8 x 10 Tasveer is a shockingly inept film where hardly anything works. The main problem with the film is its absolutely trite script, which coupled with terribly inane dialogue and indifferent lead performances sink the film totally. It is undoubtedly one of Nagesh Kukunooor’s weakest films.
In 8 x 10 Tasveer, Jai (Akshay Kumar), a young man in his 30’s, has a supernatural gift of being able to delve in the past of dead people by touching an object belonging to them. A personal tragedy that suggests his father might have been murdered leads him to use this unique power to find his father’s killer…
The screenplay and treatment is everything belying a good thriller. The script is much too superficially simplistic, woefully short of ideas, lacks any intelligence and is bereft of any clever plotting whatsoever. It is a shoddy piece of writing and you wonder what merit Akshay Kumar and the Percept Picture Company saw in the sorry story in the first place to go ahead with the film.
If the first half fails to hook you even as the so-called mystery as to who murdered Jai’s father is being set up, the second half with its stupid denouement sees the film derail even more badly. Even as the film goes tackily and rapidly downhill, what’s unforgiving is that Kukunoor gives away the vital clue to the mystery much too early leaving much of the ensuing drama pretty redundant while making it standard clichéd ridden stuff. To make things even worse, Kukunoor resorts to that absolutely awful done-to-death device of giving the entire explanation to the hero before he is supposed to be finished off so that the audience knows the story and figures out what really happened. This explanation, a throwback to the biggest clichés of old fashioned 1970s commercial Hindi cinema, is undoubtedly the weakest part in an already weak film and actually has you shaking your head in sheer disbelief at the sheer inanity of it all. For any riveting thriller this is the part, the back story, which has to be the most interesting part of the film as you realize why what has happened and the motives of the killer. The film fails dismally here.
The film has an ensemble of fine actors like Girish Karnad and Sharmila Tagore and though it is good to see them on screen, they are unable to rise above the script and are totally wasted. And coming to the central performances, this is clearly not one of Akshay Kumar’s better performances and you sense a touch of indifference in his performance. Ayesha Takia too adds nothing to the film while her turnabout is also most unconvincing and more because you feel it is only motivated by the filmmaker wanting to give the film another cheap twist. But it has to be said here, she hardly has any scope in the film. Javed Jaffrey gets the odd laugh in a ridiculous characterisation but that’s about it. Special mention must however be made of the actress playing Sally, the woman he jilted.
Just about the only positives you get from the film is on the technical side. Vikas Sivaraman’s neat and clean camerawork gives the film a polished, finished look with the Canadian locales captured really well. And one must mention Vipin Bhati’s fine sound design as well. They fail to lift the film however. Rest of the technicalities are just about so-so failing to enhance the film on any level.
All in all, totally avoidable.
Hindi, Thriller, Color