It was just Charles and me…… my husband and son were there too….but that was it. Just the three of us as we settled down to watch a late night show of ‘ Main aur Charles’ in a Multiplex at Panipat. A cinema hall, all to ourselves, this was a first !! Not that I had expected a full house for a movie by an unknown director and a ‘no- star’ cast.
But first things first. Randeep Hooda does not disappoint. In fact he excels at his portrayal of Charles Sobhraj. The confident demeanour, the lazy gait, the sly, intense eyes, the hint of a french accent….. all consistently faultless. It is commendable that there is so little of Randeep in Charles and none of his Haryanvi background at all. Admirable indeed! This film could be a turning point in his career, even win an award for him.And he certainly deserves it.
About the film, Prawaal Raman ( RGV’s ex- assistant ) has captured the hippie era of the 70s and 80s pretty accurately. The wardrobe, the accessories, the props in the background all seem to be well researched. The general feel of the film and the way it is shot makes it look sinister and evil, something which the director must have aimed for and has achieved.
I wish I could say something about the story but I understood so little of it. This, despite having a fair knowledge about the conman’s exploits. It was taut and pacy as a thriller should be and I can generally keep up with such films. But this one was like a maths class, a test of attention and focus. Needless to say I failed miserably . The director plays with multiple timelines and none of them seem to go anywhere. It was so hard to grasp all that was being thrown at me. The storyline kept going back and forth between the Tihar Jail break and some other random incidents. In short it was torture and it didn’t help that I kept dozing off. Charles Sobhraj’s modus operandi was always the same. He drugged his victims. Don’t know about others but the sedative certainly worked on me.
So the verdict, watch it to see the growth of an actor and a revisit of the hippie culture. But if you want to learn something about the bikini killer….googling it would be a safer bet.