|PERFECT MURDER, THE
Hai; screenwriter: H. R. F. Keating/based on Mr. Keating's novel;
Lassally; editor: Charles Rees; music: Richard Robbins;
Skarsgard (Axel Svensson), Dinshaw Daji (Mr. Perfect), Archana Puran Singh (Miss Twinkle), Madhur Jaffrey (Mrs. Lal), Sakeena Jaffrey (Neena Lal), Amjad Khan (Lala Heera Lal), Ratna Pathak Shah (Pratima Ghote), Vinod Nagpal (Minister);
Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Wahid Chowhan;
Janus; 1988-India-in English)
"I'd write this one off as a bomb."
by Dennis Schwartz
Imperfect comedy thriller directed by Zafar Hai, that is never more than slight or forcibly charming without being winsome. It's a Merchant-Ivory production, intended as a commercial international film the executive producers wished to base in Bombay. The film is in English and is adapted from a H. R. F. Keating novel. Its best asset is the fine cinematography of the bustling street-life in Bombay by Walter Lassally.
Mr. Perfect (Dinshaw Daji) is the elderly private
secretary to corrupt building tycoon Lal (Amjad Khan). An attempt to murder the
secretary in Lal's mansion leaves him unconscious and
under the care of a nurse. Bombay police Inspector
Ghote (Naseeruddin Shah) investigates, and
is disturbed that Lal treats him with contempt and
refuses to cooperate. Lal's witch-like wife (Madhur Jaffrey) also treats
the detective as if he were a lackey. The inspector's
rails at him for neglecting her and their young son in
the name of duty. The bumbling inspector's indignant
boss assigns him to three top-priority cases: the
Perfect murder case, a diamond smuggling operation and
to the theft of the Minister's ring. The overworked
inspector is also to be a guide to a visiting Swedish
criminologist, Svensson (Stellan Skarsgard),
in Bombay to examine their police methods. The Swede
and the Bombay detective team up, turning the pic into
a mismatched buddy cop flick, and even though they
bungle everything they touch, they solve the crimes
when they somehow connect all the cases together to
the underworld diamond smugglers and a graft seeking
Minister. Problem is the slapstick overwhelms the
crime drama, and I lost interest in the story very
detective story transfers poorly into a film and is a
poor example of some kind of cultural exchange pic.
The low-brow slapstick antics are not funny, the
storyline is needlessly muddled and tiresome, and the
acting is less than thrilling.
I'd write this one off as a bomb.
REVIEWED ON 9/28/2011 GRADE: C
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ