To start with, the title of the film is no doubt intriguing but also ends up giving too much of the game away. The bottom line of Moh Maya Money is how people taking short cuts to massive amounts of wealth can not only lead to ruin for the person who indulges in these short cuts, but also people associated with him or her in whatever way.
The film has an opening that is shocking enough to set the audience anxiety quotient on overdrive. We see a plush car up in flames on the corner of an empty road. We are drawn into the world of Aman (Ranvir Shorey), who works for a leading estate agency, but siphons off both property and money without the knowledge of his company higher-ups. His wife, Divya (Neha Dhupia), on the other hand, holds a high position in another concern that deals with audio-visual programming. She suspects that Aman is up to something but does not bother to learn more. How a couple so estranged within marriage can carry on for so long makes for a strong political statement in the film. Perhaps this is also a microcosm of post-modern, urban marriages having to cope with tremendous pressure to have he high life.
So far so good as the film is engrossing enough and moves along smoothly on different layers. But once Aman is caught and thrown out of his job, the director, Munish Bhardwaj, tends to lose control of the narrative, unsure of whether to focus on the thriller part or the relationship track. Despite a dynamic pace where events and drama keep chasing one another, the script starts to meander and the twists and turns that follow don’t work as well as they should. The small sub-text, where Diya meets the young, pregnant woman who visits the police station to find out about her missing filmmaker husband, offers good dramatic relief but also ends up leading to a somewhat convoluted and unsatisfactory climax. The repetition of some scenes (and shots) – according to whether they are from Aman’s or Divya’s POV – add to the confusion instead of giving us any fresh insight into the proceedings.
For a directorial debut, Bhardwaj has everything in place so far as production design goes, lifted further by some smart lighting and framing by the cinematographer (Arun Varma) and suitably low-key music that, for a change in our movies, is unobtrusive and complements the film’s story-telling. The acting both by Shorey and Dhupia in multi-shaded roles is also very good. But sadly, due to script inconsistencies, the film itself ends up neither here nor there and that is its biggest failing.
Hindi. Thriller, Drama, Color