film Critics and websites. Starring: Kunal Khemu, Amrita Puri Director: Vishal Mahadkar
Anupama Chopra, Hindustan Times: 2/5 Blood Money finds some traction in the climax but it's too little, too late. By then, you are disengaged and debating dinner choices ... Complete movie review
Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror: 1.5/5 Blood Money is nothing what it promised to be. Instead of a slick thriller we have a cringe-worthy, amateur effort with not one aspect that stands out ... Full Review
Shaheen Parkar, Mid-Day.com: 1.5/5 Only if you have time to kill on hand and want to escape the seething heat outside, step into the AC environ for this sparkless fare ... Full Review
Shubhra Gupta, Indian Express: 2/5 If you agree to go into a chocolate house, you will meet a witch, okay? ... Full Review
Taran Adarsh, BollywoodHungama.com: 2.5/5 BLOOD MONEY is old wine with a brand new label ... Complete movie review
Madhureeta Mukherjee, Times of India: 3/5 While this one is engaging, it's not the 'rock' you'd die for ... Complete review
Sonia Chopra, Sify.com: 1.5/5 A product of duplications! ... Complete review
Sukanya Verma, Rediff.com: 1/5 Blood Money is mindless and boring ... Complete review