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Movie Review: Moh Maya Money

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A watchable film that does not let you down, except, perhaps, at the very end

CAST: Ranvir Sheorey, Neha Dhupia |  DIRECTOR: Munish Bhardwaj

The title of this well made thriller recalls the nursery rhyme : Eeny, meeny, miny, moe / Catch a tiger by the toe / If he hollers, let him go / Eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Funnily enough, this is what the story is about, if you just replace the tiger with hoards of illegal cash in the real estate business in Delhi. In one scene, bundles of now defunct 500 rupee notes are spread out across the bed, while Aman (Ranvir Sheorey) stands over them, salivating like a lecher. He has been working in a realty firm for years, but of late he is diverting the cash flow from his office, and cutting deals for himself.

Aman keeps telling his wife, Divya (Neha Dhupia), that he finds being middle class in Delhi ugly. It is a life of unending struggle, with the sole purpose of enriching the fat cat who hires him. He wants get rich for both of them, he says, and quickly. Divya, on the other hand, works for a media organization and disagrees, saying that the bourgeois life has ‘values’ that he doesn’t quite appreciate. We soon get to know a little more about these ‘values’ when she gets pregnant, doesn’t tell her husband, and aborts secretly. She has a promotion and a transfer to Hong Kong, and her boss is coming along with her.

It is a delightfully cynical view of a marriage, and a perfect set up for a taut thriller about money, murder and sex, vaguely in that order. Director Munish Bhardwaj uses a multi-linear narrative, telling us about Aman’s day in office, then Divya’s day, and then finding the exact point of overlap between the same day, and continuing from there on. This is just right for a story where husband and wife are doing their own thing, lying to each other, seeing life from independent perspectives. In this scenario, the only space and time that the couple share is in their apartment. Their tastefully decorated flat then becomes the point of intersection in the narrative, the mise-en-scene within it defining their values, both as individuals and as a couple.

This interwoven structure of the film grips us, almost to the end, as do some well acted scenes by the entire cast. After his performance in Titli, where he was cast well as the uncouth ruffian emerging violently from the by-lanes of Delhi’s lower middle class, Ranvir Sheorey has upgraded his social status in this film. Here he is the urban professional ‘Delhiwallah', so obsessed with making quick money that he can break every law in the book; then refer to his misdeeds as ‘white collar crime’.

Svelte Neha Dhupia has put on a little weight, but it suits her well in her role as a prosperous working woman, complicit in deceit. Husband and wife feed off each other’s weaknesses, and this makes for a watchable film that does not let you down, except, perhaps, at the very end.