When a film becomes a fairly successful franchise, like the Murder series made by the Bhatts, filmmakers are tempted to cut corners. This third edition is an official remake of a movie from Columbia called La Cara Oculta (The Hidden Face). Such is the nature of cut-and-paste filmmaking these days that it is possible that this 2011 film itself took a few ideas from Pedro Almodovar’s sex, surgery and murder thriller, La Piel Que Habito (The Skin in Which I Live), released earlier the same year.
Both those Spanish language films use the idea of imprisoning a person in a cell within a home that has a one-way mirror through which private lives—including explicit sexual acts—can be watched. Frankly, it might have been a better idea for Murder 3 to copy scenes filmed by an auteur like Almodovar, given his intimate and complex study of sexual identities.
At any rate, the desi version goes like this. A fashion photographer called Vikram (Randeep Hooda) gets into a monogamous relationship, apparently unusual for him, with a girl he meets on a shoot in South Africa. Roshni (Aditi Rao Hydari) comes back with him to Mumbai and moves into his palatial country home.
This is a house built by a paranoid Englishman during the freedom struggle. It has a secret apartment within, hidden behind a mirror, so that the Englishman could hide and watch revolutionaries shouting “Iquilaab Zindabad!” in perfect safety. Since Independence, of course, it has been transformed into a voyeur’s paradise.
You must believe this premise to be primed for the kill. Through the glass, darkly, Roshni sees Vikram get a new girlfriend (Sara Loren), and watches—in agony or ecstasy we can never tell because of the bad acting—him make love to her.
In plot and performances, Murder 3 is a cut-price film and leaves you feeling cheated.