Blackout Review: Vikrant Massey Spares No Effort To Go With The Swing Of The Scrappy Film

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Vikrant Massey in Blackout. (courtesy: vikrantmassey)

When filmmaking is reduced to a shot in the dark attempted more in hope than with any degree of conviction, Blackout is what you get. It is an out and out non-starter. Written and directed by Devang Bhavsar, the slipshod crime caper is beyond abysmal.

Neither the makers nor the actors cast as sketchily etched motley characters know where they are headed. Mercifully, the audience isn’t in the dark. The film is so ham-fisted that it takes no more than ten minutes to give itself away.

Blackout, streaming on JioCinema, is a veritable free for all. With the exception of lead actor Vikrant Massey – he dons the garb of a Pune crime reporter who specialises in disguises and sting operations – the random slew of characters that people the film come and go without the slightest semblance of cohesion.

The bunch of weirdos that Blackout assembles might have powered a passably entertaining affair had the screenplay had an inkling how to orchestrate them half decently. The lunacy on show here is anything but of the inspired variety. It scrapes the bottom of the barrel and, needless to say, finds nothing of any worth.

Indeed, nothing that Blackout runs into on the go makes any sense. The city is supposedly in the grip of darkness on a dry day’s night, but the characters on the road, in a hospital, in a graveyard, inside a liquor store and finally in a gangster’s den face no visibility issues on account of the electricity grid being on the blink.

As the journo drives around the city, he is joined on the ride by a homeless drunk (Sunil Grover) with a past, a couple of influencers-cum-thieves (real-life video creators Karan Sonawane and Saurabh Ghadge) and damsel (Mouni Roy) who feigns distress for a reason.

And as the film haphazardly moves back and forth in time, we are introduced to a corrupt policeman (Prasad Oak) who strikes a nefarious deal, a disgraced politician (Chhaya Kadam) waiting for her chance to strike back, and a persistent detective (Jisshu Sengupta) described as Pune’s Byomkesh Bakshi.

The city is plunged into darkness by a gang of criminals who plan and pull off a heist. In the hours that precede and follow the robbery, journalist Lenny D’Souza (Massey), sent out to buy eggs and bread by his wife, lurches from one crisis to another.

His car rams into a van sending it hurtling out of control. He stumbles upon a chest stuffed with cash and jewels in the boot of the vehicle. He then suffers another mishap. As the night wears on, Lenny has to reckon with the peccadilloes of the brooding alcoholic, the two thieving Instagrammers and the lady who pleads for help.

The car runs low on fuel. The alcoholic demands his litre or two of single malt whisky. The two petty pilferers hope to make a killing by arm-twisting Lenny.

As the mayhem worsens, the film also throws in a wife and a friend – played by Anantvijay Joshi, who recently shared far more meaningful footage with Massey in 12th Fail – to complete a portrait of a down-on-luck bloke hounded by a series of disasters. The spouse and the pal only compound Lenny’s problems.

Vikrant Massey, saddled with a sloppily written role, spares no effort to go with the swing of the scrappy film. He gives it all he has. Unfortunately, with logic and any sort of comic rhythm conspicuous by their absence, there is little in Blackout worth lunging at in the hope of making something out of it.

Massey is like a blindfolded driver seated at the wheel of a car without functioning brakes. He struggles not to end up in an ungainly heap in what is a mangled pile-up of a film. To give credit where it is due, he does not stop trying.

As for the others in the cast – several of them are actors of proven mettle, not the least among them are Chhaya Kadam and Jisshu Sengupta – are criminally wasted. In the melee that they are hurled into, Kadam and Sengupta have two-and-a-half scenes each. They merely go through the motions.

Sunil Grover is miscast as a corny poetry-spouting alcoholic whose current state of confusion has roots in an eventful past. Sooraj Pops pops up in the role of a gangster who is accorded a brief and utterly pointless run.

The characters collectively do a lot of running around in Blackout but the film always feels completely comatose. The potential of the concept – throw an array of oddballs into a rigmarole without end on a night when the lights go out and stay out – is summarily snuffed out by a screenplay that does not know better.

Blackout has the look of a hurried concoction that would have been better off being nixed at the scripting stage. It is hard to fathom how something that gropes in the dark as miserably as this has gotten this far.


Vikrant Massey, Mouni Roy, Sunil Grover, Jisshu Sengupta, Karan Sudhakar Sonawane, Chhaya Kadam, Saurabh Dilip Ghadge, Ruhani Sharma, Anantvijay Joshi, Prasad Oak, Sooraj Pops, Kelly Dorji


Devang Shashin Bhavsar

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